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Marketing Featured APAC

Hilton’s new campaign encourages travelers to seek international experiences—closer to home

Singapore – Global hospitality campaign Hilton has launched its newest campaign, ‘Travel The World’, which aims to inspire consumers to explore the wonders of their home countries, and discover local alternatives that match the experiences at some of their favorite international destinations.

The campaign reflects the hotel chain’s understanding of sentiment among consumers who are eager to explore something new, yet feel more comfortable traveling closer to home. In addition, the new campaign aims to showcase how domestic travel offers a wealth of similarly wonderful experiences that are a lot more accessible.

“[The] ‘Travel the World’ [campaign] highlights the endless options for international-inspired travel accessible from many Hilton hotels in Australia, Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia. There is no shortage of culture, nature, adventure, and food and wine in these countries and the campaign celebrates them all, highlighting the best travel experiences across the region,” Hilton said in a press statement.

Hilton features a lot of destinations and experiences in this campaign, ranging from experiencing the wine bordeaux region in Australia, exploring water canals in Bangkok, Thailand, or snacking on ‘takoyaki’ on the streets of Osaka, Japan.

Speaking about the campaign, Ben George, senior vice president and commercial director for Asia-Pacific at Hilton stated that they understand that there is a significant pent-up demand to travel or reconnect with loved ones, adding that they continue to adapt to meet the evolving needs of their guests.

“With 500 hotels across Asia Pacific, Hilton has the breadth and depth of properties across 11 trusted brands for travelers to connect with these local experiences, all of which deliver the exceptional hospitality that we are known for. Our latest marketing campaign, ‘Travel the World,’ inspires and connects consumers in large domestic travel markets Japan, Australia, Malaysia, and Thailand to experiences they can have in their home countries that satisfy their international travel ambitions,” George stated.

He also cited an internal study they have made on proprietary consumer research in Asia-Pacific, and found that on average, 34% of families are now more actively looking to book domestic travel versus pre-pandemic.

Live now until 31 January 2022, ‘Travel the World’ is a predominately digital campaign running across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, leveraging a number of digital advertising partners. The campaign includes use of hyper-personalized videos delivered to dozens of unique audiences in real-time through the power of Google’s digital marketing engine. 

In addition, the campaign features both social and digital content including videos, social media, and display advertising with the creative concept and key assets developed by regional advertising agency KVUR, which is based in Singapore.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Shangri-La unveils ‘#WithHeart’ campaign to celebrate 50-year journey with Asia

Hong Kong – As Shangri-La Hotel marks its 50th anniversary, it launches ‘#WithHeart’ campaign to celebrate its ties with the Asia region, honoring the passion and values that have driven the brand’s evolution and the rise of the region through the stories of those who have lived this transformation.

The ‘#WithHeart’ campaign aims to bring to life the significance of ‘wholeheartedness’ in all endeavors. It includes a short film series, which will be premiering on 19 November 2021, will tell the stories of young and passionate Asian culture makers.

Titled ‘From Asia with Heart’, the short film series features a culinary pioneer who rose to become Asia’s Best Female Chef, an architecture graduate who followed her heart to become an internationally renowned installation artist, a respected fashion designer who embarked on a journey of advocacy to open peoples’ minds to the idea of luxury goods made in China, and an iconic furniture designer inspired by the profound beauty of nature, as well as an illustrator reimagining Chinese culture and folklore for children, and a pianist infusing his riveting performances with Asian influences.

The teaser trailer is now available at www.shangri-la.com/50years. At the website, visitors will also find inspiring stories, perspectives, and foresight into different industry trends from even more Asian innovators, entrepreneurs, and visionaries who put their heart into everything they do. Full versions of the short films will be released in the coming weeks.

Hui Kuok, Shangri-La Group’s chairman, shared that Shangri-La is proud to have supported Asia’s growth over the years.

“As we mark our anniversary, we want to bring to life the stories that have made Asia what it is today. We are not just celebrating our past but looking towards the future as we embark on our next chapter,” said Kuok. 

In celebration of these stories from around the world, Shangri-La is also rewarding those who share their #WithHeart stories on social media. Beginning on 22 November on Instagram, the brand is inviting people to share what they do “with heart” for a chance to take their passions further and win exclusive Shangri-La prizes. 

