Moving towards mobile in the Asian travel towards mobile in the Asian travel market Worlwide ... 4 -social-mobile-apac

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  • Moving towards mobile in the Asian travel market

  • MovingtowardsmobileintheAsiantravelmarket

    Worlwide,mobileinternetisexpectedtodeliver$700bninrevenuesby2017,accordingtomarketanalysts,Digi-Capital,upthree-foldfrom20131.mCommercewillaccountforover$500bnofthiswithafurther$74bncomingfromconsumerapps.Asiaisexpectedtomakeupmorethanhalfoftheglobalmcommercefigurecominginatapredicted$230bn.

    Source:Techcrunch2

    WithappsgrowinginsignificanceacrossIndonesia,ChinaandthePhilippinesandmobilebeingthedominantmodeofinternetaccessacrossnationssuchasIndia,Indonesia,LaosandSriLanka,amobilestrategyisessentialtoextendreachintothesemarkets.

    1http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/06/six-drivers-of-the-700b-mobile-internet/

    2http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/06/six-drivers-of-the-700b-mobile-internet/

  • Source:TopFunded3

    Thecountriesaboveareclearlymobilereadybutstillhavecomparativelylowm-commerceratescomparedtoSouthKorea,TaiwanandChinawherearoundathirdofconsumersboughtsomethingonlineviaphoneintheprecedingmonth(surveyconductedQ4,2014).

    3http://www.topfunded.com/mobile/indonesia-leads-the-world-in-mobile-app-downloads-sea-mobile-ad-network-2q2015/

  • Source:WeAreSocial4

    ButwhyismobilebecomingsuchanimportantchannelfortravellersintheAPACregion?Certainly,penetrationacrosstheregionasawholeisveryhigh.AffluentAPACnationssuchasJapanandincreasinglyChinahaveindividualswithmorethanonehandset,whilenationssuchasIndiaseeuserswithmobilehavingthisastheironlychanneltoaccessinternetservices.

    PeopletalkaboutAPACasoneentitybutinrealityitsvery,verydifferentthings,insistsBooking.comAPACsManagingDirector,OliverHua.NorthAsianssuchastheChineseandSouthKoreansareverytechsavvyandhavehomegrowntechnologiesandthesupportinfrastructure.BaiduandYahooJapanaresignificantplayers.ButinSouthEastAsia,consumerstendtofollowthetechnologytrendsoftheUSandEurope.SouthAsiaIndia,SriLankaandBangladeshisstillamarketthatisinitsveryearlystagesandtheresabitofamixrealonlinesophisticationandconsumersnotonlineatall.Butthereisgreatpotentialthere.

    4http://wearesocial.net/blog/2015/03/digital-social-mobile-apac-2015/

  • Source:WeAreSocial5

    Thereisnodenyingthatmobileisthemostimportantchannelforconsumers.Butistheconsumermindsetmobilefirst?Theanswerissimplerthanthat:

    Travellersaretravellerswhetherforbusinessorleisureandtheirbehavioursarenttoodifferent.Theywantserviceproviderstoknowwheretheyare.Theywantinformationwhentheyneedit,theywantitattheirfingertipsandareusedtothisservicefrommanyotherserviceproviders,statesCWTsAlvanAiau,VPglobalsalesandprogrammanagement,APAC.

    Hyattsdirectorofdigitalmarketing,APAC,AndyChang,agrees:Theyexpectmorecompaniestoprovideuser-friendlyservicesconvenientlyviamobile,digitalandsocialcustomerservices;thosethatdontrisklookingantiquated.

    Whiletheopportunityissimpletounderstand,isitreallythateasyforcompaniestoaddress?ThevastspreadofdifferentnationswithintheregionissomethingChangseesasaparticulartechnicalissue:

    5http://wearesocial.net/blog/2015/03/digital-social-mobile-apac-2015/

  • Manyhotelcompaniesdigitalplatformshavelocalizationissues;sinceIminAsiaPacificIseealotofUXproblems,particularlyinChinawherethetechnicalecosystemandUXnormsaredifferent.Hotelcompaniesalsousemanydifferent3rdpartybackendsystemsthatdontalwaysplaynicetogether,anddigitalplatformsrelyonthemtofunctionproperly.However,someofthesesystemsarebasedonolder,closedarchitectureratherthanthemoreopen,API-drivenarchitectureoftoday.

