COMPETITION in the online travel retail space in Asia ratcheted up a notch with the launch of CheapTickets.sg on Monday.
CheapTickets, a B2C online travel-booking brand and the leading online travel player in Germany, is planning to expand aggressively in Asia, with Singapore having been designated as its regional headquarters.
The company opened offices in Bangkok and Hong Kong in October, with websites for both markets slated to go online by year-end. Plans are also on the cards to open offices in Indonesia, the Philippines, India and China next year.
Isabel Gonzalez, brand manager, CheapTickets.sg, told TTG Asia e-Daily that negotiations were ongoing with a potential local partner in China.
“If an agreement is signed, we will probably enter China by leveraging on (the partner’s) insider knowledge about the Chinese market, and by adopting the recommendations they make,” she said.
“We foresee that we will need to open two to three bases in the mainland.”
When asked if the online travel space in Asia was becoming saturated, Gonzalez said there was “definitely enough room in Asia for all players to secure massive growth potential”, especially in view of the increasing number of budget airlines already operating in or thinking of entering the region.
“In the meantime, consumer Internet penetration (in Asia) is on the rise,” she added.
Although it caters to the B2C market, Gonzalez pointed out that CheapTickets.sg would also appeal to travel consultants booking flights on behalf of corporate clients, due to its ability to display fares offered by scheduled as well as low-cost carriers operating within Asia-Pacific.
“CheapTickets’ ability for users to book low-cost flights to destinations not served by network carriers is one of the distinct features that marks us out,” she said.
Meanwhile, details for a CheapTickets affiliate programme are currently being worked out, said Gonzalez, adding that an initiative targeted at travel experts would not be ruled out once the website takes off.