While China is attracting eyeballs from all across the globe, what has been making headlines recently is the Indian Tourism Ministry’s interest in the Chinese market and the initiatives being taken to draw 14 lakh Chinese visitors into the country by 2020 (10% of the global pie).
With only 240,000 Chinese travellers visiting India in the last year, but China having 144 million outbound travellers globally, tourism minister K J Alphons renewed India’s efforts and delivered a strong pitch at a recent roadshow in Beijing to increase the inflow of Chinese travellers to India by highlighting India’s diversity and assuring visitors the paramount security.
India found its way to the top 10 popular destinations in Asia for Chinese travellers reported Hotels.com, a jump that can be attributed to increased efforts by the Indian tourism ministry to woo travellers from the world’s top tourism source-market.
Chinese International Travel Monitor report by Hotels.com has revealed that more than half of the Chinese travellers are traveling to India for leisure. This is attributed to India’s local cuisine (30%), rich history and heritage (25%) and the traditional handlooms, craft and shopping markets (25%), which make India an appealing destination to experience its local culture.
Popular Star-struck by global pop-culture, film and television (62%) are now the main sources of inspiration for Chinese millennial travellers. So much so that out of the 59% of Chinese travellers who expressed interest in visiting the timeless monument of love, Taj Mahal, when they visit India – 38% attributed the desire to have emerged because of it being a favorite television series or film location.
Interestingly, 26% added Taj Mahal to their bucket-list after seeing their favorite celebrity visit it.
Travel brag moments and selfies were a huge part of the Chinese millennial travel experience in 2017, with 63% using the reverse camera angle to boost those likes and build their social brand. India’s picturesque towns replete with natural beauty (62%), indigenous local food (49%) and vibrant local culture (40%) found their way to most selfie-worthy moments for Chinese travellers when exploring India.
“We all crave human connection”
Johan Svanstrom, president of the Hotels.com brand, commented: “Every globetrotter likes to feel welcome in a new country – it’s no secret we all crave human connection which is especially true when we’re in a new environment.
“We know from the CITM report that Chinese travellers feel comfortable and most welcome in destinations when shop assistants speak Mandarin, Chinese mobile wallet is accepted, and there is signage they can understand.”
This is reflective of what the minister addressed at the roadshow when he stated that maximum efforts are being made to ensure security of tourists which included a helpline in 12 languages including Mandarin.
Month: August 2018
While China is attracting eyeballs from all across the globe, what has been making headlines recently is the Indian Tourism Ministry’s interest in the Chinese market and the initiatives being taken to draw 14 lakh Chinese visitors into the country by 2020 (10% of the global pie).
Steve Odell, as senior vice president and managing director of APAC and China for Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), is responsible for the strategic expansion, vision and continued growth of the company in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific market.
I sat down with Steve to discuss NCL’s Asian strategy, Chinese tourists’ growing interest in cruises, new ship Norwegian Bliss, future plans and a whole lot more.
TD: What are the main market segments that will accelerate company growth in Asia?
SO: Leisure and family travel remains an important segment for NCL. Across Asia we are seeing a tendency for multi-generational family groups to travel together. Across the fleet there is no shortage of amenities and activities to cater for this trend, with dedicated all-age action and entertainment including water parks, ropes courses, snow rooms, outdoor sports and more.
On top of that our ships are well equipped with interconnecting rooms and shared living areas for families.
Norwegian BlissAre there any particular Chinese or Asian travel trends you plan to capitalise on in the region?
While most Asian travellers like to find their sea legs on shorter cruises within the region, we are starting to see a shift towards fly-cruises with Asian travellers picking cruise destinations further afield.
The coming year is projected to see an increase in popularity of colder climate destinations including the Baltics, Canada and Alaska. With an array of unique excursion options, from penguin watching to ice fishing, these winter wonder destinations are drawing in both new and repeat cruise travellers. In line with this we continue to expand our activity in these burgeoning fly cruise destinations.
“Hassle-free experience… Wonderfully catered for”
Asian tourists are discovering the convenience and hassle-free experience of a cruise vacation as compared to other modes of travelling. Not only are they wonderfully catered for on-board but there is also the added value it can offer of exploring many different countries in one trip, as well as the benefit of enjoying a holiday that combines land with at-sea exploration while only unpacking once.
What are the strategies and tactics are Norwegian Cruise Line adopting to boost sales in both the Southeast Asia and China markets?