    Respondingtotheconsumertrend

    Itsclearthatalargevolumeoftransactionsworldwidearemovingonlineandthemobileplatformisamajorcontributortothattraffic.Asaresult,travelcompaniesfromhotelierstoairlinesarehavingtoadapthowtheytarget,communicateandservethismobile-firstcustomerbase.

    Manycustomersarestartingwiththesmartphoneastheirnumberonedevice,especiallyinSouthEastAsia.Wehavemanysolutionsthatarebuiltspecificallytobemobile-first.Speedisveryimportant,asisuserexperienceandconvenience.Localisationandpersonalizationhavealreadybecomeprerequisites.However,manycompaniesarenotmobile-firstandaretryingtoadaptdesktopsolutionstomobile,squashingthatlargeexperienceontoamobileplatform.Thisiswhereyoucanhavehiccups,statesTomasLaboutka,CEOandco-founderofHotelQuickly.DoIofferthecustomerendlesslists?DoIwanttoforcethemtoswitchtoanapp?IfImatravelleronthego,whatamIlookingfor?Smartphonesareinstantandtransactional.

    ThemostdigitallynativesegmentofAsiantravelersstartswithyoungerconsumersandmillennialswhosedefaultsettingismobile.Lowcostcarriers(LCCs)inparticularhavenotedandadaptedtheirpropositionstosuit.Manyofferdigitalsolutionstotheformerlypaperandperson-basedairtravelinteractionsincludingbooking,check-in,mealandseatchoiceandloyaltyprograms.MalaysiasAirAsiaLCCoffersthetraditionalsuiteofonlineoptionsbutwasalsothefirstintheworldtoofferSMSbooking6.

    SocialmediaisofvitalimportanceintheAsianmarket,particularlyacrossChinawhereitisusedformorethanjustswappingpicturesandhavingconversations.Forexample,inassociationwithin-cartelematics,itisusedtodiscusstheseverityoftrafficjams.ChineseNewYear2015sawthetraditionalexchangeofredpacketsgovirtualasmorethan1bnofthegiftsofmoneywereexchangedovertheWeChatapp7.

    Wehavedonealotofresearchandthoughtabouthowwewanttousesocialreviewstohelpourcustomers.CWT'sHotelIntelisareviewtoolthatallowstravellerstoprovidefeedbackratingtheirexperience.Seeingwhetheracertainhotelisacolleague'sfavouritehasbeenapowerfultoolforcorporatetravellersandfromtheprocurementperspectiveaswell,Aiaunotes.

    WeChatandLineareincreasinglybeingusedbytravelbrandstointeractoneononewiththeircustomerssuchasKlook(seebelow).Touristdestinationshavealsoengagedwiththeplatformwiththe6http://genctraveller.com/2015/01/7http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1758826/how-mobile-messaging-apps-are-changing-social-behaviour-asia

  • MacauGovernmentTouristOfficeattractingover500followersjustsixdaysaftergoingliveandthetourismbureauxofChongqing,Suzhou,TaishanandHongKonghavealsojoinedtheparty8.Injustfouryears,WeChatnowhasthreetimesthenumberofmonthlyactiveusersthanSinaWebohoweverthedifferenceinhowtravelbrandsmightexploitthisusageisstark.

    ItshardtosayinChinawhyconsumerspreferappsovermobileinternet.Connectivityissuesmayplayapart.AppscertainlytakeoutalotofintermediationandmobileadsonGooglebecomealotlessviableifyouwanttoreachtheappconsumer,Huasays,adding:DespitethefactthatourbrandislesswellknowninAPACthanEMEA,stillalotmoreconsumersuseourappsinChinathantheydoinmoreestablishedwesternmarkets.

    Certainlythereisanincentiveforindividualhotelierstodevelopastrongappstrategyasaloyaltyplay:

    Morepeoplebookingonmobileandthedesiretokeepmoreguestsbookingonproprietarychannels.OTAshavemuchlargermarketingbudgetsthanhotels,buthotelsstillownthehotelexperience.Ifhotelscangetgueststousetheirbrandedappsduringthestay,thereisahigherchancetokeepusersonproprietaryplatformsforfuturebookings,Changsays.

    TheDaily9arguesthatSInaWeibohasfargreaterbrandreachthanWeChatwithanaveragepersonalcarebrandpostreaching212timesthenumberofusersonWeChat.Howeverascanbeseenfromthetablebelow,SinaWeiboappearstobeusedforconsumingcontentwhileWeChatisusedforproactiveinteraction.Thisiswhytravelbrandsarewellplacedtouseitasacommunication,serviceandbooking/paymentstool.

