Who’s afraid of Expedia?

EXPEDIA’s entry into Singapore is expected to expand the city’s online travel market, with existing online and traditional travel agents saying they are undaunted by the new rival.

Boh Tuang Poh, executive chairman, Singapore-based Asiatravel.com, said: “Looking at the big picture, the entry of Expedia into Singapore is a positive development because it shows that the demand here is growing enough to catch their interest.

“We don’t see it as a big impact on our business. Expedia is also not a ‘new competitor’ so to speak as Singaporeans would have already been able to access its website previously. One player can never cover the whole spectrum of packages. We’ve also been in the market longer and we know what Singaporeans want, especially since we have our own storefront that opened last year.”

Boh added: “Expedia will help create awareness among Singaporeans of buying holidays online, which is currently a market still in its infancy. This will then expand the market for all of us. At the moment, Singaporeans are still going to traditional travel agents to buy outbound packages, and these agents hold a sizable share of the market.”

CTC senior vice president (marketing and PR), Alicia Seah, said: “We are already competing with other OTAs like ZUJI anyway, and the entry of more OTAs is something we have to accept. We are not overly concerned because while there are consumers who favour online bookings, there is also a growing segment of travellers who want customised tours. CTC has been doing customised tours and we have the ground expertise. There might even be a chance for a partnership between CTC and Expedia, which is strong with hotels and ticketing but not customised land programmes.”

Additional reporting by Karen Yue

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