Rosenbluth seeks Asian base
By LANA WONG
ROSENBLUTH International, a US-based travel management company, is seeking controlling stakes in several travel companies in the region to capitalise on growing travel needs in the Asia-Pacific.
Regional director (Asia-Pacific) Steve Lovato said Rosenbluth would like to have controlling stake in a travel company in several strategic countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
This would provide a base to tap the booming travel market in this part of the world, he said.
The company at present relies mainly on agreements with smaller travel agencies in the region to provide service to its own clients.
Mr Lovato said: 'Our philosophy is that we think an ownership position around the world, where we have an actual equity or shareholding position in a company, is much more important than alliances or federations or service agreements. 'The reason is that ownership position gives us control, permits us to move much more quickly with the market and to respond to clients needs much more quickly,' he said.
The company is expecting a deal to be struck in several weeks giving it a 100 per cent stake in a Hong Kong travel company.
If laws permit, the company would also like to have a majority stake in a travel company in Singapore and one in Taiwan.
The company at present owns businesses in more than 30 countries.
Mr Lovato estimated the size of the travel and entertainment market in East Asia to be between US$75 billion and $100 billion, accounting for about a quarter of the global market.
Business travel represents a third or half of that amount, while the rest is leisure travel.
Mr Lovato said travel and entertainment costs could be a company's third largest controllable expense.
He said travel management was a new concept in this region, but people would soon realise its merits as good management could cut costs by 30 to 40 per cent.
The company decided to establish itself in the region because clients, who include DuPont, Kodak and Intel, were doing business here and had asked for the company's service. Mr Lovato said by hiring travel management company, clients save the trouble of going through different points of purchase for air tickets, hotel rooms and so on.
Travel agencies in the US are facing cuts in commission from airline companies, but Mr Lovato said his company would not be affected too much by this as it had earlier devoted a lot of effort to advising firms on their travel policies.
Rosenbluth International, believed to be the third largest travel management company in the world, has also developed its own information management technology to ensure efficiency in travel management.