Trip Affiliates Network
Affiliates Network provides turnkey connectivity solutions for travel agents and
wholesalers, travel management companies and suppliers such as hotels.
Network’s solutions include integrated booking systems for flights, hotels,
activities and transfers, plus dynamic packages and digital payment solutions.
What is your 30-second pitch to investors?
Trip Affiliates Network is filling a huge gap in the “offline” travel B2B segment in
Asia comprising agents, wholesalers and corporates which consistently
contribute at least 50% of hotel bookings. For
the last 10 years, most travel investments have been chasing the more commonly understood B2C
startups that target travel consumers looking for low prices. Investors have
generally shied away from the B2B segment, which requires deep industry know-how
across various product categories and a longer-tailed investment.
Our growing network of established B2B agents and wholesalers
in the region are using our services on a daily basis for their supplier connectivity
and operational needs – a business model that creates customer stickiness and
is highly scalable.
With turnkey competencies we
provide a diverse range of connectivity solutions. Our vision is to develop the
travel B2B sector’s first open ecosystem where we empower traditionally offline
travel operators and smaller OTAs to inter-operate using our various product
connectivity, booking engines and/or turnkey solutions for booking management,
land operations, engagement of drivers/guides and digital payment options.
With the open ecosystem anchored by local inbound and
outbound operators, Trip Affiliates Network can also assist clients to scale up
their business by organizing joint marketing campaigns and effectively work
Trip Affiliates Network
Describe both the business
and technology aspects of your startup.
We understand the importance of traditional B2B channels as strategic
book-building and opaque distribution channels for suppliers in the travel
industry, and as differentiated providers of quality and professional travel care to travel consumers. In this digital era, B2B
channels are being increasingly disintermediated by OTAs due to “offline” contracting and payment mechanisms and dependence on extensive manual processes.
We seek to empower partners to transform their distribution and
partnerships, while enhance their customer service delivery through process automation.
In addition, we provide clients with easy and affordable access to requisite direct hotel connectivity
and various digital payment solutions like virtual credit cards (VCC) and virtual
bank accounts. TA Network also provides comprehensive FIT (free independent
traveler) and group booking and turnkey operations automation solutions for both outbound and inbound travel operators.
This includes relevant third-party travel system solutions that are integrated with TA Network.
Our robust cloud-based, multi-product travel IT infrastructure facilitates scalable
growth in both inbound/outbound functionalities with the following end-to-end
- Rich and
competitive content with direct supplier connectivity;
- Modern and flexible
product management tools;
- Open ecosystem
facilitating cross-selling, upselling and multi-channel operations automation
cross-border payment services.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,
Threats) analysis of the company.
- Strengths: The strength of our team and partnerships with numerous experienced
travel veterans and owners. Our experienced team of technical, travel,
hospitality and finance experts have the advantage of working closely with our
travel and hospitality partners in the region to design and develop a robust
travel IT infrastructure and effective travel solutions. With our best-in-class, cloud-based
multi-product systems (supporting flights, accommodation, attractions,
activities and tours, transfers and packages), channel connectivity, land
operations automation, digital payment services and enterprise solutions, we
are able to bring together varied local and global travel partners in a single
open ecosystem offering meaningful differentiated global travel inventory and
- Weakness: Engaging B2B partners requires some level of local
expertise and engagement, which takes significant effort and time compared to B2C
- Opportunities: The travel sector in Asia is fast growing, fragmented and
relatively under invested in IT. Pre-COVID, 50 to 70% of hotel sales were
generated from B2B channels. Post-COVID, B2B channels are seeing even greater
disruption due to their lack of direct hotel connectivity (and consequent
reliance on static contracts) plus an inability to provide online payment to
address rising hotels’ aversion to extend credit to B2B channels. This could be
the catalyst for change for the likes of travel agents and wholesalers who have
generally been slow to embrace technology. We are well positioned to gain
market share across APAC and regionally with increasing market recognition and
client uptake and positive testimonials.
- Threats: We need to remain very in touch with tech trends as it is fast
evolving. For example, COVID-19 will cause much changes and consolidation in
the market, thus we need to stay ahead with the trends and to be able to
predict industry practices.
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate
from both the customer and the industry perspective?
Suppliers like hotels want to be able to do more direct
dynamic bookings with their traditional B2B channels as well as tap on these
channels to effectively create differentiated pricing strategies for book-building purposes without affecting online pricing. However, this requires B2B channels to
have direct online supplier connectivity and payment mechanisms, which they generally lack.
