Monday, Mar 29

3 Ways Online Travel Agencies Are Essential To Penang As A Travel Sphere

By Joel Teh

The rise of the digital revolution has exposed not only the technological savvy to the electronic realm, but also put forward the scope of the audience to all human beings. That being said, digital electronics are accessible to everyone today!

With the existing trend, we see digitization taking place in many aspects of our life which, consequently, eases up our lifestyle to a higher level. For instance, people of ancient times used to hire artists to draw out portrait paintings for them while they had to spend hours posing at the same stance before the arts were done. In the digital era today, we could just snap selfies (with photoshop feature applies) whenever we want to with a gadget called the smartphone. This evolution proves how convenient our life has become with the occurrence of digital technologies. The same goes to travel agencies as well.

Travelling has always been a stress-relief leisure activity for us to unwind ourselves from a hectic lifestyle to a few days of pastime adventures in different locations. Without proper research and guidance from experts beforehand, it’d still take us nowhere, hence the involvement of travel agencies. Previously, people would just visit a physical agency to enquire about the travel plans and budgets. It usually comes with one sales personnel to assist customers with all the problems throughout the entire planning stage to the returning journey.

That culture hasn’t completely changed, yet…

Decoding The Definition of Online Travel Agency

(Photo by Headway on Unsplash)

So, as mentioned, digitization is taking things from a technological perspective. Online travel agencies came as the result of this development. Of course, it doesn’t replace the physical travel agencies but offers different forms of solutions to the clients.

Online travel agencies (OTA) refer to a digital platform that enables potential tourists to research and make travel bookings on various services such as airport transfer vehicles, tour guides, accommodations, and more. With its accessibility, travellers aren’t just the only customers they serve through their online channel, but that includes merchants as well. Retailers, shopping malls, f&b outlets, hotels, theme parks, and other travel-related companies who work with the OTA as merchants will benefit from getting a higher customer base of different locations that could be unreachable with their marketing strategy. This means that OTA serves as a bridge between merchants and customers to manage market insights, communications, and reviews.

How Does The OTA Contribute To The Tourism Scenes in Penang

(Photo by Wan San Yip on Unsplash)

Penang, The Pearl of The Orient, is being identified as the world’s recognized travel destination with its historical value, local food, travel attractions, heritage architecture, multiracial culture, technology development, and the ecological city plan. A study done by Penang Institute (2020) indicated that the travel industry has been serving more than RM173 billion to the nation, which is equivalent to 11.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in total.

The Chairman of State Tourism, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee, Mr. Yeoh Soon Hin also came out with the 23 Best Tour Packages in times of pandemic intending to draw 6000 domestic tourists with revenue of RM1.54 million to multiple sectors in Penang to generate RM1.23 million in return on investment (malaymail, 2020).

Thus, OTA, with its top-notched internet features, comes in handy to further encourage more tourists to visit Malaysia, which includes Penang as one of the most notable travel destinations as well. Here we are going to unleash three reasons why it’s important for the tourism industry, especially in Penang.

1. User-friendly Settings That Would Increase The Chances of Travellers’ Visitation

(Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash)

OTA designed their online platform to be intelligent whereby advice is given to the users upon bookings and research. While doing that, the software or mobile app of the particular platform collects big data from the user itself through survey columns and media algorithms to produce a personalized and relevant recommendation. That isn’t just going to provide a better consumer experience but it also eases up the hassle and reduces turnaround time, which would easily evoke the urge of travelling. Not forget to mention that reviews are available for users so that they get to evaluate their preferences before making decisions and strengthen customer loyalty in the long run.

2. It Enables Sustainable Cost-Optimization in Business Settings

(Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash)

Merchants usually spend some reasonable amount of money on marketing efforts, which could be a burden when the economy isn’t doing well. Moreover, to accomplish economic sustainability, economies of scale from these marketing costs and the weight reduction of paid campaigns are becoming necessary.

As a result, most of the merchants, especially hoteliers, cafes, shopping centers, and others are flocking in to collaborate with the OTA. Not only that the OTA displays the merchants’ overview- property images, amenity descriptions, interesting places nearby, and service reviews, all align to the travel criteria with the details provided, but it’s beneficial in helping merchants to enhance their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on the internet.

Through these automated processes, OTA helps to reach more customers and, inadvertently, save up their costs so that this money can be channeled to other approaches that would contribute to the country’s development.

3. It’s Accessible Anywhere and Anytime

(Photo by freestocks on Unsplash)

As mentioned above, digitization has accelerated internet usage to a broad scale where everyone’s entitled to access as long as they own electronic devices. With that, OTA isn’t only available through the internet webpage, but it can also be downloaded as software on the computer or an application to the smartphone. This user-oriented condition hastens the time users spend on them whenever and wherever they are as long as the travel itchy-feet kicks in.

As everything is being digitized with this online platform, it lowers down the human power expenses, and users or potential customers can be attended by the services even during non-working hours. Such a 24/7 accessible medium could be a treasure trove to the travel sector in Penang, Malaysia.

About Tourplus

(Image also available at AppAdvice)

Tourplus, a personalized travel platform, is an OTA that provides an online local travel guide (certified driver guides and customizable itineraries with reviews available to ease tourists’ user experience) to tourists. Itineraries such as flights, F&B outlets, shopping malls, hospitality and accommodations, tourist attractions, and more are inevitable items on a trip. Hence, Tourplus came in handy by collating merchants into the list of choices for users to browse through before making decisions.

Currently, Tourplus is moving towards becoming a social travel app that doesn’t only serve as a catalog for users to browse through recommended places, but also a place for social networking among travellers, which makes it more interesting to be acquired, and it’s manufactured in Malaysia. For more information about the application and merchant system, you may reach out to Mr. Chan at [email protected]. We hope you enjoy using Tourplus for your travel discovery in this multiracial country.


(Featured image credit: Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash)



Tourplus is an online travel platform that helps travellers connect directly with their own driver-guide. With professional and certified local driver-guides, tourists do not need to worry about safety issues and language barriers.

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