UOB launches new online travel marketplace that might put an end to pre-travel woes

Managing director of UOB, Jacquelyn Tan, and director of partnerships & business development of Expedia Asia, Cordula Oertel, announce the launch of The Travel Insider.
Business Insider/Haymun Win

United Overseas Bank (UOB) has launched a new travel platform which promises to minimise the number of tabs you have open while planning your trip.

Called The Travel Insider, the new portal brings together the inspiration, planning and booking experience onto one website through content curation and strategic partnerships with travel giants Expedia and Agoda.

UOB’s new site uses the application programming interface (APIs) from their partners to draw deals from over a million hotel and flight possibilities.

At launch time, there were 350 deals on the marketplace.
The Travel Insider

Ms Jacquelyn Tan, managing director of UOB says during the launch on March 26 that UOB “tries to make sure (the deals are) as competitive as possible”.

UOB can also access data from its partners. For example, they will have insight to Expedia’s site monitoring, which is used to constantly optimise search and booking experience.

“The investment in technology and ensuring the integration across different partner platforms is critical for the entire customer journey,” Ms Tan adds.

According to UOB, it is the first bank in Southeast Asia to open an online travel marketplace.

Ms Tan also reveals that travel has been a top spend category for UOB cardholders in the past few years. In 2017, there was an 11% growth of S$2 billion spent on travel in 2017, of which online travel bookings outpaced other travel-related spend.

The online marketplace allows one to get inspired, plan and book their trip at one place.
Business Insider/Haymun Win

To inspire travellers, the marketplace engages 16 insiders from popular destinations such as Tokyo to provide tips on how to live like a local in their home country.

The Travel Insider

These insiders are professionals from fields such as architecture, engineering, landscape and teaching, who have close to 800,000 followers on social media.

There are also over 50 event recommendations around the world to cater to various interests, from music and food to sports and culture.

Users can browse events based on their mood, with options such as “gastronomic adventure” and “some sporting action”.
The Travel Insider

To ease the planning process, the marketplace contains over 100 curated guides and itineraries for 20 most-visited countries, such as Australia and South Korea. The guides are a compilation of content from travel and lifestyle websites such as Tripzilla, The Luxe Nomad and The Travel Intern, which are commissioned by UOB to work on articles for the marketplace.

Travellers can save their favourite ready-made itineraries or personalise their own, which they can share on social media with their friends.

Ms Tan says that the countries were narrowed down by examining the travelling destinations of Singaporeans who travel four to five times a year, based on data from partners.

The bank also intends on adding more itineraries, guides and deals for upcoming destinations, based on consumer spending and behaviour in the future.