Travel at your fingertips

New Thai app Penguint saves travellers time and money

Main photo Asia One Click founders, from left, Kittikorn Kunnalekha, Taxsa Bunnag and Vachara Aemavat. Photo courtesy of AsiaOneClick

Comparing air ticket prices from site to site can sometimes be full of hassles. But mobile application Penguint provides travellers with a more convenient way of air ticket reservation with the best deal.

Created by Asia One Click, Penguint has developed an algorithm comparing air ticket prices worldwide. The system connects more than 500 airlines globally.

"We can offer lower prices than other airline booking platforms because we change the way of selling the ticket by creating a platform that pools the best prices of every airline and we use algorithms analysing the best deals -- all run by a robotic system," said Asia One Click CEO and co-founder Kittikorn Kunnalekha.

Asia One Click is a brainchild of AI Soft team, who developed online travel solutions more than 15 years ago. In 2005, the company teamed up with Amadeus and launched Thailand's first internet booking engine, which was sold to many travel agents in the Asia Pacific region in 2010.

The team at AI Soft founded Asia One Click because they consider tourism a huge market and saw the need for a Thai company. The online tourism market is dominated by foreign companies.

"In 2014, we believed that online travel market in Southeast Asia would be huge," said Taxsa Bunnag, COO and co-founder, citing figures from Google that e-commerce and travel will make up more than 90% of total online retail spending in 2025.

The value of the travel sector (hotels, flights, cab hailing) in 2015 was US$22 billion and is expected to increase to $90 billion in 2025.

Penguint app. Photo courtesy of google play

The total market of online hotels and airlines market in Thailand in 2015 was around $3 billion and will increase to $19.8 billion in 2025, about 18% of a 10-year compound average growth rate. In the online travel market, airlines and hotels will earn the highest proportion.

"We believed that this is a great potential and opportunity of online travel market in Thailand and in this region," Taxsa said.

Penguint was developed based on the company's expertise and experience of integration with the back-office system of airlines worldwide.

"Integration in the back office with airlines is a barrier advantage and this is our strength," the COO said.

"In the online world of travel, most people only know Agoda and Booking.com. Penguint is a newcomer. If we do the same thing, we will be never discovered, hence we chose not to cover the hotel market," said Vachara Aemavat, chief security officer and co-founder.

Vachara added that the Thai travel market is not completely online, but a combination of online and offline. The purchase of air tickets has evolved greatly. Customers search for information online and call the airline. However, if they don't want to make many calls, they prefer to do it online.

"The app development is based on user feedback. Some request low-cost airlines, hotels or want it in English. Once feedback is clear, we usually put it to use almost immediately," he said, adding that air ticket prices are very much fragmented and even on the same route, prices may vary.

Penguint accepts several modes of payments from online and counter service to bank transfer.

Asia One Click reports that the five most-searched destinations in Thailand are Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Hat Yai, Phuket, and Chiang Rai. Top 10 most-searched cities are Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Osaka, Singapore, Taipei, London, Los Angeles, Sydney and Fukuoka.

The five top airlines are Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Hong Kong Airlines and Eva Air.

"In future, we will do a monthly report as to where people like to go so that travellers can plan more efficiently. For example, if customers know that in April air ticket prices to Japan are more expensive, they can plan to travel prior to that period."

Having launched unofficially two months ago, the app has 20,000 downloads.

The Thai online travel agency is penetrated by big players and overseas start-ups. Penguint, however, aims to be a market leader of online travel agencies within two years.

Penguint's Facebook page. Photo courtesy of AsiaOneClick

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