Flights versus hotels: where is the market for meta in APAC? – EyeforTravel

mainAlthough many established metasearch markets exist in the region, there is real opportunity for differentiation and innovation in Southeast Asia In Asian markets like China, India and Japan online travel – and that includes flight and hotel metasearch – is established, flourishing and mirrors global trends.

China’s Qunar, for example, launched in 2004 as a flight and hotel metasearch but quickly emerged into a more hybrid travel play with a strong focus on the higher margin hotel-booking segment. According to analysts at the Yale School of Management, in the fourth quarter of 2014 there were “66% more direct sales than platform sales in terms of volume”. And in the longer term, analysts expect this to reach 80%, which explains the expansion of Qunar’s workforce from 2,500 to 7,500 employees in 2014.

In India, the country’s biggest online travel firm MakemyTrip has been around since 2000, first serving the travel needs of US-based Indians returning home to visit family. By 2005 the firm had established a local base and after bedding down set to expanding its armoury of travel related products and services in the region. Holding up a mirror to global diversification trends, in 2011 it acquired Gurgaon-based metasearch play iXigo.

Meanwhile in Japan, one of the world’s most innovative and established travel markets,15-year-old Venture Republic operates the largest domestic metasearch engine with domains Travel.ip and Hotel.ip. In 2012, it experienced 50% user growth versus just 15% from players in the OTA space.

Unsurprisingly all these markets have proved attractive for global metasearch firms. UK-based Skyscanner is just one and by 2012 it had established a presence in China through a partnership with search engine Baidu. Later, in 2014, it acquired another – Youbibi, proving that local partnerships are an essential ingredient. Last year, just to tick off another country, Skycanner linked up with Yahoo Japan in a 51%-49% JV.

Southeast Asia: the addressable market?

In Southeast Asia, where many travel bookings here are still made through traditional travel agents there is plenty of opportunity and room for growth. Here there were over 100-million tourist arrivals in 2015, according to ASEAN, the association of Southeast Asian nations, and nearly 50 million of these came from within the region – most notably from China.

Max Kraynov, CEO and founder of metasearch firm JetRadar, which has headquarters in Thailand, has an interesting view. While he sees huge and growing potential for hotel metasearch in Southeast Asia, he is not convinced of the potential for flights, because “there are no real OTAs to metasearch on”.

“For a meta with flights, the addressable market is small as there’s enormous brand recognition of low-cost carriers and a meta needs to do lots of educational work to capture this brand-loyal audience,” he says.

So, although flight metasearch is JetRadar’s game elsewhere in the world, from its regional headquarters in Thailand, today it operates as an OTA.

For a meta with flights, the addressable market is small as there’s enormous brand recognition of low-cost carriers and a meta needs to do lots of educational work to capture this brand-loyal audience

Max Kraynov, CEO, JetRadar

However, not everybody holds this view. Anna Trushkina, commercial manager of hotel metasearch play Wego, for one, disagrees that there are a dearth of OTAs in Southeast Asia to compare rates from.

“If you take Indonesia, by far the biggest point of sale for Wego in the region, as an example, the OTA market is led by local players such as Traveloka,, NusaTrip, and PegiPegi, which have both hotels and flights – and flight volumes are even bigger. What is more, global OTAs and hotel brands are actively acquiring customers online in the region and local media conglomerates have either launched or are launching an OTA of their own.”

To Trushkina’s latter point, last year media investment conglomerate MNC Media spawned Mister Aladin, a hotel metasearch. At the time, CEO Teddy Pun was quoted by Tech in Asia saying that far more differentiation and innovation is needed in the region’s online travel sector – a gap he hopes to fill.

Pun believes that being part of a media conglomerate also gives Mister Aladin the marketing edge – where many local firms’ resources are often stretched. As Kraynov points out, the high cost of paid search makes it particularly tough for aggregators in the region which rely mostly on SEO and rentention mechanisma like email subscription, mobile app installs, Facebook likes and so on.