In an industry that is competitive and continuously evolving, innovation is a key differentiator for cruising but we consider consistency just as important. To help solidify NCL’s leading position within the cruising industry in Southeast Asia and China, we have committed a significant multi-million dollar investment, with the Norwegian Edge refurbishment programme.
This demonstrates the line’s commitment to exceptional quality and extraordinary experiences. The most recent ship refurbishment coming up is Norwegian Jewel, which will come back to Asia in Q4 2018 straight after dry dock. Norwegian Spirit will also undergo refurbishments before being seasonally redeployed to China in 2020.
With Norwegian Joy completing its first year in service in China, how would you rate its time there?
We see opportunity in China and are still committed to the Chinese cruise market for the long-term. In summer 2020 Norwegian Spirit will redeploy seasonally to China.
“Realignment… has allowed us to rightsize our capacity in China”
The recent realignment and optimisation of ship assets has allowed us to rightsize our capacity in China while maintaining our commitment to this promising cruise market.
What facilities and adaptations has Norwegian Bliss undergone?
Norwegian Bliss is the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience, including the 180-degree Observation Lounge where guests can enjoy Norwegian’s most expansive views at sea.
She also boasts many new first-at-sea activities, including the largest competitive two-level electric-car race track at sea and an open-air laser tag course.
In a nod to the ship’s home port of Seattle, there will be a full-service Starbucks store on board. There will also be an array dining options such as Q Texas Smokehouse and Coco’s (a new chocolate and treat shop) as well as other bars and lounges.
What plans do you have in place for NCL in Asia for 2019 and beyond?
Currently we have seven ships on order, due to be delivered between now and 2027. Next year will see the completion of Norwegian Encore, which will feature boundary pushing amenities and interactive experiences but you’ll have to wait until next year to find out more – I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!
Norwegian SpiritAs for our region, Norwegian Jewel will return to Asia Pacific for another year of seasonal sailings. Building even further on the line’s growing presence in the region, the 2,400-passenger Norwegian Jade will offer a season of sailings throughout Asia departing from Singapore and Hong Kong in winter 2019/2020.
On top of that Norwegian Spirit will redeploy seasonally to China beginning summer 2020. Prior to her arrival in China, Norwegian Spirit will undergo a previously scheduled revitalization as the final ship to undergo enhancements under the Norwegian Edge refurbishment programme.
How important is the MICE sector to NCL? How do you stand from the crowd?
MICE is definitely a growing segment for the region and globally. Industry-wide, companies are now tailoring their services to meet the demands of the MICE sector, such as enhanced on board WIFI capabilities.
“Charter an entire ship”
We have competitive Internet service pricing, high-tech entertainment venues, more culinary options, interactive dining experiences, and more outdoor spaces for eating, entertainment and sports.
The Norwegian Cruise Line fleet has every aspect covered and the team of MICE planners can cater to any scale or budget. There’s even the opportunity to charter an entire ship!
With the experience economy booming, it’s time to start meandering off the beaten Turkish track for experiences that give travellers a taste of the Ottoman Empire and ancient Turkey.
A meeting point between Europe and Asia, Turkey has an incredible history. With waves of different cultures and empires leaving their mark across the coastline and mountains with more ancient ruins than most countries, many of which remain near intact.
Ideal for those seeking the perfect balance of local authenticity and luxury, D-Resorts’ range located within some of the country’s most wonderous ancient points of interest is a good bet.
Murat Reis Ayvalik Dubbed as “undiscovered Turkey”, Murat Reis Ayvalik is set in a sleepy seaside town that has been a long-time favourite for Istanbul residents and holidaymakers, but is only just being discovered by the outside world.
Located nearby is one of Turkey’s most awe-inspiring ancient sites and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Pergamon. This site rises high above the Bakirçay Plain in Turkey’s Aegean region. A major centre of learning in the ancient world it has monumental temples, theatres, stoa or porticoes, gymnasium, altar and library were set into the sloping terrain surrounded by an extensive city wall.
The rock-cut Kybele Sanctuary lies to the north-west on another hill visually linked to the acropolis. Later the city became capital of the Roman province of Asia known for its Asclepieion healing centre. The acropolis crowns a landscape containing burial mounds and remains of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires in and around the modern town of Bergama on the lower slopes.
