Miki Travel recently invested in two online booking systems to facilitate ease of doing business and enhance confirmation speed, as the company plots its expansion in Asia.
In January, the company’s online group hotel booking system went live, enabling its 14 markets in Asia to communicate and deal directly with hotel suppliers in Europe.
Olivier Moeschler, CEO Asia Division at Miki Travel, said: “The online hotel booking system is doing very well with more than 3,000 hotels in Europe using the system. Our sourcing team is continuously educating suppliers in Europe on the needs and requirements of Asian travellers and how to generally work with Asians, and vice versa.
“The big difference between Europe and Asia is that in Europe there are more independent owned small hotels, thus the education process takes longer. In Asia, there are more chain hotels.”
In addition, an online booking system for group bookings to restaurants and food outlets in Europe is in the works. Set to go live in 2019, this will work the same way as the group hotel booking system, enabling Miki’s representatives in Asia to deal directly with restaurant and food outlet suppliers without having to go through Miki’s staff in Europe.
The company is also developing a Michelin-star restaurant programme for restaurants that can serve tour groups. Clients can be seated at smaller tables and enjoy a more intimate dining experience while also benefiting from reduced group rates, shared Moeschler.
The programme is the result of a growing trend among Asians seeking local dining experiences on their holidays in Europe. Other trends the company has seen over the last few years is the growing interest for newer destinations for repeat Asian visitors to Europe.
“We see growing demand for requests to visit smaller cities outside of the capital. The length of tours to Europe has also gotten shorter over the past five years. The average is currently between 7 to 10 days, whereas in the past it was between 10 days and two weeks,” said Moeschler, adding that travellers also tend to make more trips to Europe annually as compared with five years ago.
He said requests for private tours, of up to six people are also on the rise. “With incentive travel, Europe has also regained its popularity and there are more groups travelling there as compared with two years ago, when Asian companies tend to avoid travelling to Europe due to fear of terrorist attacks,” shared Moeschler.
Over the last two years, Miki Travel had expanded to four new Asian markets, namely the Philippines, Vietnam, India and South Korea and the company has hired more than 200 full-time staff for its various Asian markets.