Vail Valley company rides Web to the Asian market |

Vail Valley company rides Web to the Asian market

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado
Scott N. Miller/smiller@vaildaily.comThe folks at Travelscream are, back row, from left, Jim McVey, Natalie Zuckerman, Samantha McIntosh, Tom Griffin, Patrick O'Hara and David Yoo. In the front row, from left, are Kristin Kopplin, and, from the new Hong Kong office, Recbrecca Liu, Eric Demaret and Winkle Qin.

EDWARDS ” Tom Griffin claimed in January his company would grow from 2,000 to 20,000 clients by the end of the year. He just might make it by tapping the Asian market.

Griffin, the president of Edwards-based Travelscream, talked to the Vail Daily in early January about plans to open a new office in Hong Kong, along with the idea the company could see a tenfold jump in its client list during the biggest world economic slump in at least a generation.

The people from the new office ” Eric Demaret, Winkle Qin and Rebecca Liu ” were in Edwards last week, learning more about Travelscream, the better to sell the service.

Griffin and Demaret met in Singapore last year, and Demaret said he was impressed with the company’s business model.

“I come from another model, the wholesale model,” Demaret said. “It’s very efficient, but it’s very expensive. I studied this model, and saw it’s one of the most efficient I’ve seen.”

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That model essentially lets hotels do their own Internet deals, with Travelscream as the way to get those deals put out to travel magazine sites, social networking sites and other outlets. The Travelscream model also is far cheaper for hotels than travel agents or other outlets.

“With wholesale, hotels pay 25 to 35 percent,” Demaret said. “Business to consumer services cost 12 to 18 percent. Travelscream will be less than 5 percent.”

Those numbers can make a pretty easy sale. And the travel market in Asia is huge, and largely untapped.

India and China alone have more than 3.6 billion people, and both have growing middle classes that are already bigger than the population of the United States. India and China are vastly different markets, of course. That’s the case with virtually every other country around the Pacific Rim.

“There are 50 different countries in the region,” Demaret said. “It’s like 50 different worlds.”

But the first Asian country Travelscream will target is China, something Liu and Qin are both excited about.

“It will be nice to explore both countries,” Liu said. “I’m looking forward to helping the U.S. and China get to know each other better.”

But much of the business Travelscream expects will come from within Asia, and the key to that is shopping, Demaret said.

And, no matter the differences between countries and how and why people travel between them, Griffin said there’s one constant.

“It’s still about the deals,” Griffin said. “We’re well-positioned in the market, with the lowest cost.”

These days, that’s crucial.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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