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Priceline, Yahoo! In Asia Join Forces

According to IDC, online travel is already the number one Internet business in the US, with annual sales estimated to reach US$31 billion by 2002. The trend may well be duplicated in Asia where online travel forms the third biggest, online spending sector last year.

Its popularity is largely driven by Asia's growing band of independent travellers who prefer to put together an itinerary for themselves.

IDC predicted that by 2005, total online travel sales within Asia would reach US$30.9 billion, representing a cumulative growth rate of 138 percent (see table below).

To capitalize on the growing online traveling business in Asia, Yahoo! and Priceline have decided to launch the co-branded Name Your Own Price travel sites in Asia that will allow Yahoo! users to save up to 20 percent to 30 percent off typical market rates for airline tickets and hotel rooms all around the world.

As a first step, Priceline Smart Travel Clubs will be made available to users of Yahoo! Singapore and Hong Kong. In fact, both companies intend to launch the Singapore club online by this year, subject to obtaining all necessary licences and approvals.

According to global Internet research house, NetValue Limited, Singapore visitors to travel sites from their home computers rose 46 percent year-on-year last December. And in June this year, NetValue rated priceline.com.sg as the leader in transactional travel/tourism sites by unique visitors (410,000).

Sales director of NetValue, Tony Tan, has stated that Priceline offers a refreshing 'matchmaker' approach to help travelers plan for their holidays.

Users of Priceline Smart Travel will be able to do their own research and plan their holidays through Yahoo! and then purchase air tickets and hotel rooms directly via a special Priceline Name Your Own Price travel booking service.

The Priceline Smart Travel Clubs will also provide travel tips given by its customers as well as the latest news and information pertaining to travel.

Priceline, a joint venture between Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa Ltd (65 percent) and the US' priceline.com Inc. (35 percent), partners with 25 Asian and international airlines and at least 8,000 hotels in Asia, Canada, Europe, the US, the Caribbean and Mexico.

B2C Online Travel Spending & B2C Spending, Asia-Pacific

YearB2C Spending
(US$b)
B2C Online
Travel Spending
(US$b)
Travel Spending As %
Of Total
B2C Spending
20005.30.47.60%
200110.71.110.10%
200220.92.813.50%
200337.39.926.40%
200460.217.228.50%
200588.830.934.80%
Cumulative Annual
Growth Rate
75.70%138.20%
Source: IDC, January 2001