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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Centara Hotels & Resorts ties with Thai Vietjet Air to offer travel rewards, discounts

Bangkok, Thailand – Thailand’s hotel operator, Centara Hotels & Resorts, has partnered with airline Thai Vietjet Air, to bolster its growing airline partnership network, which already includes Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines.

The new marketing partnership offers Thai Vietjet Air passengers a great way to travel, with an exclusive 19% off the lowest publicly available online rates at all participating Centara Hotels & Resorts. 

Travellers have a choice of 13 beach and urban destinations across Thailand, including Phuket, Krabi, Samui, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Trat, Koh Chang, and Udon Thani, as well as Hat Yai, and Bangkok, amongst others. Guests can also enjoy a tropical escape to an overwater villa in the Maldives or take a family holiday at a themed resort with water parks and playgrounds park in Dubai or Southern Vietnam, as well as a choice of staying at participating hotels in Qatar Oman and Sri Lanka.

Moreover, under the Centara and Thai Vietjet Air promotion, guests will receive over 19% discount when logged in as a CentaraThe1 member. This is lower than any publicly available rate and exclusive to airline customers. Travellers who are not yet members of Centara’s loyalty programme can sign up for free in less than a minute, and immediately start enjoying benefits and earning points.

Tom Thrussell, Centara Hotels & Resorts’ vice president of brand, marketing, and digital, commented that as more passengers return to the air, they are excited to partner with Thai Vietjet to welcome travellers back to Centara, The Place to Be.

“With six distinct brands ranging from luxury beachfront retreats to family resorts and affordable lifestyle hotels, we are able to meet and exceed the needs of travellers of every age and lifestyle, and we are delighted to offer exciting benefits to Thai Vietjet’s customers through their communications network,” said Thrussell.

Meanwhile, Pinyot Pibulsonggram, director of commercial at Thai Vietjet Air, said, “With the uplifting of travel restrictions in many countries, Thai Vietjet is more than ready to welcome our passengers back to the skies, with the latest establishment of the partnership with Centara, offering extra benefits and special deals exclusively for Thai Vietjet’s passengers to travel and discover the ultimate beauty of various destinations in the region.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Insurtech EasyCompare launches reward scheme ‘EasyRewards’

Bangkok, Thailand – Thailand-based digital car insurance broker EasyCompare has launched a new reward scheme, EasyRewards, which offers lifestyle rewards worth up to THB9,390 (about $273) to motorists who buy or renew their car insurance with the service.

The rewards scheme is aimed at attracting new business as well as retaining existing customers, and with this, the Bangkok-based broker eyes to partner with leading car insurance brands in Thailand. 

Alisa Apaivongse, country head of EasyCompare, said, “The incentives we are offering will really help take our business to a whole new level. Customers can be excited that they’ll get a chance to receive benefits such as first-class round-the-clock health care, emergency home repair services and 24/7 car repair and assistance. Not only that, but our customers can continue to enjoy these benefits for as long as they’re insured through us. These are really added value for anyone buying car insurance from us and we’re very happy to be able to offer rewards that will make life easier for our customers.”

Having been in operation for five years, the insurance firm said it is keen to further leverage its success within the market, particularly at a time when Thailand’s digital business is seeing rapid transformation, in part due to the pandemic.

The new reward scheme will provide ‘unbeatable incentives’ for new and existing customers who will be given a choice of benefits worth up to THB9,390 (about $273) from the lifestyle categories of health, motoring, and home.

The firm also said that it will soon move towards digitising its online purchase process, kicking off with the launch of a full online quote and buy journey for a small number of its insurance partners before eventually rolling it out for all policies.

Apaivongse believes this smooth quote and buy process together with cheaper premiums, first-class customer service and the launch of their customer incentives package will appeal to Thailand’s motorists who are keen to get better value car insurance.

“When we launched five years ago our aim was to lead the way and shake up the Thai insurance industry, giving motorists a better deal all round. And today we can proudly say that we’re achieving that goal,” said Apaivongse. 

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

AirAsia’s rewards program to now be integrated into its super app

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – BIG Rewards, AirAsia’s lifestyle rewards program, will now be integrated into the airasia Super App family; to now be called airasia rewards. It would be recalled that the rewards program even underwent a rebranding at the start of 2020, coming from previous name, ‘BIGLIFE’.

The brand new move will merge all features from the previous BIG Rewards app to be available within the airasia Super App. Users can now expect a more seamless app experience, now eliminating the need to have two separate apps for earning and spending their reward points.