One of the country’s rare settlements that has survived several invasions and devastations over the ages and dates back to second millennia BC, the region also offers outstanding natural beauty with the opportunity to trek along pine forests covering the Kozak mountain range between Bergama and Ayvalik that is dotted with ruins and rural landscapes.
Marmaris From a small fishing village, Marmaris has grown into a popular resort destination in Turkey during the recent years. Set amongst the mountainous Aegean coastline within the popular resort town of Marmaris, D-Resort Grand Azur is a great way to get to know the port city of Marmaris.
Mirroring Petra, one of the seven wonders of the world are the Dalyan Ancient Tombs situated on the banks of the Dalyan River, hasn’t yet been widely discovered except those familiar with the region. And for those in search of Turkey’s most beautiful beaches, just 18 km north of Marmaris lies: Cleopatra Island with is golden sandy beach and ancient city of Cedrae.
With New Distribution Capability (NDC) the talk of Traveltown at the moment, unsurprisingly the topic was at the heart of the STX conference in Singapore this week. It seems airlines and hoteliers alike are excited about the potential the technology will have for their businesses.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel in particular are keen to get involved – and, after recently becoming launch partners (along with American Airlines, American Express Global Business Travel, and Flight Centre Travel Group) with Sabre on its Beyond NDC project – the TMC has also been confirmed by Amadeus as long-term business partner on the Spanish firm’s own NDC-X programme too.
“Gaining real traction”
Discussing that development at the beginning of August, Gianni Pisanello, VP of Amadeus’ NDC-X program, had said: “It’s great to have CWT on board as part of NDC-X. Working with innovative, forward-thinking partners such as CWT will allow us to ensure that our solutions provide the right content and functionalities for a wide spectrum of business needs.
“Our programme is gaining real traction, with a flurry of announcements so far this year as we bring leading travel sellers and airlines together to drive progress with NDC.”
Now, doubling down on their relationship, the companies have announced a multi-year renewal and expansion of their business partnership. As part of this agreement, CWT travel counselors around the globe will have access to extensive travel content on the Amadeus Travel Platform and the latest technology including Amadeus Selling Platform Connect.
“We are delighted to be deepening our business partnership with Amadeus as part of our CWT 3.0 strategy,” added Vince Chirico, SVP of global network and technology partners at CWT. “Working with Amadeus will help simplify our operating infrastructure, enable joint innovation, and accelerate our continued global growth.”
A key part of CWT’s strategy, branded as ‘CWT 3.0 strategy’, is to streamline its platforms and processes in order to be more efficient. The implementation of Amadeus’ latest technology will support CWT in executing its strategy.
“Consistency, transparency and choice”
Rajiv Rajian, EVP of business travel and travel channels for Amadeus, concluded: “Travellers today are looking for consistency, transparency and choice, and the right technology is key to meeting these needs.
“We are excited to expand our long-term partnership with CWT to ensure it has the leading technology supported by the richest content to serve the needs of business travelers today and tomorrow.”
Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) subsidiary Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts has revealed that it has had its patent application for its WorkLife Room concept approved.
Considered by the company the “guestroom of the future”, the project comes as part of of the Crowne Plaza Accelerate programme, and has been built as a way for business and corporate travellers to maximise their output as well as satisfy their leisure pursuits, in one intergrated space.
Up to 3000 WorkLife Rooms are expected to be installed by the end of 2018 including the brand’s first-ever flagship property iCrowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia, which will feature more than 70 WorkLife rooms.
It’s an interesting proposal but I am not sure how necessary it is to patent an idea for a room and especially for something as universal as the work balance lifestyle (also operating under the term ‘bleisure’).
Indeed as the company say in their press release, “The last company to patent a room concept is Disney, which filed an application to patent its Star Wars-themed hotel rooms in 2016.”
This makes sense; Star Wars is a creative work owned by Disney and, rightfully so, they wish to protect their interests. I am not sure what Crowne Plaza are doing, but it smacks of opportunism.
Especially when you take into account what a guest will receive within the WorkLife Room: an Angled bed, which opens up more space for the room’s distinct zones; a cocooning headboard to eliminate noise; Beautyrest mattress; and an aromatherapy kit.
The remaining features are an area called the Sofa nook described as “a multi-purpose space for reading, watching TV, working, meeting with colleagues or kicking back with room service” – as well as free WiFi. Though, being fair the rooms have a simple, clean aesthetic which I find very appealing — but “room of the future”? I don’t think so.