To enter the contest, people should follow @shangrilahotels and post their stories, tagging Shangri-La and using the signoff “From _____ #withheart”, filling in the blanks with their name or handle.

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Marketing Featured East Asia

Marriott International, Rakuten enter strategic collab to enhance travel experience

Tokyo, Japan – Multinational hotel and lodging company Marriott International and internet services company Rakuten have joined forces in their latest partnership, aimed at enhancing the travel experience for Japanese consumers, whether travelling locally or internationally.

Said partnership, which is scheduled to launch in phases from late-November 2021, is set to open up a world of benefits and elevate the travel experience for Japanese customers in the following ways such as integrated digital travel experience, more perks for registered members, and VIP experiences.

Through the partnership, Marriott International’s travel program Marriott Bonvoy will have direct access to millions of Rakuten members to offer them unparalleled experiences and a diverse portfolio of Marriott Bonvoy’s 30 international hotel brands, and market directly to Rakuten’s customer base with content and promotions that are customized for the Japanese traveler.

Meanwhile, for Rakuten’s part, it will utilize its digital expertise and capitalize on the current growth of Japan’s digital economy, alongside the global scale and the rapid growth of the Marriott Bonvoy footprint. 

This new agreement is designed to create a seamless, integrated travel experience and allow eligible members to enjoy benefits from both Marriott Bonvoy and the Rakuten loyalty program.

“We are excited to work with Marriott International to offer eligible Rakuten members the amazing benefits of Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s industry award-winning travel program. Rakuten customers have come to expect the highest standards of service and convenience, and Marriott is an ideal partner. This groundbreaking alliance will add incredible value for our members, enabling them to tap into the advantages of a global travel program,” said Kazunori Takeda, group executive vice president and president of commerce company at Rakuten Group.

Meanwhile, Rajeev Menon, president for Asia Pacific excluding Greater China at Marriott International, commented, “With a significant number of Japan’s population a Rakuten member, we anticipate this collaboration will allow us to strategically capture a greater share of a strong Japanese travel market and connect these travelers to our expansive portfolio of global brands. We’re delighted to be working with Rakuten to advance the recovery of travel.”

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Platforms Featured Global

Travel tech Vouch’s US$1.1m seed funding to mark EU market entry

Singapore – Vouch, a Singapore-based travel tech startup that offers its guest experience platform to hotels in various markets, has successfully closed its US$1.1m seed funding, to which they aim to target to open European operations, starting off with the setup of their operations in London, United Kingdom.

This marks the company’s third in-country branch along with its presence in Indonesia and South Korea, to which they will be looking to build on its new and existing partnerships with hotel chains in these markets for expansion.

Vouch provides AI-powered technology to the hospitality and travel segment, including attractions and malls, to enhance productivity, boost revenue and elevate the overall guest experience. The company firmly believes that with technology as an enabler, properties now have the freedom and the ability to focus on things that truly matter.

Said funding was led by Forge Ventures, and will be used for expansion and product development for a new category of technology for hotels: the guest experience platform.

The company’s guest experience platform allows guests to check-in, make room requests, order food and beverage and get instant answers to commonly asked questions, just by scanning a QR code on their mobile phones.

Furthermore, Vouch has seen wide adoption of its platform in Asia to improve productivity through the streamlining of hotel operations and providing round the clock services for hotel guests.

According to Joseph Ling, founder and CEO at Vouch, the company has rolled out its services and partnered with noteworthy hospitality brands in Asia and is now looking to expand globally. For instance, they have covered 25% of all rooms in Singapore under international groups such as Frasers Hospitality, Hyatt Hotels, Pan Pacific Hotels Group and the InterContinental Hotels Group.

“There is a genuine need for a solution that helps hotels improve manpower efficiency and the pandemic has accelerated this need. Our plan this year is to expand aggressively into new markets that will benefit most from a productivity platform like ours, namely Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and the United Kingdom,” Ling stated.

While travel and tourism have remained low across the world due to COVID-19, Vouch aims to help businesses and consumers in these sectors cope better in a pandemic.

