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Making a Difference www.travelweekly-asia.com 16 Oc tober 2019 PUBLISHED BY NORTHSTAR TRAVEL MEDIA SINGAPORE PTE LTD ISSN 2382-6061 MCI (P) 019/07/2019 PPS 1849/09/2014 (025581) I T B A S I A S H O W D A I L I E S Day1 I N S I D E In a time of industry upheaval and cash crunches, travel agents and industry experts share their thoughts, concerns and directions to staying afloat What's next for packaged tours after giant's fall? A t the opening segment of Web in Travel (WiT) Singapore 2019, its founder and managing director Yeoh Siew Hoon charted the travel industry's layers of change over the decades, fast-forwarding to pivotal moments in 2019 so far. By Naomi Neoh & Natalie Joy Lee CONTINUED ON PAGE 2. Travel companies can hold their own against super apps Even as super apps continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the travel space, innovative players who pay attention to market trends, understand what customers need and offer differentiated services will be able to stake their claim in Asia's future of travel in the next decade and beyond. This was among the themes discussed at Day 1 of WiT Singapore 2019 held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Exhibition Centre. "The categories of travel at risk are those that are very highly standardised where it's easy to get their supply (think air ticketing) onto the super apps, or where ticket prices are very low," said Oliver Rippel, founding partner, Asia Partners during the panel "The Future Is In The Money Flow". "The user segment and customer profile for these BY LEE XIN HUI Global Village: All companies under JTB Group to showcase products and services at ITB Asia. P5 Insights: Tech-savvy travellers will drive airline, airport digital strategies for 2025. P9 Destination Singapore: Island city set for large-scale redevelopment of its southern waterfront. P12 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2. super apps are quite different. Travel inherently offers higher transaction value than the likes of ride-hailing or messaging apps. When customers book travel, they are still looking for expertise, reassurance and service. It's quite difficult when your business reaches a certain scale and optimal efficiency… we pay a lot of attention to customer service so that is hard to replicate," said Trip.com's global head of marketing communications Leslie Hsu who spoke on the panel "The Future Is Already Here". Moderated by WiT founder Yeoh Siew Hoon, the session spotlighted two Asian brands – Trip.com and Traveloka – who Inevitably, the gaze moved to the spate of tech start- up collapses, including Honestbee, Tink Labs and, in Europe, how a travel giant has fallen — "Thomas Cook from 19th century rise, to 21st century oblivion". Industry watchers warned that the monumental collapse of the global travel group could be the beginning of more failures ahead, with economic uncertainties and external pressures fuelling the ongoing disruptions in the travel industry. Having invented the idea of tour packages 178 years ago, Thomas Cook Group dissolved suddenly in September 2019, trapped deep in debt of over US$2 billion and leaving thousands of travellers stranded. Despite being one of the leading OTAs in the market, trip.com's global head of marketing communications Leslie Hsu remains cautious, stating how the collapse "clearly tells (travel agents) how we need to keep innovating, paying attention to changes in the market and listening to what your customers really need". Industry leaders at WiT Singapore say the collapse of legacy travel companies like Thomas Cook highlights the need to keep innovating and paying attention to the changes in the market. CREDIT: PIXABAY

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