While the ability to present competitive fares is vital to travel agents in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, the majority do not display and sell low-cost carriers’ inventory, according to new research.
These findings were revealed in Abacus International’s new online travel poll, which was conducted in August 2013 and featured a snapshot of the key issues for online travel agencies in APAC.
Flight search served as the primary function of OTA websites, with 82 percent confirming that they sell air tickets online, while nearly 75 percent offer accommodation and cross-sell other products.
While 42 percent of participants acknowledged low-cost carriers as having a ‘major presence’ in their markets, the remaining 58 percent did not display or sell budget airline inventory.
One in seven agents admitted to ‘screen-scraping’ LCC sites for content comprehensiveness.
A third of all respondents stated that they ignore LCCs and focus on airlines that can be booked through their online booking engine.
“We cannot assume users of these travel agents’ sites are familiar with all the airlines operating on their chosen routes, or to know where else to look to compare the available fares,” Abacus International vice president product and marketing Martin Symes said.
“An LCC’s absence places the carrier, the intermediary and the consumer at a disadvantage.”
In continents like Australia, Europe and the United States, LCC’s have evolved their product and GDS participation levels to gain a greater share of the higher yielding corporate market.
“It will be interesting to see if this is replicated here in Asia,” Mr Symes said.