CHEAPTICKETS, a B2C online booking engine, will dive into the Chinese market with the launch of its first website in China in January. India, Indonesia and the Philippines are also on the drawing board.
“Asia matters greatly to us. The penetration rate for online travel bookings in the region currently hovers around the five per cent mark. This is much lower than the 35 to 45 per cent exemplified in the US and Europe. There’s just so much pent-up potential here for us to leverage,” Andre Hesselink, CEO of CheapTickets.sg told TTG Asia e-Daily.
“Our research highlights that despite the gloomy economic mood, both the Indians and the Chinese will continue to have a relentless appetite for travel – be it abroad or domestically, driven by the forecast sustained growth in GDP as well as the rising number of middle-class consumers.”
As part of its strategy to infiltrate the Chinese market, CheapTickets has formed a joint venture with a local partner in China.
He envisions that within a year of the site’s launch, bookings for China would be around up to 10 times bigger than that generated in Singapore, currently CheapTickets’ core market in Asia (TTG Asia e-Daily, November 4, 2011).
A similar business in India is expected to follow in the first quarter next year. This new enterprise will operate out of Bangalore, where CheapTickets’ parent company, Travix International, currently has an office.
Both domestic and international flights will feature on the China and India websites.
Plans are also on the cards to export the brand to Indonesia and the Philippines. “However, CheapTickets will only be making its way to these countries sometime in 2014,” said Hesselink.
Travix International is a global online company that operates five brands in 15 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Germany, the UK, Ireland, France, Israel, Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland.