Central Eastern Europe is closing on the gap in online bookings
It is widely acknowledged that the online behaviour in Europe is not coherent across the region and even within one market there are different levels of "experiences" with using the Internet or buying online.
Kukec, who is scheduled to speak during Travel Distribution Central & Eastern Europe 2008 Conference, to be held in Prague on November 19-20, said, "Most of CEE countries today are members of EU and there are low cost carriers in all the significant markets. Internet penetration is in some countries on the level of other EU members and of course, buying power is increasing. So, I do not believe that this market is irrelevant. Actually, we have had the advantage of seeing and follow what OTAs in other courtiers and regions did wrong, so that we do not repeat the same costly mistakes."
With reference to differentiating features within the CEE region, Kukec said there is no doubt that market is still very fragmented.
"For one, you have language barrier which is very significant, especially in outbound travel. There are quite a lot of small markets (almost each country) with local offer from domestic TO. It is harder to implement economy of scale and it is expensive to penetrate all these markets," shared Kukec.
Regarding the current trends in the market, Kukec pointed out that the consolidation will happen also in CEE region. "Actually it is happening. But the process is maybe a little bit more conservative as it was in the other regions."
Kompas International Travel Group consists of 19 companies and six representative offices.
On having a regional or local presence in the CEE region, he said, the company is an advantageous position owing to such set up.
"We position ourselves as specialist for this market. We are present in these markets as a supplier as well as a retailer or TO. This gives us very unique view of the market."
On localisation strategy, be it offline presence or online operations, Kukec said, "We believe in combination, where we can offer control of the whole customer circle. Our goal is not just to sell the product, but also to provide services, control quality and at the end increase our buying power. On the other hand, we put a lot of our attention into retail in online synergy, where we want to optimise and unify suppliers, booking process and marketing activities."
He added that technology is Kompas' main asset in achieving its goals.
"Right now, we are in big technology integration within our core markets and we plan to implement our new integrated solution very soon in other markets," said Kukec.
Kukec is scheduled to speak about Kompas' online, retail and call centres integrations and about group's approach, as per which its prefers a combination of online and offline activities. He will also provide an insight into Kompas' business model and technology.
For more information about Travel Distribution Central & Eastern Europe 2008 Conference, to be held in Prague on November 19-20, click here
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