“By incorporating Vouch into their operations, businesses can better plan for manpower requirements and avoid greater uncertainty associated with fluctuating pandemic intensity and accompanying social distancing requirements,” the company said in a press statement.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts names new development director for Indonesia, Philippines

Singapore – Global hotel chain Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has appointed Pamudji Slamet, former development director at hospitality company Accor in Indonesia, to be the new director of development for its operations in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Slamet brings with him more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality sector, including both operational and development roles. He has previously managed conversions, mergers, acquisitions, and rebranding of hotels through a franchise, management, and hotel lease, as well as manchise agreements. Slamet is also adept at property development across a wide range of segments from luxury to economy hotels to condotels and branded residences.

Besides his previous role in Accor, Slamet has also worked at various hotel companies. He was formerly the business developer at General Hotel Management, the hotel developer at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and the director of operations at Discovery Hotels & Resorts.

In his new role, Slamet will be joining Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ Asia Pacific division, which has a portfolio of over 1,500 hotels across 20 markets and territories. He will be responsible for growing the company’s portfolio through new development and conversion opportunities across franchise and management agreements in Indonesia and the Philippines. 

Furthermore, Slamet will be focusing on establishing new relationships and partnering with key owners and property developers to drive the continued growth of the company’s presence in both markets.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts SEA and Pacific Rim’s Head of Development Matt Holmes commented that Slamet’s appointment comes at a ripe time for the company, as they continue to fast-track their growth across the region. 

“Indonesia and the Philippines are key strategic markets, and Pamudji’s extensive experience in the development sphere will greatly benefit our owners and partners as they leverage the power of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ brands, distribution, and loyalty program,” said Holmes.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s top 5 stories for April: A data and AI company takes number 1 spot

This month’s top stories are all about game-changing old practices and breaking stereotypes in the industry. A new agency has just launched a new proprietary tech that aims to bring more science to the practice of media planning, while a popular short-video platform moves beyond its popularized brand of entertainment to launch a pilot educational series. 

Meanwhile, the world of gaming makes another comeback. Two companies have recently partnered to offer brands an inventory of a new type of advertising in the gaming world. An AI and data company has also offered a new solution to a marketplace that is of surging demand today – e-commerce; while this month also saw the appointment and elevation of one veteran in the area of loyalty marketing in APAC.

Rankings were sourced from Google Analytics from the period of 16 March to 15 April. Take a look. 

Top 5: Global platforms Anzu and Eskimi partner to offer in-game advertising to brands 

More brands will be able to better engage with gamers around the world and get their hands on a relatively new type of brand placement in games – in-game advertising – as two platforms have partnered to offer the said type of inventory to advertisers in Africa, Asia, and CIS, as well as Europe, and MENA.

Anzu.io is a global in-game advertising platform, while Eskimi is a full-stack programmatic and data platform. What Anzu offers are real-life advertisements that fit natively into games, and Yaniv Rozencweig, the director of business operations at Anzu, said that it is looking for a demand-side platform (DSP) like Eskimi that has a strong and agile tech team that is able to “make adjustments” in order to tap into its supply. 

MARKETECH APAC spoke to both Rozencweig and Monika Poškutė, the head of marketing at Eskimi, where both said that the partnership ultimately aims to solve the long-standing problem of intrusive ads. 

“Our mindset is very similar [and] basically the same, we believe that ads should not be intrusive, and they should not be a big distraction in your life. You’re supposed to have your activities online for the game that you’re playing on your mobile phone, and it is the game that you’re enjoying, it’s entertainment, [so] suddenly receiving like a pop-up [ad] is a distraction, it’s intrusive,” said Poškutė. 

They also said that the tie-up will be offering foremost the education to clients and brands on how to work around this unique type of advertising and how to best harness it to better connect to gamers which had already reached about 3 billion around the world. 

“You can find various user segments in this big gamer audience in a non-intrusive way, and we believe that by educating our clients about this new opportunity, we are able to offer new channels, [and] new engagement rates, and I could even say probably more loyal user segments,” added Poškutė. 

Top 4: JOLT Digital brings science to media planning through J-CAL 

Singapore-based digital agency JOLT Digital has recently unveiled its new tech for media planning J-CAL, or which stands for J-Calculator, which aims to turn the practice of media planning on its head by bringing more science to advertisers’ processes through econometric modeling. 

MARKETECH APAC spoke to the agency’s founder Sebastien Lepez, where he said that throughout his own experience in media planning, he found that most executives allocate media budget based on gut feel.