The WorkLife Room is currently available in five Crowne Plaza properties nationwide, including Crowne Plaza Atlanta Midtown; Crowne Plaza Downtown Denver, Crowne Plaza Cleveland at Playhouse Square; Crowne Plaza Suites Arlington – Ballpark – Stadium; and Crowne Plaza Springfield.
A global travel trend that’s hard to swallow, dark tourism takes travellers to places that are identified with tragedy, suffering, death and destruction. These are destinations such as war zones, nuclear blast sites, genocide prisons, tombs – places that are eerie, dangerous, scary and often bizarre.
Dark tourism takes us to places which are considered taboo and has strange effects the human psyche. It has existed for a long time now, and it is one of those things that most people don’t really want to talk about. In fact, I thought hard before even deciding to write and publish this article on our site.
Why go for it? Although people don’t necessarily take delight in visiting dark places, it gives a surreal feeling, an adrenaline rush, and moreover, a deeper understanding of the world by taking a journey through its dark past.
“They want to experience what it is really like”
James Willcox, the founder of Untamed Borders, which takes tourists to dark places, said: “The vast majority of people that travel with us, travel because they want to experience what it is really like. A country like Afghanistan—people have read about it in the news—it’s a place they feel they know in some ways but on the other hand it’s completely alien to them.”
We learn from what we see, hear and read in the media, and these places are often portrayed as dark and dangerous. However, in reality, there are so much more to these places like its culture, significance and rich history.
Below are some of the most popular dark tourism destinations from around the world:
Chernobyl, Ukraine A radioactive ghost town, Chernobyl is known for the nuclear disaster that happened on the city on 27 April 1986. Before the tragedy, Chernobyl was an administrative centre which had more than 14,000 residents.
Today, it’s mostly known as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, although reports say there are still a number of people living in the city. There are two general stores and a hotel for tourists brave enough to dare.
Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun, North Korea Also referred to as the Kim Il-sung Mausoleum, this palace in Pyongyang, North Korea is now a posthumous home to one of the most infamous political figures in the world. It is the official residence of Kim Il-sung until it was transformed into a mausoleum after his death in 1994.
It’s believed that the cost of the conversion was at least USD 100 million. Foreign tourists are given access to the palace only on Thursdays and Sunday—and must come with a government-provided tour guide – the usual booking platforms won’t work here…
National September 11 Memorial & Museum, USA Located at Ground Zero in New York, the museum commemorates the victims and heroes during the 11 September 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers, which killed 2,977 innocent people and and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which killed six.
It is now operated by a non-profit institution, the 9/11 Memorial Foundation, with a goal of raising funds for victims and those who were involved in the rescue and recovery operations.
Auschwitz concentration camps, Poland Know as a location for the largest mass murder in history, the concentration camps in Auschwitz is infamous for the suffering of Jews at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Some 1.5 million people died in these camps before 27 January 1945, when Soviet soldiers took over the camp, rescuing about 7,000 starving prisoners who were still alive. Today, it is estimated that more than 250,000 travellers visit the site each year.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Cambodia On the outskirts of Phnom Penh lies the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Ironically, the museum of death was once a school, until the Khmer Rouge renamed it as S-21, and transformed the institution into a torture, interrogation and execution centre.
Inside the prison, inmates (including men, women, and children) suffered horrific circumstances and were even photographed to create a haunting photographic archive. The museum is open to the public from 8 am to 5 pm.
A model of Uber’s electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle concept (eVTOL) flying taxi. Source: AFP/Robyn Beck
INDIA AND JAPAN have been shortlisted by Uber to be the site of the ride-sharing giant’s third ‘launch city’ for Uber Air within the next five years.
Los Angeles and Dallas have already been named as places that Uber will test-run its new drone technology, which includes flying taxis and drone delivery services.
But the firm is now looking for a third city partner, one that is outside of the US. Apart from India and Japan, also on the shortlist are Australia, France and Brazil.
The announcement came at the first Uber Elevate Asia Pacific Expo held in Tokyo last Thursday.
Uber is planning to start demonstrating commercial drone services by 2020 in its selected cities and have a full working service by 2023.
Initially, Dubai was selected as the first Asia Pacific city to receive Uber’s drone technology. However, the selection process reopened earlier in the year to find a city more in need of the services.
“Uber sees a compelling opportunity to bring the same benefits to its food-delivery business that urban aviation will bring to its ride-sharing business,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.