B2B channels’ technology handicap and dependence on extensive manual operation
processes are causing both suppliers and consumers to be increasingly reliant
on OTAs. In this digital age, consumers demand a quick response to their travel
requests and instant booking capabilities, which requires B2B channels to have broad online global inventory
Our services are designed to address the challenges faced by hotels in
their B2B distribution as well as empower B2B channels like travel agents and wholesalers to supplement their attractive product offering with global
online suppliers’ content and automate their booking and operational processes. This allows their travel professionals to focus on providing quality
travel care and improve the overall travel experience
of customers and differentiate from the OTAs, particularly where consumers have
more complex travel requirements in pursuit of experiential travel.
So you’ve got the product, now how will you get lots of
Now that we have achieved the tech know how and while we are strong in
understand our clients’ needs, to scale up rapidly will be our next goal. Being
an enterprise tech company we understand it will be a long tail project and to
stay relevant we have to listen more to the needs of our client. We have also started to create more
market awareness of Trip Affiliates Network online. We realized that as a
hybrid provider of channel connectivity, multi-product booking engines and
travel operation automation services, we can do better in highlighting the
comprehensive benefits of our multi-faceted services to potential clients. We
have since initiated efforts like media initiatives and social media marketing
and also commenced participation in relevant travel trade shows in order to
help create better market awareness and understanding of our B2B service
disruption is a catalyst for change for traditional B2B channels likes of
travel agents and wholesalers, and we are well poised to help them on
their digital journey. We are seeing a sharp rise in interest and
enquiries regarding our services and we also plan to work with local partners
in the region to accelerate the engagement of potential clients.
Tell us what process you’ve gone through to establish a
genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
We are fortunate to have a strong founding team and advisory board which
provided valuable insights from the sector, enabling us to design and build a
modern and flexible travel IT architecture, which attracted some leading local
agents and wholesalers. Thereafter, we worked with these leading partners to
identify existing gaps in platform services and solutions which further enabled
us to develop effective turnkey enterprise solutions, including operations
How and when will you make money?
Our business philosophy is to be a long-term, value-added IT partner for our
clients. As such, our tech infrastructure and services are engaged by our
clients using one of these three subscription models – SaaS, Paas or IaaS. This
generates revenue in the form of a combination of set up fees, maintenance
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the
The team has experiences from travel, hospitality, technology, finance,
etc. We have personnel from senior management roles, extensive exposure to
global/regional markets, architecture experts who build early internet-era
flight ticketing booking engines and seasoned travel product managers.
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How have you addressed diversity and inclusion within your
Diversity and inclusion is important to us. It is interesting to note that our
team comes from nine nations of different cultures and practices. Working
remotely is not a challenge if focused communication and dedication is present.
Management’s favorite quip always reminds the team that diversity ALWAYS makes
us that much stronger!
What’s been the most difficult part of founding the business
Conceptualizing and building the modules from scratch. Execution will
be the generally the hardest part of the process. As mentioned, our founding
team has been with us thick and thin since inception, for which we are grateful
and appreciative as the team makeup and capabilities are always first. It is
the team that creates the winning factor.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an
impact – so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
We have built an enterprise level infrastructural system, plus the market has recognized
our core competencies with the uptake of clients. Unlike most travel startups that
are largely focused on B2C, we have focused on the B2B segment, which requires
significant industry expertise and understanding. There have been few startups
focusing on this area and we are well positioned to ride up the travel recovery
in Asia Pacific. Our focus will be scaling up operations in the Asia Pacific
region where we are based as we understand the intricacies of the
business nature here very well.
A year from now, what state do you think your startup will be
As mentioned our key focus will be scaling operations within Asia Pacific,
especially with the nations that are first to recover from the effects of COVID-19.
For the next 12 months we will see the gradual recovery of travel as borders
reopen, and while business activity doesn’t not happen via leisure or business
travel, we are working in tandem with current and waiting clients who are
looking to digitize their operations.
What is your end-game? (Going public, acquisition, growing
and staying private, etc.)
Trip Affiliates Network is the result of a labor of love. We are driven
by our vision to empower traditional B2B channels like agents and wholesalers –
whom we see as strategically important travel stake distribution channels for suppliers and
differentiated customer touch points – providing travelers with differentiated
quality travel care and experiential travel service.
We are on the cusp of a major transformation in B2B
distribution and partnerships, and it is probably early days to comment on any
end game strategy. We would like to forge ahead with our vision to nurture an
open B2B ecosystem which will create a very valuable market place proposition
for all B2B travel and hospitality stakeholders.
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