15:44 | 26/04/2015 Entertainment
In recent years tourists have turned away from conventional travel agents in favor of their more convenient and affordable online counterparts. Online travel services have developed strongly in Vietnam alongside a booming mobile phone market. In fact, according to Euromonitor International, more than 30 percent of online bookings are now made via mobile equipment.
Nowadays, tourists opt for online travel agents as opposed to conventional ones
The Online Travel Agency (OTA) acts as a specialized e-platform for tourists where hotels can post their details for visitors to find, compare, and select according to their needs and budgets.
OTAs often anticipate discounts from hotel owners as they can secure large numbers of tourists who book in advance via flexible payment methods including transfers, card, or cash on delivery. In addition, OTAs can also provide much more detailed information, such as images, services, and discounts from hotels with a view to facilitating tourists in their selection of the most affordable hotels for their trip.
Online booking services are thriving in Vietnam with increasingly fierce competition. For example, previous to 2010, Agoda was the only online booking service provider known to the majority of tourists. However, a series of other OTAs arrived on the scene in 2011 and have been making great strides forward in the meantime. Sites like Booking.com, Mytour, Chudu, Yesgo and iViVu.com have made the market much more competitive.
Domestic OTAs have to compete with each other and with foreign counterparts who are managing to consolidate their foothold in Vietnam. The HotelQuickly site, which has been operating in Vietnam for two years, has a network of 5,000 3-5 star hotels in 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including many hotels in 16 provinces and cities in Vietnam.
According to co-founder and managing director of HotelQuickly, Raphael Cohen, Vietnam is one of the most rapidly developing markets in Asia thanks to a boom in mobile equipment which has facilitated the development of e-commerce. HotelQuickly acts as a useful means for hotel owners who want to improve their room reservation rates. “What’s most noteworthy about the OTAs’ services is that they are relatively cheap and are easy to book via mobile equipment. For example, HotelQuickly can offer tourists a variety of quality hotels tailored to their needs, and with additional discounts,” he said.
Increasingly fierce competition in this online tourism service market, especially in terms of price, has required OTAs to provide additional staff training as well as other more radical strategies to stay afloat. In fact, some operators are so desperate to attract tourists that they have had to lower their prices to the point where they’re incurring losses.
By Thanh Thanh