Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman, Jakarta – Low-cost carrier AirAsia Indonesia and the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) have inked an agreement to offer promotional rates for flights and hotels to boost demand amid the pandemic-induced downturn.
The cooperation will allow customers to book AirAsia flights and hotels owned by PHRI members in a bundling scheme via the airline's website. But customers will still be able to book the two services without the bundling.
PHRI chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani said on Wednesday that its hotel members would offer "their best rates" and that AirAsia promised to do the same.
"This is an effort to create new demand. We hope with this joint program the public, which has been hesitant to travel, will become more confident about the health protocols we implement, and the cost will be more affordable for them," Hariyadi said in a virtual press conference.
The cooperation comes at a time when the association is seeking to lure domestic tourists during the year-end holiday to revive the accommodation sector, which is the second-hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the pandemic limiting mobility, the accommodation and food services sector was down a staggering 22.02 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the July – September period, according to Statistics Indonesia. Despite an upward trend since May, the average hotel occupancy rate was still down 19.3 percentage points yoy at 37.48 percent in October, BPS data show.
Hariyadi said the agreement with AirAsia was, thus, necessary to facilitate cooperation between tourism players to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.
More than 5,000 hotel members of the PHRI, which have participated in a similar cooperation with online travel agents, are expected to join the program with AirAsia, according to Hariyadi. The hotels will be able to set their own rates and inventories for the special offers in the package deals.
"For the PHRI, this cooperation opens a new channel, as we have been more acquainted with travel agents, wholesalers and travel agencies so far," said Hariyadi.
AirAsia and PHRI will keep doubling down on the cooperation by partnering with more and more hotels in the airline's destinations, according to AirAsia Indonesia president director Veranita Yosephine Sinaga.
"From the sales target side, we are optimistic and clearly hoping this program can help us raise sales of flight tickets," said Veranita.
In October, AirAsia had launched a similar scheme for promotional rates of both flights and hotels called SNAP on its website.
AirAsia reported that its operations had recently returned to the 2019 level, as 70 percent of its fleet was already flying, Veranita added.
But the domestic airline industry as a whole is still reeling from the pandemic-induced slump, as the number of passengers is only around 30 million, according to Denon Prawiraatmadja, the chairman of Indonesian National Air Carriers Association.
"With the pandemic, the number of passengers fell by between 60 million and 70 million," he said at the same event.