Lepez, a marketing veteran with over 13 years of experience in both the agency and client sides, shared that media planners usually use media metrics or the rate of likes, impressions, and views, and while, effective in its own way, still doesn’t integrate sales in the process. 

“We allocate the optimal media budget to the channels we have selected. Our tool is able to tell us exactly how many percent should be invested into each of the channels,” he said. 

In the development of J-CAL, five years’ worth of data across Southeast Asia was used to build econometric curves or what the agency calls response curves for each of the channels that are present on digital. 

“J-CAL has taken nine months to develop and I think we have created a technology that is very unique and very robust. A lot of data, efforts, and thinking has gone into it. We truly believe that it is going to game-change media planning,” Lepez stated.

He further said, “Our industry is in need for a change and it’s been requested by clients for many years. After years [of] working at agencies and clients, I had time to observe the gaps and now I am able with JOLT and with J-CAL to fill these gaps.”

Top 3: TikTok Singapore launches first-ever educational series

While TikTok is most popularly known as an entertainment platform, TikTok in Singapore aims to showcase that such is definitely the case and that the platform is far more reaching than just exciting dances and singing. With this, it launched last 31 March to 6 April its first educational series which has its pilot theme on careers on tech. 

The first-ever #JobTok educational live stream series is a lineup of shows that aims to equip the youth aspiring for tech careers with knowledge of the jobs and skillsets of the future in the industry to help them to make more informed career decisions in life.

“We recognize the need to dispel the uncertainty among today’s job seekers and equip them with the relevant skills to be future-ready, so with that idea in mind, we decided to launch the first-ever ‘JobTok’ educational live series to equip all the users in the platform with the knowledge and the skill set of the future to allow them to make more informed career decisions,” said Doreen Tan, user & content operations manager at TikTok Singapore, in an interview with MARKETECH APAC

The platform has roped in women leaders in tech, tech executives from the government, and even its own engineers to shed light on some of the most burning questions of tech enthusiasts. Segments presented were ‘Adulting Advice from Young GovTechies’, ‘The Faces Behind TikTok live’, and ‘Women Leadership in Tech’. 

‘Ultimately, what we are trying to do here is providing an insider look into the tech industry and to just spark greater interest among Singaporeans to enter this fast-growing industry,” added Tan.  

Top 2: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts names new senior director for marketing and loyalty in APAC

Just recently, hospitality giant Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has consolidated and rebranded its Southeast Asia Pacific Rim (SEAPR) unit to now represent the whole Asia Pacific, and with this, it has elevated its former director for marketing and loyalty in SEAPR Lynn Poh to now take the lead as the senior director for the hotel’s rewards program, Wyndham Rewards, in APAC.

MARKETECH APAC conversed with Poh to know more about what her first order of business will be as she takes on the role.

“My first order of business is integrating the marketing and loyalty teams in Asia Pacific, and plus, developing a strategic marketing plan for both digital and loyalty that will support the needs of our hotels across the region,” said Poh. 

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is one of the biggest hospitality chains in the world with brands across upscale, midscale, and value segments. The APAC leg currently comprises over 1,500 hotels, and within the running quarter of the year alone, the region has announced new additions to its portfolio with a new property in India state Gujarat, and inaugural entries in Nepal and Cambodia.

With tight travel restrictions in the region still in place, how does Lynn plan to keep the rewards program on its feet when such depends on recurring bookings? She said it’s about leveraging digital channels and employing social media strategies that will keep the brand on consumers’ radar. 

“We have seen positive news of travel bubbles coming out of certain destinations, so while we’re still very focused on integrated campaigns, we are also taking a sub-regional approach that’s tailored to market needs,” she shared. 

“So I agree that bookings have not reached historic levels, but throughout the pandemic, Wyndham had been really present in social media and digital channels, and we’ve been driving this message of dreaming to travel again, reconnecting with family and friends, so really driving that top-of-mind awareness through our social media platforms,” she added. 

Top 1: ADA launches new end-to-end e-commerce solution in APAC

Nabbing the top spot for this month of April is ADA, a company that uses deep data and AI capabilities to provide brands in Asia actionable marketing insights and brand and communication strategies. ADA garnered the highest readership for the month for its new e-commerce solution, which is an end-to-end offering for brands.