With the new integration, all user details and remaining points will be merged into the Super App and be renamed as airasia points. The loyalty rewards points will now be the digital loyalty currency that can be used throughout the entire Super App ecosystem. 

Amanda Woo, CEO of airasia Super App, said that the airasia Super App has now become a way of life, and its enhancement is in line with the airline’s core value of providing value and best deals to flight passengers and everyday app users.

“We are proud to see a phenomenal growth of airasia Super App in recent years since its launch in October 2020. With our digital businesses that include nearly 20 travel, delivery, and lifestyle offerings, we have successfully transformed into a data and tech-driven company, even being recognized as one of the three ASEAN Unicorns based in Malaysia by a Credit Suisse report,” said Woo.

She adds, “[It’s] not just for users; the addition of airasia rewards will spark new and exciting collaboration opportunities with our flight and hotel partners, merchants, and even riders. In return, our app users will benefit greatly from better deals and different ways to redeem their airasia points.”

Ong Wai Fong, chief loyalty officer, shared that the app integration has 3-pronged benefits for members, partners, and businesses. 

“Members will be able to enjoy more deals and promos in the Super App, while conveniently earning airasia points for every transaction and using points to pay for their orders. Partners, on the other hand, will have wider access to the millions of Super App users to boost sales and grow their businesses with us. These in return will enhance our data and help us design better products to increase member stickiness and transform it into enduring customer loyalty,” shared Ong Wai Fong.

To celebrate the integration, from 16 to 20 December 2021, airasia rewards is giving app users up to 20X airasia points for every purchase they make on the airasia Super App. App users who book or purchase flights, hotels, SNAP, food, grocery, and duty-free items using their airasia points will be able to enjoy a special redemption promotion of 50 points to RM1, whose normal rate is 125 points to RM1, during the promo period as well. 

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Shopee kicks off first regional ‘mega sale’ of the year

Singapore – Shopee has announced the platform’s first-ever ‘mega sale’ this year, the ‘4.4 Mega Shopping Day’ across Southeast Asia and Taiwan, as part of the company’s build-up of annual platform events.

To cater to the growing interest for late-night shopping, especially during shopping festivals, the finale of 4.4 Mega Shopping Day on 4 April will feature a 2-hour Midnight Mega Sale with deals on thousands of products. Users can also tune in to the Shopee app every day till 4 April for special in-app entertainment, as well as bigger and better deals from the largest array of sellers and brands.

“The Shopee 4.4 Mega Shopping Day is another first for Shopee and the industry, as we bring the excitement of the year-end shopping festivals earlier into the year. Building on the success of our 9.9 Super Shopping Day, which we pioneered in 2016, we have worked closely with our brands and sellers to bring our users even more joy and value throughout the year,” said Chris Feng, chief executive officer at Shopee.

Part of the entertainment in the 4.4. Mega Shopping Day is a live performance from K-pop girl group Mamamoo, who is also the event’s regional celebrity. They will be presenting their top hits such as ‘Mr. Ambiguous’, ‘Starry Night’ and ‘HIP’ exclusively on Shopee Live, on 4 April. Shopee users can also stand a chance to win exclusive Mamamoo autographed albums.

“We are also thrilled to have Mamamoo join us to deliver a spectacular performance on Shopee Live as part of our 4.4 celebrations, so that our shoppers can enjoy the best entertainment, deals, and rewards,” Feng added.

Shopee’s mega event will feature exclusive deals such as ‘Midnight Mega Sale’; where shoppers can enjoy products from 12AM to 2AM on 4 April, as well as enhanced loyalty programs where shoppers can earn special vouchers and rewards via the new in-app loyalty program Shopee Loyalty every month.

In addition, Shopee will also introduce more features during the mega sale, including co-streaming with platform merchants on Shopee Live, earning rewards through in-app games like Shopee Farm and Shopee Bubble, and programs on Shopee TV and respective TV programs in the region to enjoy market-targeted rewards and deals.

“4.4 Mega Shopping Day is packed with an exciting range of promotions and entertainment specially designed for Shopee users. I look forward to an amazing first 4.4 Mega Shopping Day as we celebrate another milestone with everyone in the region,” Feng concluded.