Local and mobile edge

For Trushkina, Wego’s edge in Southeast Asia, and elsewhere, has come from localised investment in mobile apps that have proved “very sticky for metasearch” where users are being sent down the funnel.

On the localisation front, Wego has also placed particular emphasis on providing users with rates from local and global players, and direct hotel rates on all key points-of-sale.

Trushkina cannot stress enough that Wego’s growth in the region is coming from mobile where usage continues to grow by 15% year-on-year according to digital agency We Are Social. Indeed, mobile connections in the region today now number over 700 million, the agency reports. At the same time, the number of people using Facebook and Twitter in the region is expected to surpass the US in 2016.

With a fast growing digital landscape, coupled with rising incomes and discretionary travel spend growing as a result, online travel in Southeast Asia looks set for takeoff.

Where the real money is to be made may remain a moot point but it’s clear that while metasearch may start with flight search, brands will continue to add higher margin hotels, transfers and other ancillaries going forward.

That has been the story elsewhere in the world, and it’s unlikely to be any different here, says Kraynov.

Source: Flights versus hotels: where is the market for meta in APAC? | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel : get there for less


The Travel Marketing Store has started a new project to assist destinations to more effectively market stopovers.  For leisure or even business travellers significant savings can be made by flying indirectly to a destination and if planned well can create an additional vacation or business opportunity. brings together three leading affiliate marketing programmes with Dohop, the flight meta search engine, and GetYourGuide for destination activities.

On one site and with partner links you can plan and book cost effective stop over trips.

How booking APIs are changing the online travel game – Tnooz

This is a viewpoint from Sean Sewell, co-founder and EMEA business development director, Performance Horizon.

Digital travel sales are expected to surpass $481 billion worldwide this year according to eMarketer.

The set-up

We’ve already seen many interesting developments this year. Google moved beyond being a third-party traffic referer and entered the distribution space. This bold move, which allows consumers to book travel directly via its Hotel Finder, puts the search giant in direct competition with some of its biggest customers such as and Skyscanner.  Likewise, TripAdvisor has evolved beyond being just a travel content site and now allows consumers to read reviews and book all in one place.

Most consumers are unaware that they get this seamless experience thanks to something behind the scenes – application programming interfaces (APIs).

The solution

Specifically, it is booking APIs are changing where and how consumers book travel. Here’s how booking APIs are driving change and how all parties – such as travel brands, digital marketing partners,  publishers and consumers – benefit from an increased investment and integration of online and mobile booking APIs.  Also addressed are how travel brands and digital marketing partners are working to overcome booking API challenges.

Travel BrandsBooking APIs are not new – far from it – so why are travel brands waking up to the potential of using booking APIs to optimize conversions and maximize inventory distribution?  First and foremost. it is the rapidly shifting sands of how consumers browse and buy. Most travel brands will tell you the same thing: people research flights and hotels on their phones in the morning and book on desktops later in the day.

While mobile experiences are getting better, many brands have not fully developed a streamlined mobile booking process.  Mobile is where digital marketing partners – such as Google, TripAdvisor, metasearch and OTAs –  and booking APIs are a perfect match. These partners understand mobile, not necessarily a core competency of a travel brand whose primary focus is putting planes in the air and providing great accommodations for guests.  By making their booking APIs available to a  range of online and mobile partners, travel brands can increase market distribution and booking conversions beyond traditional partners, while stemming drop off rates by providing the most seamless customer experiences.

Digital Marketing Partners

The benefits of booking APIs work both ways. Publishers other than metas, are leveraging booking APIs to both provide their readers with better experiences and boost their own profitability as a digital marketing partner.

Today’s consumers move on quickly if they can’t easily find information or a complete a transaction. For publishers large and small, eyeballs and time on site are like physical currency. In order to reduce bounce rate, publishers must provide experiences that enable readers to complete actions from start to finish all without leaving their site.

Reader’s Digest opened up travel booking directly from its online properties. This makes sense, as publishers know their readers best. By working with travel brands who have vast amounts of data (past bookings, frequent fliers, first class vs. economy), publishers can drive conversions and increase their revenues by providing readers with the most relevant offers.