But beyond innovative food delivery options, the Uber Elevate program will eventually be able to offer ridesharers the opportunity to press a button and hitch a ride in a flying taxi.
The flying taxis will run on jet-powered technology and be capable of verticle take-off and landing, meaning they’ll remain horizontal during the whole flight.
A planned Uber skyport. Source: Uber
The shortlisted countries fulfilled the necessary criteria below:
Must be a metropolitan area with a population of over two million people that has a density of over 2,000 people per square mile. Cities that are currently fighting an ever losing battle with traffic. Cities that don’t experience extreme weathers. The governments of the shortlisted countries must have a futuristic philosophy on urban transportation and regulation. Cities with an airport at least an hour away from the city center. Japan’s capital and India’s Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru all meet the above criteria.
But individually, Japan was chosen as it is already home to some of the world’s greatest public transit systems, tech giants, and has a renowned automotive industry.
So Uber needn’t worry about the government’s approach to futurist technology-based solutions.
“It thrills me to think that the sight of flying cars crossing the sky will soon be a reality,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said at the event.
“I truly look forward to this inspiring initiative, which will open up the future of urban transport.”
As for India, the nation already has a reputation as having some of the most congested roads in the world. So having easily accessible flying taxis would be a great solution to this frustrating issue.
Also, India’s government is continually innovating solutions to improve traveler experiences, such as launching a heli-taxi service in Bengaluru and updating its railway facilities.
The chosen country will be announced within the next six months after Uber has completed talks with stakeholders in each shortlisted nations.
So in the meantime, you’ll have to endure gridlocked traffic and potentially cold takeaway food.
Chinese travelers account for nearly one third of tourists to Thailand. Source: Shutterstock
THANKS to rising wealth in China, the Chinese are traveling and spending more than ever before on their journeys abroad. Responding to the boom, tourism’s biggest players around the world are in a mad scramble for a slice of the Chinese outbound travel pie.
Tourism-dependent Thailand, in particular, has more reason than any to woo Chinese tourists, after a serious Phuket boating accident killed 47 Chinese nationals in July.
The fatal incident put a dent in Thai tourism, resulting in 7,300 hotel cancellations between July and August. Chinese tourist numbers to the Southeast Asian nation also slumped during these months.
TTG Asia reported that in the first half of 2018, Chinese arrivals to Thailand accounted for 6.9 million people, which marked a year-on-year growth of 21.4 percent.
But Thailand’s tourism figures dropped by 0.9 percent in July, and in Bangkok, Chinese tourist arrivals decreased by 30 percent.
However, the honorary secretary-general of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) Adith Chairattananon, told TTG Asia that he expects Chinese arrivals will begin increasing again during Chinese Golden Week holidays starting in October.
The Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports is also still hopeful the kingdom will reach its goal of 10 million Chinese tourists by the end of the year.
Tour operators and hotels are working hard to overcome the decline in business and putting their efforts into promoting tourism.
Between Sept 16 and 21, ATTA will be hosting roadshows in China’s Tianjin, Qingdao, Hefei, and Nanjing to promote quality and safe tourism in Thailand.
“This is part of a strategy to stimulate the Chinese market in the last season of this year. The selected cities have a total population of 250 million,” Adith explained.
This effort is in addition to a proposal put forward by Thai Travel Agents Association president Vichit Prakobkosol in July.
Vichit suggested the Thai government should waive visa fees for Chinese travelers for a period of six months. However, this offer is yet to be implemented and some netizens don’t believe the answer lies in avid tourism promotion to Chinese citizens.
Instead, people are urging Thailand’s tourism officials to implement better safety measures.
“These guys just don’t get it, 47 (FORTY-SEVEN) Chinese tourists lives were lost because everybody just sleeps here in the LOS (Land of Smiles),” one commentator wrote.
“No one adheres to any laws, let alone are they enforced or checked on, audited, etc, and all you do is scratch your heads and come up with this brainless idea of waiving the visa entry fee.”
However, following the Phuket boat accident, Thailand has set up the National Tourism Safety and Security Committee to oversee safety measures related to tourism.
These new safety regulations being implemented by the government will ensure everyone coming in and out of Phuket port is registered and accounted for.
“The government and private sectors are cooperating to build trust among Chinese tourists by enforcing stricter laws and approving a budget to improve the Phuket port,” president of Thai Hotels Association (Southern Chapter) Kongsak Khoopongsakorn told TTG Asia.
