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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.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Grab, Marriott ink wide-ranging agreement to give customers enhanced hospitality experience

Singapore – Super app Grab and Marriott International, Inc. has today announced a wide-ranging strategic partnership that will see both companies integrating their offerings to bring premium hospitality experience into the hands of consumers in Southeast Asia. This will the global hotel brand’s first extensive integration with a super app platform in Southeast Asia, as well as Grab’s most comprehensive agreement with a hospitality group to date.

Under the terms of the parties Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Marriott International will integrate into Grab’s platform in phases across food delivery, payment, transport, loyalty, and rewards, as well as advertising. Marriott International will also have access to Grab’s sizable customer base via GrabFood, GrabPay, and GrabAds, enabling them to serve a growing pool of customers who are increasingly transacting online. 

Meanwhile on Grab’s side, GrabFood will feature approximately 600 restaurants and bars from Marriott International’s portfolio in six different Southeast Asian markets. In addition, customers will be able to conveniently pay for their dining experiences through GrabPay at selected Marriott International hotels. Customers will earn GrabRewards points for all transactions on the Grab platform, which can be converted to Marriott Bonvoy points and vice versa.

Marriott Bonvoy is the travel program of Marriott International that encompasses the company’s global portfolio of 30 hotel brands and premium home rental offerings, Homes and Villas by Marriott International. Once in place, Grab customers will be able to redeem their converted points for exclusive member benefits at over 7,400 hotels and resorts in 135 countries and territories.

APAC President of Marriott International Rajeev Menon said the collaboration is one way we the company is designing a more seamless travel experience by leveraging the expertise of a super app in the region 

“Marriott International is constantly looking for ways to innovate and bring value to travelers and Marriott Bonvoy members as part of our partnership strategy,” said Menon.

Meanwhile, Group Managing Director for Operations at Grab Russell Cohen commented, “We are excited to partner with a world-renowned hospitality group like Marriott International that is at the forefront of delivering customer-first hospitality experiences. The breadth of our collaboration reflects our value as a platform of choice in supporting global brands on their digitalization journey in the new normal, and in particular, represents a milestone for our fast-growing GrabAds business.”

Other initiatives within the partnership include:

  • GrabPay: Piloting in Q1 2021, first in Singapore, travelers will be able to make cashless payments through GrabPay at participating Marriott International hotels. F&B outlets that accept GrabPay can soon also access Grab’s Merchant Discovery feature to notify guests in the vicinity of participating hotels about ongoing promotions and events. This will help businesses increase sales, grow customer loyalty, and drive more foot traffic to physical outlets. 
  • GrabAds: Grab and Marriott International will jointly create impactful marketing campaigns that are relevant and personalized to customers. With GrabAds’ solutions, Marriott International can connect with customers in a targeted way through audience data, integrated marketing communications across touchpoints, and track campaign performance in real-time. 
  • GrabRewards: Starting in Q1 2021, Grab customers and Marriott Bonvoy members will be able to enjoy two-way points transfer. This will allow consumers to convert GrabRewards points to Marriott Bonvoy points and vice versa, enjoying flexibility and benefits on GrabRewards, Southeast Asia’s largest rewards platform by users, with nearly 800 merchants. 

Both companies will also launch more loyalty initiatives in the coming months, including dining rewards at Marriott’s F&B outlets. 

The strategic partnership will begin in Singapore in November 2020, with Marriott International and Grab to roll out more products and services across Southeast Asia in multiple phases.

 

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Technology Featured East Asia

India’s hospitality tech firm ViralOps pilots new tool at JW Marriott New Delhi AeroCity

Haryana, India – ViralOps, a global hospitality tech company has recently worked with JW Marriot Hotel New Delhi Aerocity to understand the grassroots level of operational concerns while on lockdown. 

ViralOps pilot-tested its utility tool Vserve Pro-Techt , a one of its kind “Contactless + Efficiency” Tool that digitizes every touchpoint including F&B, spa, housekeeping, and transportation services.

In a press release by ViralOps, the company said that Vserve Pro-Techt is only one-fifth of the cost of such a utility tool.  

After a rigorous certification process, Vserve Pro-Techt got its first approval from Marriott International hotels across Asia-Pacific. With more than 50 hotels being onboarded, ViralOps is still in the process of receiving numerous implementation requests from various hotels in the region.  

They are now servicing branded hotels in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and Maldives.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Klook’s food, travel offerings can now not only be read, but also watched through new feature Klook Live!

Hong Kong – Travel and leisure booking platform Klook officially unveils the newest feature on its app, an interactive livestream called Klook Live!.

While users on Klook have only been enticed of new food and travel offerings via images and text on the app, users will now be able to view up-close the offerings through interactive and instant video content on Klook Live!. 

The feature has been formally launched in August in five APAC markets Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines.

During this period, Klook released a series of hyper-localized content on Klook Live!, featuring offerings from food and dining to hotel staycation packages, where the five markets have reported a 4 times average uplift in conversion rates. This is compared to in-app conversion rates on an average day.

According to the brand’s data, in Thailand, a staycation surprise deal has been sold out in just eight minutes, while in Singapore, two out of three staycation bookings made within 24 hours were direct conversions as a result of the livestream. Both countries also experienced about a two times uplift in revenue compared to an average day. 

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, a number of food and dining exclusive deals were snapped up in less than five minutes. 

With the new feature, the brand aims to introduce traveltainment, to which it refers to as a new form of immersive content that elevates users’ ways of discovering and booking both local and overseas hospitality offerings.

