Big data fuels rise of real-time travel marketing – TTG Asia – Leader in Hotel, Airlines, Tourism and Travel Trade News

Xinyi Liang-Pholsena, Bangkok, June 20, 2014 

pata logoTHE growing availability of large public and private information sources has led to the development of big data analytics, a potential trove of information that travel businesses can leverage to deliver more effective and tailored services to their customers.

In particular, Asia’s high rates of smartphone penetration, skyrocketing demand for ‘phablets’ mobile devices straddling smartphone and tablet and immense popularity of social media underscore the vast opportunities big data present, said speakers at PATAcademy-HCD, which takes place in Bangkok from June 17 to 20.

“The Internet of things” – a term that refers to the advanced connectivity of devices, systems and services – can enable travel brands to capitalise on the potential of “real-time marketing” to personalise the customer experience and predict their current and future needs, said Sonal Patel, business development director, exchange – APAC, Twitter Singapore.

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Moreover, the emergence of wearable technology like Google Glass will further enhance the development of real-time marketing.

 

Citing his market research firm’s findings, Laurens van den Oever, global director for travel at GfK, illustrated how big data can be used to understand the booking seasonality and characteristics of destinations around the world.

For example, German and English travellers are early bookers while Italians and Russians tend to be late bookers when it comes to a summer vacation in Spain; within the region, Singaporeans are extremely late bookers, usually just four weeks in advance, he shared.

Applying booking seasonality trends to crisis communication, PATA COO, Mario Hardy, remarked: “If a crisis in a destination happens during high season, how you communicate to your markets is also different from when it happens during low season.”

While online is a part of nearly all travellers’ consumer journeys, van den Oever also pointed out that offline remains a major influencer. “Cross-channel usage is strong, so travel marketers should ensure a synergy of message across online and offline touch points,” he said. “For package tours, travel agencies and catalogues are still important touch points.”

Moreover, he also emphasised the complexity of travel purchase journeys, as consumers go through multiple pathways – ranging from generic search and aggregators to destinations and travel agencies – prior to making a booking so it is vital for travel marketers to consider the placement of their message. “Being present on all touch points is becoming mission critical,” he stressed.

via Big data fuels rise of real-time travel marketing – TTG Asia – Leader in Hotel, Airlines, Tourism and Travel Trade News.

2014: Is this the tipping point for online travel distribution in APAC? | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

Jun 2, 2014

As the travel industry starts to mature and new disruptive forces enter the fray, are you – and your business partners – ready to pivot?

skyscanner_logoIn a world where many travel brands want to drive more direct business, how do you choose the right partners? Whether it’s Google, Expedia, Skyscanner or Groupon, one pressing question is this: how are they going to assist or hinder your efforts in the fight to win the next billion Asian customers? By 2030, tourists from Asia will lead all regions of the world in total departures and travel expenditures. So yes, it’s a booming market and there are huge opportunities – as well as some significant challenges.

Over the past month, we’ve been talking to some of the speakers who presented at EyeforTravel’s Travel Distribution Asia last week. They helped us to identify some emerging trends in the region. Let’s now take a closer look.

1. Ready to pivot? Are peer-to-peer and villa rentals the next big thing?  Is this a tipping point in online travel?

Sean Seah, MD of Groupon Travel thinks so. “I think we’re at a pivot point. What I call travel 1.0 – the OTAs, search engines and pretty much metasearch too, which has been around for ages, have matured,” he says.

In APAC, specifically, this is a whole new segment, which could seriously shake up and disrupt the distribution model.“

In 2014 and 2015, the whole peer-to-peer model, like Airbnb and vacation rental space, like HomeAway, will be huge and that is going to make it even harder for travel suppliers like hotels to play the game, as these other guys are going to be just as good,” says Seah.

In Asia, there are still huge opportunities to run villas – especially for groups and families – in, say, Phuket and Bali

“The OTAs have brought transparency to the hotel space, but there is absolutely no transparency in the market for villas,” explains Seah.In other words, they are hard to find, very few are doing it and nobody has – as yet – gained critical mass. While, things are changing though this represents one of the greatest opportunities in APAC.

2. Mobile: it’s massive and it’s mainstream

For Skyscanner’s Andy Sleigh, General Manager, APAC you simply can’t succeed in APAC unless you understand mobile and are prepared to take advantage of mobile growth in a region, where around a third of the 4-billion strong population have access to the mobile internet.

“We take a mobile first approach – it’s a no-brainer when your mobile traffic more than tripled as ours did last year,” he says.

Expedia could not agree more.expedia-logo

Says Traci Mercer, Vice President, Market Management – Asia Pacific at Expedia Lodging Partner Services: “Mobile is massive, mainstream and the marketplace for travel is – Now!”

With mobile as the mainstream medium, Mercer says Expedia will be considering what the next ‘well’ is for new customer acquisitions. Watch this space.

3. Where next for wearables…and the smart TV?

For Mercer the big question is: “As we play this forward [the fact that mobile is now mainstream], what do wearables and smart TVs do to commerce online?”

In APAC, Mercer points toa leapfrogging of the PC in favour of smartphones and tablets or ‘phablets’ and this, along with the emergence of low cost carriers, is creating a larger middle class and creating an abundance of new travel consumers. Of course, when it comes to wearables, we aren’t just talking Google Glass, and there is plenty of room for innovation on this front.

4. Keep it clean, simple and transparent 

What KAYAK has seen through continued growth in 2013 is that there are similar user preferences across its various regions, and if we are speaking of integrity, it’s important to be transparent too.

“Consumers across all regions prefer a simple, intuitive and clean user interface, comprehensive search results, a fast response time, transparency in pricing, and a seamless multi-platform experience,” says Debby Soo Vice President – APAC.

KAYAK believes it is able to take its widespread and deep experience with consumer preferences in the US and apply those lessons to markets like Europe and Asia.

via 2014: Is this the tipping point for online travel distribution in APAC? | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel.

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Vueling partners with Sony to offer first smartwatch boarding pass

English: Vueling Airlines logo Español: Logoti...

Vueling becomes the first airline to offer boarding passes via wearable technology.

Spanish carrier Vueling has embraced wearable technology and has partnered with Sony to offer the industry’s first smartwatch-based boarding pass on Sony’s Smartwatch 2.

Details of the surprise development are few and far between, but the “wearable boarding pass” will be provided via a new app from Vueling and Sony, which will be available for download from the Google Play Store from the end of March. Smartwatch 2 owners will be able to store their boarding pass on their smartwatch and present it at airport checkpoints.

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Vueling joins Virgin Atlantic in making use of wearable technology to enhance the passenger experience.

Virgin Atlantic is currently trialling Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch solutions in the Upper Class Wing at Heathrow Airport. The airline, alongside its partner on the project, SITA Lab, provided a live demonstration of the technology at FTE Europe 2014 in London earlier this month.

via Vueling partners with Sony to offer first smartwatch boarding pass.

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