Asia’s first travel wholesale alliance, Trip Affiliates Network, has been formed.
The alliance’s first members, and who have been integrated on a single distribution platform already available in the market, includes Westminster Travel, CN Booking, Bayu Buana, Aviation Services, Dragon Travel, InterAsia, Hotel Bank, Holiday Tours and Ark Travel Express.
Many more members are in the pipeline, according to the network’s co-founder Tan Huck Khim, who is also executive director of Travel Prologue, which developed the integrated technology solution for the alliance.
“There is a spiderweb of loose consortiums in Asia but there is no one to bring them all together,” said Tan, when asked for the impetus behind the network’s formation, adding that travel agents all face the same global competition and that banding together allows for economies of scale to come into play.
“Our aim is to provide top players in the travel industry with a single platform to share content across borders and agencies, and enable the delivery of good content and competitive wholesale pricing across Asia to travellers.”
The process for the alliance’s formation first begun when Tan and his co-founders went on a roadshow earlier in May to meet with potential partners in countries such as Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Philippines. It then snowballed into a full blown alliance after initial partners introduced more potential partners and sub-agents wanting to join.
“Not much convincing was needed to get members onboard. We have a long pipeline and will expand further once this phase is completed,” said Tan. “There is no limit to the number of alliance members.”
He believes small and medium sized agencies are driving most of the demand for the alliance’s formation and that the benefit of getting locally contracted rates for agencies without a presence in a certain market is definitely one of the key advantages for members.
With the combined content of its founding members, the alliance now boasts over 50,000 exclusive, directly negotiated hotel contracts and more than 150 airline relationships in the region, on top of a global stock of aggregated hotels and airlines inventory.
Tan hopes Trip Affiliates Network can one day match the scale of Travel Leaders Group in the US and The Travel Network Group in Europe.