Speaking with MARKETECH APAC, Anurag Gupta, chief operating officer and chief of agency at ADA, said that what the company found was that while e-commerce is a booming industry in Southeast Asia, companies’ current solutions for online brands are very siloed. 

“There are companies who are driving traffic to the e-commerce platforms or marketplace, then there are companies helping brands optimize the customer journey, then there are companies helping them do fulfillment, but nobody’s linking everything together,” Gupta said. 

Hence, its launch of the new solution. The service is aimed at clients seeking comprehensive solutions to drive traffic, manage customer experience, optimize conversions throughout the funnel, and create engaging content on digital marketplaces as well as owned e-commerce sites.

Gupta said that even amid the increase in adoption of e-commerce, it is still seen as vanity and supplemental channel, where about 90% of sales are still dependent on offline purchases. With the new solution, ADA also aims to help companies understand that with the right direction and strategies, it can be a major channel for a brand. 

Gupta cites one of the pitfalls for brands on the customer journey, taking into example cosmetics brands, where most of the time, customers will come searching on the internet to look for different types, for example, of lipsticks. If brands don’t take the difference of keywords in search seriously, a seemingly small detail would be a big problem on online presence, he said. 

“[E-commerce] is a major part of the digital ecosystem. We see that companies are going to accelerate their e-commerce investments, it is going to be a much bigger channel in their portfolio, and hence, we want to prepare companies how to manage this,” stated Gupta. 

Watch our live interviews with the newsmakers themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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Platforms Featured East Asia

Travel platform RateDock launches in Asia

Hong Kong – As technology plays a big part in the ongoing transformation of the travel industry, RateDock has launched a travel platform that connects demand partners to an array of properties that use different connectivity partners with one simple connection.

RateDock aims to empower connections between hotels and travel agencies. It works as a direct interface between the accommodation provider, connectivity partner, and the demand partner, seamlessly connected through the RateDock platform.

The demand partners of RateDock are travel agents, tour operators, and DMCs, as well as travel SMEs. It supports purely from a technical level to facilitate the connection, and it should be noted that all commercial terms and relationships are managed between the accommodation and the demand partner. 

Furthermore, other benefits of the accommodations also include cost-saving support through business matching and direct partnership, as well as ensuring full control of distribution. Using the existing connectivity partner, the property can increase the number of demand partners with one simple connection which improves speed to market and optimizes revenue generation. 

“By connecting to Ratedock, we want to make it easier for properties to automate rate, availability, and booking management processes. On the other hand, demand partners can receive live rates and availability which will improve their ability to compete in the market,” said Marco Bacchilega, the founder and CEO of RateDock.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts names new senior director for marketing and loyalty in APAC

Singapore – Global hotel chain Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has named a new senior director for its Marketing & Loyalty in the Asia Pacific region, its very own Lynn Poh

Prior to the role, Poh was the hotel chain’s director for Marketing & Loyalty in the Southeast Asia and the Pacific region. Following the elevation, Poh will be leading and managing all aspects of Wyndham’s loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards, in APAC including overall brand marketing, e-commerce and PR activities. 

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Poh said that for the new role, she will be focusing on integrating the marketing and loyalty teams in APAC and developing strategic marketing and loyalty campaigns that will support the needs of its hotels across the region.

She further shared that the hospitality giant’s APAC strategy will be focused on driving integrated campaigns with a sub-regional approach. This includes strategic marketing and digital and social media initiatives across various markets to drive engagement and awareness for Wyndham Rewards. To bolster loyalty from existing members, Poh shared that Wyndham will be launching loyalty based offers including ‘member appreciation months’ offering bonus points with bookings, as well as the fast-tracking of member levels through the reduction of qualified number of nights to gain new status amid softened travel in the new normal. 

Poh comments on the appointment, “I am excited to be leading the marketing and loyalty strategy for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in our newly integrated Asia Pacific division and I am looking forward to creating dynamic multi-channel campaigns that drive customer engagement and satisfaction.”

Poh reports into Rex Loh, the vice president for Commercial in APAC

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is one of the biggest hospitality chains in the world with brands across upscale, midscale, and value segments. The APAC leg currently comprises over 1,500 hotels, and within the running quarter of the year alone, the region has announced new additions to its portfolio with a new property in India state Gujarat, and inaugural entries in Nepal and Cambodia.