What is keeping online travel retailers awake at night?

Sergio Vargas

Head of Online Travel, Amadeus Asia Pacific

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Beautiful Phuket, Thailand played host to last month’s Asia Pacific Online Connect Conference, which brought together leaders from more than 70 APAC-based and global online travel retailers. The discussion covered the evolving online travel landscape, focusing on how online players can re-shape their growth strategy with technology as a key driver.

sleeping with cell phone

I had the pleasure of hosting the event and relished the opportunity to hear from our online customers who seek to capture the hearts and minds of today’s ‘always on’ travellers.

Interesting Data

With the “who’s who” of APAC online travel retailers in one room, we took the opportunity to find out which way the wind is blowing on a number of key issues via our dynamic mobile polling app. We identified a number of interesting sentiments across the online travel landscape:

  • 70% percent of the travel agencies at the event indicated that big data analyticsshould be better leveraged,
  • 48% of attendees felt that mobile was an industry game changer, and
  • More than 80% indicated that airline ancillary serviceswould be the next big area of focus for them in 2015.

Attendees recognised that mobile, particularly in China and India, is quickly becoming the main shopping and booking channel. It presents many opportunities to upsell and to provide personalised experiences, and targeted promotions, as well as offering services using geo-localisation.

The Game Changers

Many of these sentiments are in line with the online travel trends we’ve identified as game changers, including the convergence of business models between OTAs and meta search providers as they evolve into ‘online travel retailers’ and the rise of ‘digital tour operators’ who focus on the end-to-end customer experience.

At the event we also discussed the emergence of a new business model where meta search providers are starting to offer ‘assisted bookings’ – in which they facilitate bookings, including payment, in order to optimise the user experience. This is a big shift toward the online travel agency model.

Online travel players must continually evolve their strategies and leverage technology to keep up with the competition in this increasingly competitive space. Events like this go a long way towards helping our partners stay ahead of the pack.

I hope all of those at the event found it useful and I look forward to our next meeting.

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Asia Pacific, Travel Platform, Mobile, Events