    8http://skift.com/2014/03/19/why-travel-brands-need-to-be-on-chinas-wechat/9http://www.l2inc.com/wechat-has-yet-to-prove-brand-reach/2015/blog

  • Source:TheDaily10

    Thetrendtowardsinvestmentinmobile

    StartupswithaheavymobilefocusarecontinuingtoattractinvestmentwhileestablishedplayerssuchasBooking.comaredevelopingseveralapproachestocapturingthemobiletraveler.Mcommerceoverallattracted$4.2bnofthetotal$19.2bnprivateinvestmentintomobileinternetstartupsin2013/14withtravelandtransportaccountingforafurther$3.3bn.

    [Insertpiechart]

    HongKong-basedKlookadded$5mSeriesAfundingtoits$1.5mseedroundacross2015.Thecompanyoffers1,200travelactivitiesin24countriesacrossAsiaandclaims500,000usersacrossitswebsite,appandWeChatchannels.Theinvestmentwillbespentongrowingdestinationsaswellasdevelopingitstechnologyandmarketingtheservice11.

    10http://www.l2inc.com/wechat-has-yet-to-prove-brand-reach/2015/blog11http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/16/klook-an-app-for-booking-travel-activities-across-asia-raises-5m/

  • ChinesebookingsiteTuniuhasseeninvestmenttotaling$148mattheendof2014whichatthetimeitwasclaimedwouldbespentonextendingintolower-tierChinesecitiesandimprovingitstechnologies12.Oneoftheinvestors,JD,isalsoarivalandanalystssuggestthismaybeconsolidationinthemarketplace,particularlyinviewofcompetitorAlibabasstrength.ItisworthnotingthattheproportionofAlibabasmobilesalesswungfromlessthan10%in2013to42.9%in2014.Itwouldbesurprisingifalargeportionofthat$148minvestmentwasnotfocusingonmobile.

    Largerincumbentsarealsolookingtochallengethemobilestartups.Booking.comsnewlast-minuteapp,BookingNowwaslaunchedinJanuary2015toallowcustomersonthegotomakerapidroomchoicesandbookusingasingleclickviamobileoncedetailsarestored13.AnalystssuggestthatthismayprovetobeakillerappforsmallercompetitorssuchasHotelTonight.InApril2015thecompanyalsolaunchedBookingSuite,aB2Btechofferingthatallowshotelownerstoquicklyandcheaplycreatebespokewebsitesthatare,critically,mobileoptimized14.

    BookingSuite'snewestproduct,WebDirect,isforBooking.compartnerswhowantasophisticatedwebpresencewithminimaleffortandnofinancialrisk.WebDirectcustomersonlypaywhenareservationismadethroughtheirbookingengineandresultsinastaybyguests,makingWebDirecteffectivelyrisk-free.Therearenootherfeesorcharges.

    "BookingSuitepropertywebsitesrepresentagreatleapforwardfortheindustry,saidRobRansom,DirectorofBookingSuite."Forthefirsttime,accommodationprovidersinallregionsoftheworldcanbenefitfromahigh-qualityonlinepresencewithnofinancialriskandnooperationalandtechnicalheadaches.BookingSuiteeliminatestimeandresourceswastedwithtraditionalwebsitedevelopmentandmanagement,enablingpartnerstobenefitimmediatelyfromastrongonlinepresence."

    Booking.comsignaledtheneedforanaggressivemovetowardsprioritizingmobileinits2014annualreportwhereitwasnotedthat:Ourmajorcompetitorsandcertainnewmarketentrantsareofferingmobileapplicationsfortravelproductsandotherfunctionality,includingproprietarylast-minutediscountsforaccommodationreservations.Ifweareunabletocontinuetorapidlyinnovateandcreatenew,user-friendlyanddifferentiatedmobileofferingsandefficientlyandeffectivelyadvertiseanddistributeontheseplatforms,orifourmobileofferingsarenotusedbyconsumers,wecouldlosemarketsharetoexistingcompetitorsornewentrantsandourfuturegrowthandresultsofoperationscouldbeadverselyaffected.

    Combinedwiththeaggressivegrowthinmobileandmcommerceuseintheregion,thisstatementfromBooking.comunderlinesabasicunderstandingfortravelcompaniesintheAPACregion:Everytravelcompany,regardlessofsize,mustbemobileoptimizedbothintermsofsalesandservice.