‘4.4. Mega Shopping Day’ will also feature new merchants on the platform, including K-beauty brand Sulwhasoo, who will be holding their first regional Super Brand Day with special deals, gift boxes, and brand samples. Premium Japanese beauty brand Shiseido will also be officially launching on Shopee, offering deals and their limited edition beauty set.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Loyalty platform Giift launches new marketing tool for customer engagement

Singapore – Global rewards management platform Giift has announced the launch of Giift Engage, a marketing tool that helps drive customer experience through reward-based offers.

Giift Engage allows companies to promote themselves to customers through points-based promotions like enabling mile points or an egift card program in the form of personalized digital customer experiences, games, and more across multiple communication channels. 

With more than 50,000 program affiliates collectively built into the platform with industries spanning from banking to hospitality, Giift Engage can be used by companies for a wide range of client activities across acquisition, lead generation, portfolio usage, digital adoption, among others. Moreover, Giift Engage will be used internally as well, for instance, to incentivize staff for activities and outcomes, productivity, project completion, collaboration.

“Loyalty is a consequence of sustained and relevant engagement between a brand and its customers. Most of the time, programs fail due to their inability to engage meaningfully with their customer base. Giift Engage seeks to address that without brands having to go through a stressful implementation exercise and in a more cost-efficient manner,” said Pascal Xatart, co-founder and director for Giift.

Giift operates within the APAC region, with offices in Singapore and Jakarta.

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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Loyalty solution Ascenda kickstarts new meta-aggregation engine for merchant offers

Singapore – Ascenda, a loyalty solutions company, has launched OffersHub, a meta-aggregation and personalization engine that allows merchants to personalize their offers and loyalty programs for their customers.

Primarily targeted to banks and other digital payment platforms, the recent product launch aims to allow these merchants create customer connections through their reward values.

“Our proposition delivers a rich pool of personalized offers with sustainable funding mechanisms – all delivered in a turnkey solution. The unique meta-aggregation engine at the heart of OffersHub enables our enterprise clients to tap into deal content across multiple sources, so they can provide the most compelling proposition to their customers and capture the greatest return of investment (ROI) on their marketing investments,” Mark Mullinix, head of strategy & partnerships at Ascenda stated.

Included within Ascenda’s offering are streamlines for various gateways of reward programs such as card-linked offers, coupons, e-commerce affiliate rewards, and discounted gift card purchases. A hyper localized approach is also offered to predict relevance factors such as demographics and geo-location.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

#MARKETECHMondays: Prashant Kala, Country Manager, ShopBack Philippines

Before joining rewards and discounts platform ShopBack in the Philippines, Prashant was with the Philippine arm of India-grown restaurant aggregator Zomato for five years. 

What made him do the big shift? In Prashant’s words, he said he wanted to do something “different than what he was used to working on.” Having always been on the B2B side of things, he was looking for a project that will make him work on both B2B and B2C and stumbling upon Shopback, the opportunity on the platform gave him the challenge of not just building its partners but growing its users as well. 

Now the country manager of ShopBack, we sat down with Prashant to know more about his humble beginnings and the journey he took before becoming the head of one of the leading shopping platforms in the region.

First foray into marketing

Fresh out of a master’s degree, Prashant didn’t veer away too far from roots, and in fact, had his very first job right in the university he graduated in, as an assistant manager for sales and marketing in the Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (IILM) – Institute for Higher Education in Delhi, India.

Working with students as a target segment, he shared that the type of marketing the role had him doing was not in the likes of big advertising projects, but rather, more personalized.

“I was handling marketing for the college across North India and a couple of international markets. The whole focus was to attract a huge student pool to apply for our courses and finally assisting them with their admissions and courses,” he said in the #MARKETECHMondays interview.

“It was more about talking to people, [more about] community building; It was a lot about knowing exactly what people are looking at, [and more] of career development.”

On Mentorship: “Everybody has taught me something.”

When asked about his role models, Prashant struggled to name one particular person and said that he’s the type who seeks inspiration from every person he meets.

“Professionally, I have had a chance to work with some amazing people over the years and I would say everyone that I meet has been able to make me learn something new. I don’t really have one mentor for all aspects of my professional development but I seek advice and guidance from multiple role models in my life.”

That is at least, professionally. But when it comes to his personal values, he didn’t have to think hard and said he owed his good ethics to his parents and uncles.

“In terms of personal growth, I think my parents and my uncles have always been the biggest source of inspiration in my life. I have learned the value of hard work and most importantly, I have learned the value of how to be true to people who expect your feedback and suggestions in life no matter how harsh the truth is from my father and my uncles.”

