Time to travel

  • Technology
  • Friday, 08 Mar 2013

PETALING JAYA: Online travel platform, SOTA (Smart Online Travel Assistant) will hold its fifth Virtual Travel Fair (VTF) beginning next Wednesday (March 13) until March 29.

The bi-annually held event will feature a wider variety of travel deals for consumers this time around with 5,000 travel packages and 150,00 hotel choices spanning more than 60 countries.

Noteworthy deals which will be available at the upcoming VTF include a 3D/2N trip to Universal Studios Singapore and Johor Legoland; a 7D/6N trip to Jeju province of South Korea; and various Umrah packages.

Existing SOTA passport members stand the chance to become one of three winners for a one night stay at Anggun Boutique Hotel in Kuala Lumpur worth RM340 by registering for the upcoming VTF from today until March 12.

Newly registered SOTA passport members will also have the opportunity to win prizes in the form of a pair of movie tickets via daily lucky draws if they sign up within the same period.

In addition, buyers who spend a minimum of RM100 on hotel stays or travel packages on VTF will be in the running to win a 3D/2N stay at Macau (inclusive of flight tickets and accommodation) worth RM7,000.

Rohizam Md Yusoff, chief executive officer at Creative Advances Technology Sdn Bhd, the developer behind SOTA, said that one of the reasons for organising VTF was to encourage an industry-wide adoption of information technology.

“Many are not able to break through in this new digital economy and have lost their earnings,” he said at SOTA’s announcement of the fifth VTF to the media.

Rohizam explained that SOTA’s Hotel Allocation System was commission free, setting it apart from other online travel agent websites which typically required a hefty commission from travel agencies for the use of their services. He said this could range anywhere between 15% to 25% in most cases.

“With SOTA’s cloud based approach, we are able to reduce such costs. Now, our model only charges travel agents US$1 (RM3) per inquiry whereas hotels are charged US $2 (RM6) per booking,” Rohizam said.

Besides this, agents seeking to use SOTA’s services would also need to pay a setup cost of US$100 (RM300) when first subscribing to the service.

Presently, SOTA’s services are being used by over 1,500 travel agents and hotel partners across 46 countries.

Rohizam was optimistic about the expected response from the public for the fifth VTF. He said that SOTA had experienced a 100% increase in unique visitors and a 200% increase in the number of inquiries with every subsequent VTF.

SOTA’s fourth VTF, which was held in September last year, recorded a total of 70,000 online visitors, with about 2,600 visitors per day.

“Consumers are more confident now and they see a good reason to use online resources for travel,” Rohizam added.

++++ virtualtravelfair.allmalaysia.info

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