Here at BOOT central (even while on holidays) we are always on the look out for information about the TUI owned AsiaRooms. After my (relatively) recent interview with AsiaRooms marketing boss John Fearon I started to compile as much info as I could about AsiaRooms as other companies in the TUI Online Destination Services Group including their new push into direct hotel contracing and the commission model. Recent news seems to say that the next piece in the AsiaRooms puzzel is a complete integration with stablemate LateRooms (of Manchester).
I have picked up is more information on executives and team numbers on AsiaRooms care of an update from Siew Hoon at the WebInTravel website called "“Bad boy” no more, AsiaRooms moves to commissionable model". I recommend you read Siew Hoon's interview with LateRooms boss (and therefore AsiaRooms boss) Chris Morris but let me walk you through a highlight from the interview and how it led me to conclude that LateRooms and AsiaRooms are now one.
First to the highlight - we now know the name of person in charge of leading AsiaRooms into the direct to hotel contracting business. According to the interview Kathy Gwinnett will head up contracting as Hotel Relationships Director – B2C Division. She will be backed up by a team of 25 in Asia. Not clear if all contracting staff or have a mixed contracting, database and content role. Also not clear yet where the commission collection group will be run out of. Gwinnett (according to her linkedin profile) is a long term LateRooms employee (8 years) and is Manchester based. Looks like she is heading up a combined AsiaRooms and LateRooms hotel contracting team.
Second to the conclusions - I think this interview makes it very clear that the LateRooms and AsiaRooms business have been fully merged. I draw this conclusion not only from the shared staff members but also from a recent technical glitch at AsiaRooms which resulted in the AsiaRooms website pointing to a LateRooms error message page (c/o the franz). Finally (and conclusively) the sort order results for both LateRooms and AsiaRooms on a search for Singapore are exactly the same. Both have new layouts that but for colours are exactly the same. Means that while we have different brands and site skins, the hotels, ops, tech and execs behind LateRooms and AsiaRooms are likely the same. Means we can expect a very rapid roll out in the new direct to hotel model and further brand integration.