Korean travel agencies ready manpower and tech for travel normalization

2021.06.07 14:02:31 | 2021.06.07 14:35:47

[Source: My Real Trip]이미지 확대

[Source: My Real Trip]

South Korean travel agencies have sharpened high tech and initiated recruiting as they ready for pent-up demand for overseas travel amid progress in vaccination across the world.

My Real Trip, the country’s leading online travel platform, on May 31 posted a job opening for developers, engineers, designers and CS managers to hire 50 by the third quarter of the year amid an increase in online travel booking recently.

Daily booking for tour guides or agencies at home and abroad via My Real Trip platform reached 9,300 on June 1.

My Real Trip is aggressively looking for new members to join the company “to speed up product development and enhance related capabilities as we’ve come to the conclusion that the country and the world will soon achieve herd immunity and thus overseas travel will soon get back to normal,” said Lee Dong-gun, CEO of My Real Trip.

AI-enabled hotel booking platform Tripbtoz also is planning large-scale employment amid sales growth. Monthly sales in March exceeded the level before the pandemic-ridden year, and the number of its website visitors in May more than doubled from January.

“We’re planning a payroll expansion to double the current size in a preemptive measure to post-virus demand surge,” said Jung Ji-ha, founder and CEO of Tripbtoz, adding that the company currently is in talks with overseas hotel chains for direct room offers.

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Tripbtoz aims to advance into 12 countries by the end of 2025, starting from Singapore in the fourth quarter of this year.

Travel startups are targeting niche tourism market.

Himedi, a travel agency that promotes travel for medical treatment purpose, last year launched its YouTube channel Hikuri to introduce advanced Korean medical services and infrastructure to lure those in Middle Eastern countries who also wish to travel Korea after their treatment.

The number of its subscribers topped 100,000 in May in just seven months of opening for the first time in the Korean travel industry, and the company started the first virtual medical check-up in February to draw foreign tourists to the country.

Global tour and activity booking platform Waug Travel has been doing well in the live commerce platform. It entered a live commerce channel with the offer of Westin Chosun Busan rooms in March and sold more than five times of the average sales on the platform with the offer of Sono Calm Geoje rooms last month.

Traditional travel agencies are also in a hurry to upgrade their booking platforms. Hana Tour Service is seeking to double the number of engineers and staff at its platform business from current 130 once the business returns to normal. Interpark Tour is also reviewing an upgrade of its AI-based chatbot service and introduction of customized travel for small groups.

In Korea, the number of flight tickets booked for routes to outside the country surged 442 percent in a week since the launch of real-time search and booking of leftover ‘no-show’ vaccines on May 27, according to online shopping platform Wemakeprice on Monday.

Some countries started giving an exemption from self-quarantine rules for vaccinated travelers, and domestic airliners recently announced resumption of services on routes to some overseas destinations.

By Shin Ik-su, Woo Soo-min and Lee Ha-yeon

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]