Dolly Chin, chief marketing officer, AirAsiaExpedia
Expedia has close to 30 localised sites across the globe. In Asia, we operate hotel-only sites in Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea along with full-service sites in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and India.
Over 150,000 hotels and more than 400 airlines to destinations worldwide. Expedia is also the exclusive third-party OTA for AirAsia inventory, allowing travellers to book AirAsia flights on any of Expedia’s travel sites worldwide.
Expedia.co.jp draws the largest amount of online transactions simply because it was our first Asian site established seven years ago. The rest of our localised sites are currently also on the same growth trajectory.
We make travel products and services available both on a stand-alone and package basis. Under the merchant model, we facilitate bookings of hotel rooms, airline seats, car rentals and destination services from our travel suppliers, i.e. we are the merchant of record. Under the agency model, we act as an agent in the transaction, passing reservations to the supplier.
Expedia entered Asia in March 2011 on the back of a joint venture between Expedia, Inc and AirAsia, a first-of-its-kind partnership between an LCC and OTA. In slightly over a year, we added three new full-service sites to our fold, bringing the total number of full-service localised Expedia sites to five in the region. In 2013, we will be expanding with sites in more markets, as well as adding new and innovative products, including visa assistance, car rentals, weekend getaway tabs and travel insurance.
Sandor Bakalis, managing director, Zuji Singapore
An Asia-Pacific OTA with a network of offices across Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia, and part of the Travelocity family of companies.
Over 400 airlines, 100,000 hotels worldwide, and thousands of car hires, activities and attractions as well as travel insurance. New deals are updated every day.
Zuji has presence in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. Having a reputable standing in these markets, we also enjoy traffic and bookings from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China and New Zealand.
A variety of compensation and connectivity models are used across product groups. Prepaid, postpaid, commissionable fares and markups are all part of the range that Zuji uses in its arrangements with suppliers. Suppliers feed Zuji through the GDS as well as direct API feeds and allocation models.
Zuji has, over the decade, developed tools to empower travellers with the freedom to self-plan their ideal journeys. This includes dynamic packaging, flight flexible date search, hotel star ratings, reviews and neighbourhood search. One of our newest products is Top Secret Hotels, where rates are guaranteed to be the lowest online. The catch is that customers book without knowing the name of the hotel at first.
Our leadership positions in Singapore, Hong Kong and in Australia will form the basis for continued growth in 2013.
Christian Lukey, commercial director, HRS
HRS operates a worldwide hotel portal for private and business travellers. Headquartered in Germany, the company has a large selection of hotels worldwide with tens of thousands of independent hotels and hundreds of hotel chains.
250,000 hotels in 180 countries. Our inventory covers all popular destinations in Asia, and is growing to include secondary cities in South-east Asia, as well as South Asia.
Both business (60 per cent) and leisure (40 per cent) travellers. Over 35,000 companies currently use HRS to book rooms for business purposes, a 17 per cent increase compared to a year ago. HRS already generates about 40 per cent of its bookings outside Germany. China and South-east Asia are key markets for us as they are major drivers of the global economy.
Use of the HRS hotel platform is generally free and we receive commissions from hotels based on the actual booking turnover. Inventory is mainly supplied through our extranet solution but we are also connected to channel managers, as well as the CRSs of major hotel chains. We collaborate with airlines, city portals, and also car rental and rail companies for bookings.
HRS opened its first international branch in Shanghai in 2002. Now, we are the third-largest online travel provider for corporate clients in China. Our international expansion continues with the opening of our Singapore office as the gateway to South-east Asia. We will focus particularly on the emerging markets in Asia and Eastern Europe, and on increasing our hotel portfolio in growth regions such as South America and India.
We will continue to work on our mobile products and aim to become a full-service provider for corporate customers.
Abhiram Chowdhry, senior marketing director, Hotels.com Asia-Pacific
Hotels.com is an online accommodation booking website with more than 85 sites globally. Hotels.com is part of Expedia, Inc.
Over 155,000 properties around the world ranging from international chains and all-inclusive resorts to B&Bs.
We attract leisure and business customers. Welcome Rewards, which allows our customers to earn one free night by accumulating 10 nights at partner properties, is seeing great pick up among travellers and small and medium-sized enterprises. It has allowed us to access new segments of customers. We are also seeing positive uptake for our mobile apps.
Hotels.com introduced its first Asia-Pacific (APAC) website in Australia in 2003, followed by local Asian language sites in 2008. Now, we have 15 sites in 10 languages.
A big milestone was the launch of the Welcome Rewards programme in 2011 for APAC. That same year, we unveiled our first mobile apps for iPad and iPhone customers, and have since expanded this to other mobile platforms.
Our continued focus will be to make our mobile apps more user-friendly. We also plan to enhance the Welcome Rewards programme.
Fred Seow, vice president marketing
Asiatravel.com is a pan-Asian OTA with two core brands: Asiatravel.com (consumer) and TAcentre.com (trade). We also have local travel agency and IATA licences, thus providing ticketing, tours and group operations in some locations.
Over 800 airlines and 110,000 hotels worldwide. Our land content includes sightseeing tours and transfers. Unique to our database are tickets to attractions such as Universal Studios Singapore, Hong Kong Disneyland, Sunway Lagoon Malaysia and the Singapore Flyer.
Two-thirds of our customers are from Asia and the rest are from the Middle East and Europe. There has been strong growth in inter-regional travel. Our flight booking engine supports reservations of up to nine people in a single transaction, and we believe FITs will be an important market in the future given the strong traction in flight package bookings.
We are integrated with most channel distributors to receive dynamic rates and inventory from major hotel chains, while we provide smaller, independent hotels with an extranet site. Our booking engines are supported by Amadeus, which gives us access to over 90 per cent of airlines. Our offices and appointed operators access our system to encode land content.
We conceptualised online hotel reservations in 1995 and our business was publicly listed in 2001. This enabled us to expand to our current network of 16 offices in 11 countries.
In mid-2012, we soft launched all-inclusive travel packages offering instant confirmation for the entire itinerary. We have started featuring LCCs and building up multiple-sector packages for extended travel options. We will now focus on creating more content for longhaul destinations, while building up a global network of marketing agents.
Additional reporting from Gracia Chiang and Raini Hamdi