TACENTRE.COM, a B2B online wholesale platform launched by Asiatravel.com Holdings Singapore earlier this month (TTG Asia e-Daily, October 8, 2012), is aiming to rope in 80 per cent of the travel agencies in the Philippines and 50 per cent of those in Hong Kong, as well as expand its portfolio of global packages tenfold to one million by early next year. Most low-cost carriers will also be integrated.
Boh Tuang Poh, executive chairman, Asiatravel.com, said: “For the Hong Kong market, we are aiming to have 50 per cent of existing 1,600 travel consultants signed up for the service in the first year (of operations).”
Dennis Chan of Manda Travel Hong Kong, said he would book on TACentre.com given its instant confirmation and speedy booking process. “Its biggest advantage is that it’s fast and meets last-minute booking (requirements),” he explained.
Edward Chan, general manager, Vigor Tours Hong Kong, said the all-inclusive nature of the packages on offer were especially attractive. “We had to approach suppliers separately for bookings in the past; now we save a lot time. However, whether TACentre.com’s prices are lower than those quoted by suppliers matters because clients are price sensitive and they do price comparison,” he warned.
Meanwhile, the Philippines is the company’s biggest market next to Singapore. Boh said contrary to popular notion, Filipinos do travel and have a bigger family size than Singaporeans.
Allan Sapad, senior travel consultant, Griffin Sierra Travel Manila, said TACentre.com was worth trying out because unlike other B2B platforms, it offered airline ticketing, and accepted credit card and interbank payments without additional charge.
Donna Marie Nisperos, marketing executive, Central Bancorporation (Travel & Leisure) Manila, added that TACentre.com was helpful for Asian destinations, noting its instant booking confirmation, unlike other alternatives where confirmation takes several days.
Over the next 12 months, Asiatravel.com Holdings is planning to roll out TACentre.com across markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia and China. “China has a lot of group business, and FIT is the next big market given the huge population in key cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing,” said Boh.
Plans are also afoot within the year to offer local languages on the portal: Thai language in Thailand; Chinese in China and in Hong Kong; Bahasa in Malaysia and Indonesia; and Arabic in the Middle East.
Additional reporting by Rosa Ocampo