“I’m still waiting for the greatest career success.”

It would be naive to say that with Prashant’s experience, he still hasn’t claimed success, but for him, there is still a greatness ahead that’s yet to be tapped.

“I really hope I find it later in life and not very soon as I really want to keep getting that rush of trying to get smaller successes, and I want to keep dreaming of [greater success]. I think that thought drives me every morning so I wouldn’t want to achieve it that fast.”

Of course with successes also come the failures. And still within the context of “great,” he believes there is no such thing.

“I won’t call any failure a great failure [as] every failure comes in with disappointments, and I don’t think we can categorize something [as great].”

“Instead of failures, I would say I had many challenges where I was unable to find a solution quicker which would have been ideal.”

Making that more specific, he said that the most critical setbacks were when good people leave your team.

“I have lost a few teammates in the past and that always sets your plan a few feet back but I think every situation teaches you something new, but one takeaway that one such setback gave me was to have a plan B but not to rely on it and give plan A 100%.”

He added, “Also plan B cannot be a totally different plan from A and they both have to be interconnected, else you are going to start from scratch which will push you to take a lot of reverse steps.”

Prashant’s words to live by: “Be a best friend to yourself.”

For Prashant, the secret to success need not be too far away from oneself, and the key is to be your own best friend, an honest and frank one at that.

“Keep it real, no matter how difficult it is, and be your best friend so you can talk real with yourself.”

“Best friends don’t shy away from telling you harsh truths. As a team lead, I try to be as real as possible with my teammates, clients and even [the] people around me. I don’t shy away in giving or taking feedback and I try to keep it timely, as well as even [to] myself.”

How about for those who are eyeing to enter the world of marketing?

Prashant said, “Read a lot, follow great brands and their campaigns, [and] take risks but always calculate what you want to achieve out of it. Always have the eye on the goal and do backward mapping, or back designing to achieve it.”

Watch the full video of this interview on our YouTube channel, going live today at 5:30 pm PST.

If you’re a marketing leader and you want to share your career experience to inspire the marketing industry, please reach out, we want to hear your story.

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Platforms Featured ANZ

Australia’s Cashrewards appoints former Woolworths Supermarkets General Manager as CMO

Australia – Rewards platform Cashrewards has appointed Steve Cuda, former general manager for digital, media, and data of Woolworths Supermarkets’ eCommerce and customer loyalty division WooliesX, as its newest Chief Product and Marketing Officer.

The company said that Cuda joins Cashrewards at a time when it is experiencing a significant increase in both membership and engagement as more customers turn to online options to save money.

The platform mainly offers cashback for every customers’ purchase on a broad range of products from tech, health and beauty, alcohol, and sports as well as items on different marketplaces such as Target and eBay.

Cuda started in the Bella Vista-headquartered parent company Woolworths in 2015. Two years after, he was moved to WooliesX where he spearheaded Woolworths’ digital media capabilities, where he introduced data-driven personalization.

Cuda was responsible for Woolworths’ marketing technology capabilities that underpin the company’s personalized omnichannel customer experiences as well as launching numerous products such as the In-Store Rewards Hub, the Everyday Rewards App, and the successful integration of Woolworths’ loyalty card into Apple Wallet.

Cuda also presided over the growth of the company’s loyalty program Everyday Rewards, making it one of the country’s largest, with more than 12 million members.

Prior to joining Woolworths, Cuda was head of membership and marketing at insurance company NRMA.

Cashrewards’ CEO Bernard Wilson said the company’s ability to attract an executive of Cuda’s caliber was a testament to Cashrewards’ progress to date.

“Steve’s proven track record across loyalty, digital marketing and retail is first-class. He has played an instrumental role in establishing a world-class digital and data division at Woolworths to drive extraordinary customer and supplier outcomes along with business growth across both physical and digital banners. Steve has a truly unique mix of marketing acumen, product leadership, and people management skills. He is, without doubt, the perfect person to lead our product and marketing team, and will have an enormous contribution to our business,” said Wilson.

Meanwhile, as he joins the company, Cuda thinks that Cashrewards’ consumer proposition is both compelling and simple, in that it gives people a very easy way to save money with no strings attached.

“From a retailer’s perspective, Cashrewards brings additional sales and customers who are highly engaged because of their experience with Cashrewards. I know the value of a business that can support a genuine three-way win for consumers, brands, and the business itself. Cashrewards is such an opportunity, and I am delighted to join the growing team to continue the positive momentum,” he said.