    12https://www.techinasia.com/ctrip-jd-invest-148m-chinese-tourism-booking-site-tuniu/13http://www.wired.com/2015/01/booking-now/14http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bookingcom-launches-bookingsuite-introduces-new-groundbreaking-websites-for-property-owners-300070522.html

  • Whatgoodlookslike

    Beingoptimizedintermsofsalesandserviceisntsimplyaboutinvestinginamobileoptimizedsiteorapp.Goodcustomerexperienceontheplatformisvitaltobothacquisitionandretention.Thismeansjoiningupchannelsbeyondmobile.Oneofthemostsignificantimpactsofmobileinthelastfiveyearshasbeentoreinvigorateboththeemailandcallcentrechannels.

    MostemailisnowopenedonmobileworldwidewiththisprovingdoublysointheAPACregion.ThroughemailistheincreasinguseofClicktoCallnecessitatingimprovementsintravelcallcentrehandling,CRMsystemsthatareabletofeedthroughmobileandinternetcustomeractivitytoagentsinrealtime.IncreasinglythereistheuseofClicktochatorbrandpresencesonIMchannelssuchasWeChatabove.

    Peopleintheregionlovetochat.Wehavebuilt-inchatmessagingaswellastalkingtousoverthephone.Speedreallymatters.Weneedtocutallthequestionsoutsothecustomercanhaverealconfidence.Youcanthaveresponseratesinamatterofdaysorburythecontactdetailsonpage75.Otherwise,thecustomerjustwalksaway,saysLaboutka.

    TodaysbusinesstravellerhasaccesstoamultitudeofappsbutatCWTwewanttomakesuretravellerscanaccessinformationfromasinglesource;frommanagingtheirtravelprofile,bookingahoteltocheckinginforflightsorstayingupdatedwithflightalerts.WithourmobileappCWTToGo,weputreal-time,secureinformationattravellersfingertips.Butwhensomethinggoeswrongyouwanttobeabletotalktosomeonesowearecurrentlylookingataclicktocallfunctionandperhapsvideoconferencing.Technologyisimportantbutwemustrememberitsaboutfusingtechnologywithservice,tomeetcustomerneeds,Aiauwarns

    Socialmediaasadirectresponsecustomerservicechannelisbothavitalandpolarizingexperience.Customersaredelightedifbrandsrespondwelloversocialmediabutcanbeleftdisproportionatelydisappointediftheirqueryorcomplaintgoesunremarked.

    TravellersinAPACaremuchmoreengagedingettinginformationandsharingcontentthaninotherpartsoftheworld.Thereisahugemarketaroundusergeneratedcontentrecommendations.Asianusersdorelymoreonreviewsandpeertopeercommunications,saysBooking.comsHua.

    Theabilitytobereactivetakesmarketersawayfromthetrendtowardsmarketingautomationthatisgoverningtheadvertisingandpersonalizationonline.Socialdemandsadegreeofhumaninteractionandwiththeinsistenceonrapidresponserates,brandsneedtounderstandtheinvestmentrequired:

    Thechallengescalesupwithlocalization.Socialmediaplatformsdifferfromcountrytocountry.WhatispopularinThailandisnotinHongKongandthatswhenyouhavetothinkaboutteamdynamics.Havingsomeonetocoordinateisessential,asisbeingresponsive.Leavingacommentunansweredwillbackfire.Thefeelforpersonalinteractionisimportant.Theinterestingcombinationishavingsocialmediamergewiththedirectcustomercontactpoints.Thereareeconomiesofscaletobehad,Laboutkareveals.

  • Gettingitrightonmobilestillrequiresalotoftrialanderror.Marketersunderstandthatappsarevital,forexample,buttheyrenotentirelysurewhythisis.Heconcludes:Itsabitofanart,ratherthanascience,gettingappinstalls.ButfindingtheROIisascience.Theresultsarequitemixedatthemoment,wehaveyettocrackthecode.SomeconsumerbehavioursaregeographyspecificwhatworksfortheJapanesecustomerwillnotfortheChinese.Mobileappsaredifficulttopromote.Unlikeshopping,travelisusedonceortwiceayear.Butperhapstheanswerisinmakingthetravelappcompatiblewithother,biggerapps,suchaschat.

    MobileisavastopportunityfortravelbrandsintheAPACregion.Thesheervolumeofusersisahugecontributoryfactortothenecessityofitbeingattheheartofanybrandsmultichannelstrategy.ButsimplyunderstandinghowtheplatformismouldingconsumerbehaviorandsocialinteractionsmeanstravelbrandsmustharnessitiftheyareeventoentertheAsianconsumersworldatall.