It’s not all straightforward however.  Publishers have many challenges when using booking APIs, especially around credit card transactions, security, and data ownership. Many times, brands will control everything in order to secure customer data.

Overcoming challenges

In addition to the security issue, booking APIs can come with challenges around formatting and the investment to do so.  This is one pain-point IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) hopes to address.  As booking APIs evolve and become easier to implement and use, more and more partners will work directly with brands, increasing distribution and potentially reducing the need for more traditional tracking methods via affiliate networks and pure tracking providers.  And the technology is there for brands and their digital marketing partner to connect directly and share/track data in real-time.

To summarize, I think the trend toward booking APIs that’s taken hold this year will set the stage for an exciting era in the travel vertical. Competition will increase as the lines continue to blur between meta-search engines and OTAs, and as Google aggressively expands its direct booking clients.In general, the smartest brands and digital marketing partners will leverage booking APIs to unlock continued growth and profitability.

Source: How booking APIs are changing the online travel game – Tnooz

The Week in Travel Stats: Learn Where Your Clients Could Be Headed Next | Travel Agent Central

The Week in Travel Stats: Learn Where Your Clients Could Be Headed Next | Travel Agent Central.

From last-minute summer road trips to a look at which destinations are trending right now, the week in travel stats provided a good glimpse into what’s hot in travel for the rest of the year.

U.S., Spain Top Most-Searched Destinations in Q2

This week travel marketing platform Sojern released a look at the most-searched destinations of the second quarter of 2015, an indicator of where travelers are looking to book at the moment.

The United States and Spain were the most-searched destinations, followed by Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Portugal, Turkey, Greece and Russia. The latter re-entered the list after a quarter’s hiatus, replacing Thailand.




Beyond the top 10, here are the destinations that captured the most traveler interest by region since summer 2014:

In North America, Haiti moved up 34 ranks since summer 2014, after experiencing a dramatic decline in tourism in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, followed by Iceland, up 11 spots.

For travelers from Western Europe, Cuba pushed up 12 places to position 41, thanks to a lot of media attention and the detente with the U.S. Czech Republic, Iceland and Romania each moved seven places up in the ranking.

In Latin America, Aruba’s appeal increased over last year, pushing it up 11 spots, followed, by Hungary, up 10 spots. The latter is one of the more affordable European destinations, as a non-Eurozone country.

In Southeast Asia, Bangladesh moved up eight spots and Qatar seven since summer 2014.

For travelers from the Middle East, Sudan gained the most popularity (up 24 spots), followed closely by Bosnia and Herzegovina (21 spots), a country which the World Tourism Organization estimates will have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world by 2020.

Read more

Top Restaurants for Last-Minute Summer Road Trips

Even as we head into August, clients could still be looking to take one last summer road trip. OpenTable has released its 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide highlighting top eateries for your clients to visit.







Compiled by OpenTable insiders across the nation, the guide highlights culinary destinations along some of the country’s most popular road trip routes.

The OpenTable 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide includes more than 100 restaurants, from Grace in Portland, Maine, to Meriwether’s Restaurant & Skyline Farm in Portland, Oregon. OpenTable’s regional teams around the United States curated the guide.

Source: OpenTable

1 in 4 Business Travelers Can’t Use Ride Share Services

This week also saw a flurry of research into the world of business travel from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention 2015.

As part of a panel discussion at the event, the GBTA Foundation released a new report on the future of ground transportation in the sharing economy. Key takeaway: With one in four business travelers barred from using new ride share services, rental cars and taxis remain the most commonly used methods of ground transportation among business travelers.


“Our research shows one in four (24 percent) travel buyers say their company does not allow their business travelers to use ride-sharing companies, by far the highest percentage for any form of ground transportation,” said GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. “In addition, a large number of companies still have not adopted policies around ride-sharing companies, revealing a need for education about the benefits and the risks. GBTA hopes this study is the start to closing that knowledge gap and we welcome an open and constructive dialogue on this topic.”

