Fri, 15 Dec 2000

eTravel8 begins online services

JAKARTA (JP): eTravel8, an on-line flight reservation site, launched its service here on Thursday joining five other existing travel portals in attracting customers to buy tickets through the Internet.

Managed jointly by wireless data services provider inTouch, automated accounting and management systems TravelAssist, and computer reservation and global distribution system Abacus, eTravel8 can be accessed through both using the World Wide Web (WWW) and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP).

inTouch business manager Andy Zain said that eTravel8's advantages against the five other travel portals currently operating in Indonesia was its ability to be accessed from a cellular phone through WAP or through the Web via personal computers (PCs), personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other platforms, and also because of its real-time services.

"Other portals may say they provide real-time online reservations, but in fact they have human operators behind them that process each transaction, that's not what we call real travel portals," he said in a media briefing here.

Indonesian travel portals currently in operation include, and Astaga!Tours.

Andy said that with the Abacus server which has access to all airline schedules, a customer could access the flights they need and immediately reserve them,

"Airline tickets could be sent to their (customer's) homes, office, or be picked up at eTravel8 special counter at Terminal 2-D at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport," he said.

Payments could be made with credit cards, cash on delivery, or through a company's corporate account, Andy said, adding that in order to use a corporate account a company must first have an arrangement with a travel agent.

Abacus managing director Iwan H. Susilo said that eTravel8 cooperates with Nokia as its technology partner which provides the WAP gateway, the Blue Bird Group for airport pick-up services, and PT Gapura Angkasa to provide the special eTravel8 airport counter service.

eTravel8 also worked together with travel agents Jalan Tours, Mutiara Indah, Ramantha Tours & Travel, Sapta Tours, Smailing Tours, and Anta Express, he said.

inTouch managing director Kendro Hendra said that the service was user centric, meaning that a customer could have a personalized account that can be accessed with a password.

"The system would have all your data so as it could personalize the site to give you information according to your needs," he said, adding that it could arrange for ticket pick-up, airport handling, pre check-in, and even arrange for a pre- printed embarkation card.

Kendro said that eTravel8's target customers were business, holiday, and group travelers who use air travel.

"For the moment we are focusing on outbound travelers, but we will soon develop the system to service domestic travelers as well," he said.

It would also be developed to include hotel reservations, Kendro added.

Potential customers include some 1.8 million credit card holders in the country, about 1.5 million Internet users, 3 million handphone users, and around 150,000 frequent flyers, Kendro said.

He said that the system is currently Jakarta based, but will soon be expanded to Surabaya, Medan, Bandung, and Denpasar. It would also be expanded to Singapore, Malaysia, and Taiwan, Kendro added.

"We already have the infrastructure ready in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan, its just a matter of legal permits and marketing," he said. (tnt)