Webjet extends B2B footprint with launch of FIT Ruums in Asia
FIT Ruums will offer a comprehensive array of travel services to the Asian travel trade, including hotel rooms and transfers.
Webjet Limited is delighted to announce the launch of FIT Ruums, a new business-to-business (B2B) travel distributor dedicated to the Asia region, operating under its B2B division, WebBeds FZ.
FIT Ruums will offer a comprehensive array of travel services to the Asian travel trade, including hotel rooms and transfers. It is aiming to become the strongest travel content aggregator and distributor in Asia and a one-stop shop for both suppliers and clients.
“The rising affluence of Asian countries is driving a new travelling class - a shift away from groups and towards Free Independent Travel (FIT),” explained Daryl Lee, the newly-appointed director of WebBeds FZ. “FIT Ruums is perfectly positioned to capitalize on this trend, delivering the widest range of travel content in the region. For Webjet, this is the right time to invest in Asia.”
For parent company Webjet, this launch is a key component of its strategy to acquire the broadest range of content for its agency customers globally. FIT Ruums is the third operating unit within the B2B division, following the earlier launch of Lots of Hotels in North America, the Middle East and Africa and the acquisition of Sunhotels in Europe.
The recently signed Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) between Singapore and Australia was a key part of the decision to have a FIT Ruums sales, contracting and administration office in the Lion City.
“As an Australian company, Webjet Limited has long enjoyed strong ties with our neighbours in the Asia Pacific region,” Mr. Lee continued. “The landmark CSP agreement encourages investment in business travel and tech start-ups, and we are very optimistic of the potential this provides, especially considering the Free Trade Agreement that will come into force next year.”
FIT Ruums key target markets include Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and India.
With the motto “Always Stronger Together”, FIT Ruums believes in developing lasting relationships with its travel trade partners and clients. It is already connected to more than 130,000 hotel properties, sourced either directly or through more than 300 Destination Management Companies (DMC). Talks are also on-going with multiple National Tourism Organizations (NTOs).
The overall goal of FIT Ruums is to complement, rather than compete with, the existing travel marketplace. By bringing together a wealth of travel content and distributing it to the Asian travel trade, the company is hoping to drive additional tourist arrivals and increase transaction values for the benefit of all regional stakeholders.
“The immense growth of independent travellers from Asia to Europe in the last couple of years became a major travel pattern. This is especially important to a country like Switzerland that is so easy to discover due to its seamless public transport network and world-renowned hospitality,” says Ivan Breiter, Director South East Asia at Switzerland Tourism. “We are glad to be partnering with FIT Ruums and its dynamic team to bring innovative products to the travel agent community in Asia. We wish the young company all the best in this growth period and we are looking forward to a fruitful partnership.”
These regional partnerships will be the key to the success of FIT Ruums who further revealed that the company wants to provide a wealth of services and market information to the Asian travel trade.
“If our DMC partners have contracted inventory and would like to bring it global, we are very keen to help. If our partners require insights into the current search trends, booking patterns, potential new source markets or destination performance, we hope to be their go-to partner,” according to Mr Lee. “We want to be large enough to influence the marketplace and to set new industry standards. We will continue to develop new and lasting relationships in future as we grow our presence across the region.”
FIT Ruums has also agreed to be the “Preferred Partner” of Thailand-based 11-Infotech System, which develops software and apps for the travel trade, by integrating its travel content via XML API.
Chartchai Pothong, CEO of 11-Infotech System, commented; “Congratulations to the FIT Ruums team for the launch. We look forward to developing a close partnership and to continue growing our business in Asia together.”
“We at MakeMyTrip would like to extend our congratulations and best wishes to the entire team at Webjet for the amazing venture – FIT Ruums. We are confident that this new B2B platform is tailored to meet the needs of the new-age traveller and agencies both. This new venture is bound to be a shot in the arm for the Asian travel trade. We expect the new offering to set new benchmarks for the industry at large,” said one of FIT Ruums’ new key client Ritwik Khare, Senior Vice President & Head: Business Development – Hotels, MakeMyTrip.
Another key launch partner for FIT Ruums is regional hospitality owner and operator Far East Hospitality. The company’s CEO, Arthur Kiong, said he was excited about the launch.
“We like to have a partner that does not simply try to sell to you, but actively helps to stimulate your business and provides meaningful insights,” Mr Kiong commented. “As a distributor, partner and a source of quality business intelligence, we appreciate that FIT Ruums aspires to add value to our business. We look forward to working with them in the years ahead and developing a rewarding partnership.”
Kok Sheng Sun, Chief Commercial Officer of FIT Ruums, explained that the company’s motto, “Always Stronger Together”, is wholly appropriate to its business model."
“We aim to be the facilitator of choice for our suppliers and a good catalyst of growth for our client partners. To live up to this promise, we are committed to continuously invest in market research and big data analysis which we will share extensively with all our business partners.”
“Also, our relationships and partnerships with the travel trade are at the core of everything we do. We have already developed a series of alliances with key partners and these will continue to grow over time,” Mr Sun stated.
The global travel technology leader Amadeus is already working closely with Webjet and is very excited to learn about FIT Ruums. Christian Lukey, Head of Hotel Distribution, Amadeus Asia Pacific commented; “One of Amadeus’ main goals is to deliver the widest choice and most relevant content to our customers, both online and offline. FIT Ruums’ launch in Asia is great news as they are truly focused on bringing local content to the table and helping players like us deliver on our vision.”
The company's ambitious growth strategy is already underway. FIT Ruums offices are now open in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. Additional locations in Japan, Thailand, India and Indonesia are being planned in 2017, and the company is also considering future expansion into the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.
Photo caption (left to right): Kok Sheng Sun, Chief Commercial Officer of FIT Ruums ;Daryl Lee, the newly-appointed director of WebBeds FZ.