Read more

Business Travel Spending to Hit Record High of $1.25 Trillion in 2015

Another report from the GBTA Convention brought some good news for business travel. Driven by a surge in China, business travel spending is expected to hit a record high of $1.25 trillion in 2015.


Despite recent economic turbulence, China business travel will increase by 61 percent over the next five years, from $261 billion in 2014 to $420 billion in 2019. That increase is greater than the increases in business travel growth in the next 8 largest countries combined, including the U.S., Germany, India, U.K., Indonesia, France, Turkey and Japan.

“Despite recent economic speedbumps, China will pull away as the global leader in business travel over the next five years,” said McCormick. “On the horizon, we’ve identified five nations that are also seeing extraordinary growth and could very well turn into the business travel markets of the future. Another market to watch is India, which is statistically where China was 15 years ago.”

The Online Travel Industry: Investing Essentials


The Online Travel Industry: Investing EssentialsBy Asit Sharma | More Articles August 25, 2014 | Comments 0Barajas Airport, Madrid. Source: Jean-Pierre Dalbera under Creative Commons license.The speed at which the Internet evolves can make milestones from 10 or 15 years ago seem worthy of encasement in a glass museum display. Take this quote from Priceline Group’s first annual report after its 1999 IPO: commenced its service with the sale of leisure airline tickets. The number of airlines participating in’s airline ticket service has increased to a total of 10 domestic airlines and 20 international airlines.

The online travel industry has grown exponentially since those heady days when Priceline managed to sign up 20 international carriers, not to mention pitchman William Shatner. While traditional travel agencies, especially those that cater to business travelers, haven’t disappeared, most of us now find it second nature to book travel on our desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices.

What is the online travel industry?

Companies that facilitate purchases of flights, hotel rooms, rental cars, and travel-related activity over the web comprise the online travel industry. The industry includes well known travel services such as ExpediaTravelocityTripAdvisor, and Orbitz Worldwide. It also encompasses newer, smaller companies, often competing on the basis of incremental innovations. For example, travel site presents airline query results in a visual format, ranking results not only by price but also by travel length. 

How big is the online travel industry?

The online travel industry is a subset of the global travel and tourism industry, which, according to, had a direct impact of $2.2 trillion on global GDP in 2013. U.S. revenues of online travel companies were estimated at $157 billion in 2013. Revenues of the global online travel industry, sometimes referred to as the global “digital travel industry,” are estimated to be between $400 billion-$500 billion annually. With increasing Internet usage worldwide, we can expect this market to continue to expand, especially in developing markets such as Latin America.

How does the online travel industry work?

Corfu, Greece. Source: iwiseguy71 under Creative Commons license.

The online travel industry is divided into three primary categories: suppliers, online travel agencies (or OTAs), and aggregators. Suppliers are the airlines, hotels, and rental car companies offering their services to businesses and individuals. Suppliers sell services directly to consumers via their own websites, but also widely utilize OTAs and aggregators to market their inventories. OTAs provide suppliers’ pricing to consumers and fulfill online orders. Aggregators provide a means for web users to compare prices of OTAs and suppliers for specific travel queries, routing users to back to these organizations for purchases.

In recent years, major OTAs like Priceline and TripAdvisor have extended their revenue base by purchasing aggregators, blurring the line between the two business models. Priceline owns aggregators and TripAdvisor counts Airfarewatchdog.comand among its properties.

OTAs and aggregators rely on both organic and paid search (i.e., searches for travel sites on search engines like Google) as well as other advertising spends to capture customers. Priceline and Expedia are by far the largest digital advertisers; according to e-commerce research organization eMarketer, Priceline’s 2013 global spend of $1.8 billion was equal to over half of all digital travel advertising spend in the U.S.

What are the drivers of the online travel industry?

Several trends and financial factors drive the online travel industry. Most prominent is global economic growth. As you might expect, rising discretionary incomes play an important role in the industry. However, as OTAs receive commissions on sales, the direction of hotel room rates and airline rates also affects revenues. Rising average daily hotel room rates since the recession of 2009, for example, have benefited OTAs’ top-line revenue.

