Announcement today in Travelmole of the site AsiaTravelMarket coming out of stealth mode. They provide inbound to Asia comparative shopping services ex-UK. I don't like the front page as it provides too many options. Travel sites work best with a booking engine/widget on the home page as this provides an obvious first action for a customer, minimizing confusion and lost traffic. However I had a play with a search for Heathrow to Bangkok - the engine was fast and the results looked good.
They will need two things to compete with with more established comparative shopping players (Sidestep, Kayak and to a lesser extent Bezurk in Asia).
First they need some more content deals. The search I conducted did not have results from either Travelocity (or lastminute) or Expedia. Online shoppers that are experienced enough to use a comparative shopping engine will know to check one of both of those players. If you do not have them in an ex-UK devoted comparative shopping play then customers are less likely to trust the results.
Secondly they need a new name. AsiaTravelMarket sounds like a good idea as it is a clean description of what they do. But there already exists an Asiatravel.com and an AsiaTravelMart.com. Each has their problems and issues but each has been around since the beginning (ie the first boom). Additionally AsiaTravelTips have been around for a long time providing industry information (well press release delivery at least) and hotel booking capability. Even though comparative shopping engines feed off the content and to an extent brand of other players they need to build their own brand as well. AsiaTravelMarket will struggle to secure brand recognition when a Google search for "asiatravel" is guaranteed to favour these older players. I know it is a tough recommendation to receive when you have just come out of stealth but maybe this is also the best time. Reminds me - I must secure the domain names AsiaTravelMarketStore.com, AsiaTravelMarketStoreShopper.com and AsiaTravelMarketStoreShopperSite.com before anyone else does....