News | DistributionLow cost carriers pose a challenge for Asia's online agentsThis article was originally published onBy Karthick Prabu | October 23, 2013 To study the impact of low cost carriers on (online) travel agents, Abacus surveyed agents in Asia who have invested in the online space on various aspects of their digital businesses. Among the 62 agents surveyed, one-in-five is dedicated almost entirely to online business. Key findings from the study are: Agents who are predominantly focused offline tend to fulfill a booking that way, even if the query originated online. While those focused on online, tend to process the entire transaction digitally.Flight search serves as the primary function of sites with 82% confirming they sell air tickets online.Almost 75% offer accommodation and cross-sell other products.For most agents, the ability to present competitive fares, including those of LCCs is considered vital.42% of agents acknowledge LCCs' having a major presence in their markets yet 60% were unable to display and sell LCCs' inventory.Only 29% of agents have agreements with budget carriers, the rest excluded them from search results and almost 33% state they ignore LCCs and focus on airlines that can be booked through their online booking engine.One-in-seven screen-scrape LCCs’ sites for content.33% of agents cited a problem with ancillaries in quoting the total price. Martin Symes, vice president of product and marketing at Abacus says: “We cannot assume users of these travel agents’ sites are familiar with all the airlines operating on their chosen routes, or to know where else to look to compare available fares. An LCC’s absence places the carrier, the intermediary and the consumer at a disadvantage. In other parts of the world including the US, Europe and Australia, we have witnessed major LCCs work to gain share of the higher yielding corporate market, by evolving their products and GDS participation levels. It will be interesting to see if this is replicated in Asia.”Share this quote Click on below image for higher resolution. In another recent study by Abacus, it was reported 73% of corporate clients have increased their preference to use low cost carriers.NB:Business man image via Shutterstock.