“The Digital Economy Promotion Agency is now responsible for developing a system to check tourist information at the Phuket port. In doing so, officials will know the number and names of tourists before (boarding).”
There is no guarantee Chinese tourism to Thailand will bounce back, but with Golden Week starting in a little over a month, the Thai government is going to have to pull off something special to ensure this happens.
Hotels in China ought to pay more attention to their online hotel bookings as China’s online hotel reservation industry maintains speedy growth with monthly active users (MAU) reaching 91.09 million in Q2 2018, which is 20.1% increase compared to the first quarter.
The research from Trustdata’s Mobile Big Data Monitoring service added that online booking platforms such as Ctrip, Meituan Hotels, Qunar, Tongcheng-eLong and Fliggy were the popular and fast-growing platforms for the quarter. These players accounted for 96.4% of the online hotel bookings in the second quarter.
The competitive landscape of online hotel booking becomes clear-cut, with traditional OTAs like Ctrip and super platforms like Meituan Hotels carving up the market. Meituan Hotels ranks first by both order volume and room night in Q2. It exceeded the combined room nights registered on Ctrip, Qunar and Tongcheng-eLong again, seizing 46.2% of the market share in Q2 2018.
Fliggy ranks first in terms of customer stickiness. Super platforms like Meituan Hotels and Fliggy are gaining popularity, thanks to the user bases of Meituan-Dianping and Taobao accumulated via such high-frequency services as food delivery and online shopping, respectively.
Lastly, Ctrip is a pioneer of OTA that is offering all travel-related services. It has the edges in high-starred hotels but is challenged by Meituan Hotels and Fliggy. While the main users of Ctrip are middle-aged with strong consumption capacity, users of Meituan Hotels and Fliggy are younger and have massive buying power in the future.
Millennials Again The Chinese millennials or the Post-80s and Post-90s consumers are the critical driving forces on this rapid growth of accommodation bookings. Millennials are adept in using the technology and to share their information online unlike the older generations.
Millennials are thirsty for unique experiences. More often than not, they search for one-of-a-kind destinations and activities and makes sure to take a photo as proof and to post on their social media. Therefore, it is important to meet their demands and to curate experiences around their wants.
The third and lower-tier cities or the less populated and less industrialised cities become a major growth driver, contributing 50% to the total online hotel bookings in June. Among the 20 million new users in Q2 2018, the post-80s and post-90s are the main force, while the demand from the post-00s or Gen Z also begins to grow.
Foreign tourists are not alone in exploring the less popular places in China. Locals are also on their foot discovering the beauty of their country. The proportion of hotel reservations made by locals exceeds 30% in Q2 2018, indicating that online hotel booking is gaining popularity among travellers as well as locals.
Sabre Corporation has surveyed 30 APAC airlines, and the results show that carriers are revaluating their strategic focus as they think about new ways to generate revenue and increase yield.
Announced at STX Singapore, an event for members of the travel industry, the survey findings revealed that close to 70% of the airlines that participated in the study indicated the two main factors that are influencing change: technological advancement and increasing traveller expectations.
STX Singapore, which took place from 28-30 August, welcomed over 500 airline, hotel and travel agency leaders to discuss and steer the evolution of the industry.
“Generate significant growth by efficiently channelling their content”
Rakesh Narayanan, vice president, air line of business, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific, said: “With consumer trends evolving as fast as the markets they serve, airlines have the potential to generate significant growth by efficiently channelling their content with innovative technology solutions that harness artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
According to the research, consumers and travellers are expecting targeted offers from their shopping experience. It was revealed that 53% of the survey participants believe that leveraging data intelligence, whether to gain insights into market trends or passenger behaviour is a top growth area for their airline.
80% of the respondents admit falling short on their ideal ancillary sales vision, despite airlines acknowledging the power of tech to enable new ways to sell. Moreover, only one in five respondents have identified product differentiation as their airline’s strategic focus – demonstrating a significant opportunity for Asia-Pacific (APAC) airlines to create a personalised retail experience for the traveller.
Successful retailers understand that the key to delivering curated experiences lies in tailoring offers to distinct buying personas, requiring a robust data-sciences approach to maximise individual consumer engagement as well as end-to-end profitability.
Narayanan added: “Our Beyond NDC program drives collaboration with airlines and agencies to help them create rich personas and micro-segmented offers using rich data that support their business objectives.”