Meta-search, the process by which an online travel site includes results of several different OTAs on a single page for easy comparison, also drives this industry. The convenience of meta-search results has propelled the rise of aggregators and is partially responsible for the recent popularity of aggregators as acquisition targets by traditional OTAs.

Perhaps the most noticeable trend driving the online travel industry is the shift from desktop computing to mobile phones and tablets. The general tilt in the population toward “mobile” usage is having a marked impact on the online travel industry. According to industry research group PhoCusWright, mobile phones and tablets made up 20% of online travel spending in 2013. As this share of the total industry rises, OTAs and aggregators will invest significant resources to optimize their interfaces for mobile devices.

The growing tendency for digital apps to foster consumer-to consumer transactions will also influence the online travel industry in the near future. Home sharing site raised nearly $500 million of private venture capital investment in 2014, at an impressive valuation of more than $10 billion. The interest of Silicon Valley in pioneers of the sharing economy like airbnb indicates that new breeds of travel sites — bypassing both suppliers and OTAs — have the potential to unsettle the business model of this still-young industry.

Finally, long-term capacity trends in the airline industry will drive online travel opportunities for years to come. Expansion in the online industry has occurred in tandem with the falling cost per mile of air travel to consumers, as airlines have revamped their fleets with lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft and focused on lowering fixed costs and increasing profitability. Air travel is vital to the online travel industry, as healthy aviation traffic drives not only sales of flights, but hotel stays and rental car bookings as well.

via The Online Travel Industry: Investing Essentials.

Airbnb roll out a new brand identity centered on “belonging anywhere in the sharing economy”

Airbnb have recently announced and launched a complete overhaul of its brand identity. 

Airbnb is a community marketplace for people to list, discover and book unique spaces around the world through mobile phones or the internet. Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences at any price point, with over 800,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries.  It has found accommodation solutions for over 15 million customers.

airbnb old logo

Old Logo


New logo

The launch is not without controversy with a number of industry commentators poking fun at the suggestive nature of the logo in addition to claims of plagiarism.

We like it….and have taken an extract from their blog written by Brian Chesky one of the co-founders that provides insights to the thinking behind the new brand identity.

“In the end, nothing can express our identity more profoundly than the stories of people who make up this community. When we started Airbnb, I had no idea about the people we would meet, or the friendships I would make. Then I met Amol, one of the first guests, who later invited me to his wedding in India. I met Sebastian, who was trapped in his house in the middle of the London Riots in 2011. Before his own mother had a chance to check that he was okay, seven of his former guests did. And I met Shell, who saw the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, and listed her home for free to those who were displaced. 100415a-HQ28-007 NATO Headquarters Brussels. These people, along with millions of others, have their own unique backgrounds and life experiences. We all come from vastly different cultures and places. And yet, no matter how many miles may separate us, we are united by the universal, powerful, human desire to connect, to understand, and to belong. So together, with this new identity, I look forward to starting the next chapter of this improbable journey with the idea that first set it in motion—the belief that belonging can take us anywhere”. — Brian Chesky airbnb_logo_4things

Read more on the drivers behind the new brand positioning at:

MediaPost Publications TripAdvisor, Hotwire Top Travel Site Ads, Study Shows 04/15/2014

by Laurie Sullivan, 14th April 2015, 2:35 PM

Phoenix Marketing International will release findings this week from an online travel audit analyzing consumer sentiment about the most popular travel industry ads on TV.

The study, “Online Travel Audit,” fielded in mid-March, analyzed 50 television ads from more than 30 travel search and reservation Web sites. It also looked at travel-related

Español: Logotipo de trivago

Español: Logotipo de trivago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

advertisers, such as hotel and car rental, including American Airlines, Hotwire, Priceline, Trivago, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Southwest, United and Hilton. The study compiled more than 3,500 responses.

Josh Berger, research director at Phoenix Marketing International, gave MediaDailyNews a first look at results. He said researchers also tested ads from American Airlines, Southwest, Delta, and United, as well as travel destinations like Orlando and Texas. “Ads can succeed several ways, whether they engage through a relevant message or empathy,” he said. “A straightforward approach as to what makes Trivago different than other search travel sites seems to work for the site.”

