Sun, 22 Oct 2000

Planning a holiday? Buy tickets online at

By Vishnu K. Mahmud

JAKARTA (JP): Need to buy a ticket for a last minute flight to Singapore? Or do you want to know the best and latest price for a package tour to Hong Kong? Or perhaps you'd like to book a cozy hotel room in Ubud? Let your mouse do the clicking as you traverse the Indonesian on-line travel site,

Launched in April of this year, Travoo offers real-time online reservations for the Internet user. This means you can immediately know if that particular flight or hotel is available at that particular price and date. Although some travel agencies offer special packages or airline discounts on the web, the user would have to contact the travel agent via phone, fax or e-mail and wait for their reply to determine the availability of that item. With Travoo, all of this can be done in real time instantly.

The user interface for the site is pretty straight forward. Once logged in (registration is free), the user can choose from the menu on the upper right-hand side of the screen. Travoo offers flight reservations, hotel bookings, domestic train tickets, worldwide car rentals and vacation packages. Linked to the Galileo International Central Reservations System, Travoo has a huge database on airlines and hotels with their various fares and rates.

When the system has located an available airline seat or hotel room of your choice, you can pay online by either using your credit card number or Internet banking. For the latter, you can debit your Bank International Indonesia (BII) or Bank Central Asia (BCA) account via the Internet. The site is protected by Secure Sockets Layer technology at 128 bits to encrypt your financial details. As another precaution, the tickets are sent to the billing address of the credit card or bank. If the address is different, Travoo will double check with the account holder first.

Once the transaction is complete, the user should receive a confirmation e-mail within minutes, detailing the date, place and price. The ticket or voucher should arrive within three days. If you are in a real hurry, you can browse the site to check availability and call in to make your order. The ticket can be sent within the same day if given adequate notice. Simple, no?

Although individuals can use, the site is ideal for corporate clients. Corporate members may receive special corporate rates, obtain detailed reports on travel expenses and establish travel policies. Travoo also offers a credit line for Indonesia and Singapore-based companies. Individual traveler preferences are stored on-line so that each company's travel coordinator can refer to each person's needs and requests (such as a preferred window seat and vegetarian food).

Niken Suryo of the marketing communications department for JATIS Solutions, a client of, said she finds it beneficial because the use of e-mail and the Internet (which use written mediums) minimizes any potential misunderstandings. It is faster and more reliable. Reserving airlines or hotels are just a few clicks away.

So far, Travoo has over 30 corporate customers with steady transactions. Five months after its April launch, the site has generated over Rp 800 million in revenue, with nearly half of that in the month of August alone. According to Ferri Limputra, Travoo's CEO, the company hopes to reach profitability by next year. They are currently on track to break even by the end of this year.

Limputra insists that Travoo is not a mere dotcom. The company is a licensed travel agency with representative offices in Singapore and Malaysia. They offer other travel services such as MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) consultancies, customized tours, corporate outings and reservation systems for travel suppliers. The business plan was not formulated to achieve quick capital gain but to establish a professional service-based company using traditional revenue models.

The company has received their share of concerns but Limputra trusts that the site shall continue to evolve to become more efficient and user-friendly. In response to many clients' expectations that the site become like Microsoft's Expedia or, Limputra says that Mona Lisa was painted or the Sistine Chapel was not build overnight. has managed to become a site that is both Business to Consumers (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B) oriented. Making it easier for both individuals and corporations to manage their travel plans is nothing new but the real-time aspect for on-line reservations and efficient access to travel professionals gives more power to the consumers.

While other Internet companies are scrambling for more investors and revenue streams, Travoo is planning to expand their area of service to the Asia Pacific region. At the moment, members in Singapore can have their ticket issued in the Lion City. Although the company's founders are not major travel industry players (most are MBA's, engineers or in management), they are frequent travelers who have experienced the pain and suffering of travel planning.

Armed with the knowledge of what went wrong and how to improve the service, Travoo was born. Now, in Indonesia, you can log on the Internet, buy your ticket at a reasonable price and go straight to the airport. Have net, will travel! (