“The pandemic has made users even more critical and discerning when making a purchase. With Klook Live!, we enable users to gain a more authentic look at our offerings, as well as directly ask questions in real-time before buying,” said Marcus Yong, vice president of APAC marketing

“Our early success demonstrates that users are increasingly demanding a new way to discover things-to-do, starting from their backyard. It also signals that users prefer a more entertaining, social, and personalized customer experience,” added Yong. 

During the livestream on Klook Live!, customers can interact directly with merchants, express their feelings through emoji and polls, redeem exclusive promo codes and check-out; all while watching a live episode.

According to the company, Klook Live! is designed to cater to the region’s growing demand for online video content on mobile devices. It refers to a study by digital research brand eMarketer, that over 1.2 billion Asia-Pacific users consume video content on their mobile devices in 2019, and that this is expected to increase by over 75% to 1.6 billion by 2023. 

The company also looks to leverage the forecast that video content is expected to be a norm post-pandemic as people consume more video content. According to a study by market research firm Globalwebindex, Gen Z respondents said that they expect their increased levels of consumption of social media, videos, and streaming services to continue even after the outbreak. 

On the merchant side, Klook is confident that the new feature will aid vendors in targeting their audience reach which has proven trickier amid the pandemic. 

“With international travel restrictions in place, merchants require creative platforms to showcase their offerings to local audiences and encourage them to support local businesses that depend on tourism. With Klook Live!, merchants of all sizes can bridge that gap and build stronger connections with local users, boosting brand awareness and sales,” the company said in a press statement.

In the coming weeks, Klook Live! will be rolling out more content and products, including episodic programs to unveil a new local carnival in Taiwan and indoor recreational parks in Malaysia among others

Klook Live! can be accessed by downloading the Klook app on Google Play or the App Store. 

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

AirAsia partners with local hotels in Philippines to offer promo deals on new platform SNAP

Manila, Philippines – In its efforts to boost domestic tourism in the Philippines, AirAsia has partnered with local hotels in the country to launch SNAP, a new flight and hotel platform on airasia.com which offers convenient fly and stay packages.  

The airline will be offering an introductory SNAP promotion of up to 50% off on flights when consumers book a flight and hotel via the platform. This special promotional fare will be available on airasia.com from 21 to 27 September 2020, for travel from 21 September 2020 to 25 March 2021.

The airline assures in its press statement that it will be complying with advice and regulations from the local government, civil aviation authorities,  and global and local health agencies, including the World Health Organization. 

The company said that guests can expect enhanced safety measures throughout the entire journey, including pre-flight, in-flight, and arrival processes. These include the mandatory wearing of face masks to be permitted to travel, among others. Guests will also be advised to check and comply with measures implemented by local airport authorities for a smooth travel experience.

AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla said, “We are pleased to launch SNAP in the Philippines to be able to provide new and affordable offerings on airasia.com, especially for business travelers and those planning for their future getaways once leisure travel is permitted.”

Isla added, “Aside from developing airasia.com as Asia’s fastest-growing super app, this initiative has opened up opportunities to work with partner hotels, as we start to recover from the effects of the pandemic which have devastated the travel and tourism industry. We look forward to forming more partnerships with more hotels in the future.”

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Singapore Tourism Board, Klook launch S$2m domestic marketing partnership

Singapore – The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and travel booking platform Klook have teamed up to launch a S$2 million domestic marketing partnership to drive the rediscovery of Singapore’s tourism and lifestyle offerings. The partnership is under the SingapoRediscovers campaign, and is inked to last seven months-long starting this September.

SingapoRediscovers is a recently launched campaign, spearheaded by agencies Enterprise Singapore (ESG), Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC), and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to support the local lifestyle and tourism business in Singapore and encourage locals to explore different sides of the country. A total of S$45 million has been set aside for the campaign and its supporting marketing initiatives. 

The partnership with Klook will have three focus areas: curated promotions for products and experiences, content development, and digital marketing to boost spend.

Under the partnership, businesses – ranging from hotels and attractions to tour operators and dining establishments – will be encouraged to develop new products and experiences. The aim is to inspire locals and encourage them to explore precincts such as Orchard Road, Chinatown, Civic District, and Katong-Joo Chiat. 

These new products and experiences will also be curated into special bundles with attractive offers to appeal to different interest groups such as foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, and value seekers.  

An example would be pairing a stay at Mandarin Orchard Singapore with an Art Jam session in Orchard Road, or complementing a stay at Hotel Mono in Chinatown with a journey on Trishaw Uncle Guided Tours.

To encourage further exploration around the country, STB and Klook will collaborate on digital marketing efforts, where the parties look to create authentic stories through Klook’s pool of key content partners and opinion leaders. Digital content such as video reviews and livestreams will cast a spotlight on hidden gems and value-for-money promotions, as well as raise the profile of various home-grown businesses around Singapore.

Both parties will also co-invest in other digital marketing initiatives, such as search engine marketing, display, and social media advertising, to widen the reach and searchability of the various promotions and offerings under the campaign.

STB Assistant Chief Executive for Marketing Lynette Pang commented, “Through SingapoRediscovers, we encourage locals to explore Singapore, experience our vibrant tourism and lifestyle offerings, and support home-grown businesses. Klook shares the same aim. We look forward to leveraging their digital marketing capabilities and extensive network of partners to amplify our efforts, as well as encouraging their users to support curated local experiences, quality promotions, and content in the coming months.”

Meanwhile, Marcus Yong, vice president of marketing in Klook for APAC said, “Klook is excited to partner with STB and to be part of SingapoRediscovers. Our mission has always been to empower consumers to experience the best of a destination and through this partnership, we hope to bring back a sense of joy and adventure as locals explore their own backyard.”