Business and leisure travelers identified Trivago for its advertisement The Perfect Hotel as the overall top-performing message. More than 55% of leisure and 50% of business travelers said they would recommend the site to others. The newcomer’s message tells consumers the site can compare hotel prices from more than 100 Web sites, adjusting the price depending on the budget.

Image representing TripAdvisor as depicted in ...

TripAdvisor via CrunchBase

Berger said Google did not rank within the first five sites. Other sites like TripAdvisor and Hotwire maintain a category lead. “We really think that as the survey product gets built up over time, it will give us a better understanding of trends and the growth of Google, as well as sites like Trivago,” he said.

Overall, Hotwire took the No. 2 and No. 3 spot among leisure travelers, with its ad From New York to Texas ranking No. 1 with the highest recall at 81%, followed by its Florida to Seattle ad with 79%. Expedia and Priceline rounded out the top five overall spots for leisure travelers, respectively.

While many leisure travelers are more concerned with saving money, business travelers look for conveniences. Business travelers ranked Hotwire No. 2 and, No. 3, with Kayak and Expedia following in that order., The Obvious Choice & Captain Obvious, had the highest recall among business travelers.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s 50 Million Tree Pledge took the most buzzworthy ad in the category, with 30% of travelers saying they would likely speak positively about the advertisement to others. The ad improves the consumer’s impression of the car rental company by tapping into charitable effort. After seeing the ad, 60% of people feel better overall about the company compared to a travel average of 36%.

via MediaPost Publications TripAdvisor, Hotwire Top Travel Site Ads, Study Shows 04/15/2014.

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World’s first Arabic iOS travel metasearch app launched by Wego

World's first Arabic iOS travel metasearch app launched by WegoSingapore, 25 March, 2014 – Wego, the leading travel metasearch site in the Asia Pacific and Middle East, today launched the world’s first dedicated flights and hotels travel metasearch mobile app in Arabic for iOS.

“The response from GCC countries to Wego’s fully Arabised site has been overwhelming,” said Mohamad Ibrahim Masri, Managing Director, Wego Middle East and North Africa.“This is particularly true of mobile and tablet users, so it made complete sense to invest in a fully localised version of our mobile app, especially where experts predict an almost 14-fold increase in MENA mobile data traffic by 2018.”“

The app for iOS comes complete with right to left language support Arabic RTL support for android coming soon, for comfortable navigation of Wego’s extensive global metasearch platform, available in multiple currencies, displaying both local and global air services and accommodation options.”“Wego was the first comprehensive travel metasearch site to be launched in the Middle East, also in Arabic, at in 2012,” added Masri. “We continue to build valuable partnerships with local travel tourism businesses in the region including Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, GulfAir, Musafir, ArabRooms and more to be announced shortly.

”Tourism businesses can now also use their own branded version of Wego’s metasearch platform on mobile in Arabic, using Wego’s APIs available through the Wego Affiliate Network’s free travel metasearch app was recently launched in the company’s core markets and is rapidly gaining traction; ranking number one new travel app in Singapore, China and Thailand, number two in India, and in the top 100 travel apps in 20 countries

.“We’ve had very positive reviews of the application so far and the download momentum is continuing to accelerate,” said Matthew Varley, Wego’s Chief Operating Officer.“There were a number of challenges that we faced in developing an authentic user experience in Arabic that would meet the expectations of the local market,” Varley continued. “We spent a great deal of time consulting our Arabic speaking colleagues so that every minute detail was reviewed and verified. We paid careful attention to numbers, calendars, currencies and labels and the complexities of tools required for right to left translation, screen transition directions and swipe gestures were all a huge challenge.”“We’re very proud of our product team, made up of mostly English speakers, who, in conjunction with our MENA colleagues, were able to produce such a high quality app in Arabic which is one of the most challenging languages in the world in terms of translation.”“Wego has now be

via World’s first Arabic iOS travel metasearch app launched by Wego.

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