The popularity of online agents has changed the way business is done in the travel industry.
While the Hong Kong market has been dominated by international and regional players, such as Zuji, Priceline, Flight Centre and Webjet, the city also has its home-grown online agents.
Some established firms have also launched online divisions in the face of growing competition.
Established in 1982, Tiglion Travel Services claims to be one of the earliest licensed travel companies in the city to offer online services.
Its website (www.travel.com.hk) allows customers to make booking for travel packages, air tickets, hotels, trains, cruises and travel insurance.
Lastminute.com (Hong Kong) (www.lastminute.com.hk) was established in 1999 and has since opened an office in Tsim Sha Tsui to complement its website, which now has about 60,000 subscribers.
According to the company, it is one of the first online travel agents in Hong Kong to offer instant payment transaction and confirmation services for ticketing and hotel bookings.
Apart from products for individual customers, it also offers wholesale airfares for groups. 'At the beginning, our online business accounted for 10 to 20 per cent of our revenues.
'It began to grow in 2003 and now generates 70 per cent of business,' says Herman Lam, managing director.
'Our target markets are expatriates in Hong Kong and South China who are looking for leisure travel products. Most of our clients favour short-haul beach and sun destinations, such as Thailand and the Philippines, with value-for-money offers.'
Wing On Travel launched iWingon.com (www.iwingon.com) last year, an online portal offering a choice of 17,000 hotels in 500 cities on the mainland.
The website offers a variety of products, from budget travel packages to air tickets and luxury hotels. Customers can get instant confirmation and pay upon check out.
Hong Thai Travel Services has also embraced the online trend with its website (www.hongthai.com), which the company says is a 'one-stop travel department store'.
Most products can be booked through the system, such as air tickets, packages, hotels, customised tours and even Airport Express tickets.
'We have taken the lead to develop new online platforms from time to time,' says Jason Wong, director and general manager.
'In response to the trend of group buy, we were the first travel consultant in Hong Kong to develop our own group buy platform.
'Customers can get fantastic offers if they make the booking within a certain period of time.