Online tourism market still big enough for Vietnam’s OTAs

VietNamNet Bridge - Having been in Vietnam for a long time, foreign online travel agents (OTAs) now dominate the market, but analysts believe there are still opportunities for Vietnamese OTAs.


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Luong Hoai Nam, CEO of Hai Au airline, said: “With online tourism, Vietnamese travelers have become too familiar with Agoda, booking.com and Expedia. So why don’t we create an online tourism tool that only serves Vietnamese?”

“We don’t have the ambition of serving travelers all over the world, but just want to serve Vietnamese who want to travel domestically and abroad,” he added.

He noted that in Vietnam, people now don’t like traveling in large groups of 30-40 people, but tend to travel in small groups of family members and friends. These travelers only need air tickets and hotel rooms, and don’t need tour guides and coaches. 

Having been in Vietnam for a long time, foreign online travel agents (OTAs) now dominate the market, but analysts believe there are still opportunities for Vietnamese OTAs.

Nam, when setting up his OTA website, decided to focus on Free & Easy, a service package which offers preferential prices for clients who book air tickets and hotel rooms.

In 2014, HG Travel began online tourism via Gotadi. However, to prepare for the competition in the market, the firm is undergoing restructuring. The difference between Vietnamese and foreign OTAs is the technology. While foreign firms focus on technology, Vietnamese OTAs are developed by travel agencies.

Ngo Minh Duc, director of HG Travel, told the press that foreign OTAs position themselves as technology firms, which focus on technology solutions to optimize users’ experiences and improve access speed. Vietnamese OTAs define themselves as travel firms.

Gotadi has joined forces with firms in the same field and e-commerce businesses to create a network to lure domestic users. It has also changed its business strategy. 

Two years ago, Gotadi applied the B2C model, targeting final users. However, the firm’s managers have decided to develop B2B as well.

In 2011, Thien Minh Group (TMG) developed ivivu.com. TMG owns 11 hotels and resorts with 800 rooms in three countries in Indochina, 12 representative offices in SE Asia, the UK, Australia, the US and Japan, serve 90,000 travelers, while 140,000 travelers use TMG’s accommodation services. These facilities all can give strong support to the operation of ivivu.com.

Ivivu now can be financially self-reliant with 100,000 users a day. However, its revenue contribution to TMG remains modest (VND100 billion in the first nine months of the year). Expedia Inc had revenue of $8.77 billion in 2016.


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Kim Chi

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