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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Trip.com’s new social campaign celebrates travel in a snap

Singapore – Travel service provider Trip.com has launched a new interactive social campaign called ‘Just Like That’, which leverages the latest traveller preferences and insights to make it easier than ever for consumers to meet loved ones abroad and explore the world again as borders reopen and restrictions ease.

With many COVID-related travel constraints removed, Trip.com continues its journey to make reconnection and rediscovery a snap – especially with many avid travellers already setting out for their next adventure and exploring global destinations ‘Just Like That’.

As part of Trip.com’s first social campaign in Southeast Asia post-pandemic, the innovative travel service provider is collaborating with over 100 KOLs in markets across Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia to storytell the emotional aspects of travel, such as reconnecting with loved ones as well as showcasing the ease of using Trip.com for travel bookings. 

The KOLs include @adirasalahudi, @syarif.ig, @widsawaphatiew. The campaign will demonstrate how simple it is to book a fulfilling travel experience that fits each consumer’s needs, be it planning a romantic honeymoon in the Maldives, having an inspiring off-site meeting in Bali, or a culinary trip in Tokyo.

In addition, Trip.com will be running a #MyTripJustLikeThat giveaway on social media from now to 20 November 2022. Trip.com users from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand stand to win prizes worth up to S$1,200, MYR 4,200 and THB 35,000 respectively, including Trip coins, hotel vouchers, tickets and more.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Booking.com adds Klook to its attraction partner roster

Singapore – Digital travel agency Booking.com has announced a long-term strategic partnership with Klook, a travel and leisure e-commerce platform, to enable travellers to access Klook attractions directly on Booking.com.

The new global partnership will connect travellers on the go with seamless access to an even greater range of attractions and things to do, all instantly bookable on Booking.com. 

Booking.com said that Klook is the latest attractions partner to integrate with the platform. Klook experiences are now live in over 175 cities, across over 30 markets on Booking.com, and the majority of these are available in Asia and Oceania.

Matthias Schmid, SVP for the trips division at Booking.com, shared that this year was an important year for travel, as borders are opening up, restrictions are easing, and travellers are once again travelling – and showing more enthusiasm and vigour than ever before.

“What a time to be partnering with Klook, a well-known, highly respected household name for travel and experiences, particularly in the Asia Pacific, where this new partnership will significantly increase our coverage and offering within the region. We’re very excited about this collaboration and all the new attractions and experiences we can now provide,” said Schmid.

Meanwhile, Wilfred Fan, chief commercial officer at Klook, commented that they are delighted to partner with Booking.com, connecting their user base to the amazing and unique experiences that the Asia Pacific region has to offer. 

“Cross-border travel in the Asia Pacific is just taking off, and this partnership will enable our merchants to reach an even larger customer demographic globally and accelerate travel recovery in the region,” said Fan.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Digital travel agency Booking.com leads travel brand rankings in Singapore: report

Singapore – Online travel agency Booking.com was revealed as the best-perceived travel brand amongst responsible travellers in Singapore with 21.3 scores, according to market research company YouGov.

The report also found that the fellow travel booking platforms Agoda with 18.7 scores, Expedia with 17.6 scores, and Klook with 17.6 scores were closely behind the top spot.

Meanwhile, hospitality companies Shangri-La and Marriott ranked fifth and sixth, with consideration scores of 17.0 and 15.3 respectively. This was followed by online travel agency Trip.com with 14.2 scores, accommodation booking platform Hotels.com with 14.0 scores, and Airbnb with 13.5 scores. And lastly, the Luxury hotel Grand Hyatt rounded off the top ten with a consideration score of 12.8.

“The YouGov Travel Brand Rankings 2022 is aimed at understanding how travel brands differentiate in the eyes of responsible travellers – defined as those who self-identify as being wellness-focused, culturally minded, and caring about environmental impact. The rankings spotlight the brands that score higher in terms of consideration amongst this audience group, based on YouGov BrandIndex Consideration scores from July 2021 to June 2022,” said YouGov.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Booking.com launches second edition of ‘Booking Explorers’ campaign

Singapore – Online travel agency and reservations company Booking.com has launched the second edition of its ‘Booking Explorers’ campaign, where it features more inspiring travel stories from leading personalities across Asia-Pacific.

This year’s campaign features five new personalities from Australia, India, South Korea, Vietnam and Japan. They include Former MasterChef Australia grand finalist Simon Toohey, upcoming Bollywood actor and Mumbai native Shanaya Kapoor, multidisciplinary artist MY Q, nature-loving lifestyle personality Tran Quang Dai, and Japanese supermodel Ai Tominaga.

Through this year’s Explorers, Booking.com aims to continue to celebrate the relentless spirit of travel, and their desire to keep experiencing and exploring all things new and familiar, whether it’s in their own backyards or around their home countries. 

“However, as much of the world seeks to travel again, we also recognise the need for sustainability: from avoiding single-use plastic and making smart, responsible choices when choosing stays, to transforming how and where we travel to so that we minimise our impact on the destinations we visit; and hopefully leave our destinations better than when we first arrived,” the company said.

Laura Houldsworth, managing director for Asia-Pacific at Booking.com, said, “As the world returns to travel with great enthusiasm, we want to inspire travellers in Asia Pacific through the rich stories of our explorers. They are truly inspirational with their desire to keep exploring despite the challenges faced — and now they invite us to dig deeper into the sights and cultures of the countries they call home and the destinations we likely have yet to discover. I hope these stories stir travellers everywhere to open their hearts and minds to new experiences and put sustainability at the forefront of all they do.”

The first ‘Booking Explorers’ campaign was first launched in August 2021.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

Marriott Bonvoy brings travel campaign alive in its new anamorphic 3D installation in India

Mumbai, India – Marriott Bonvoy, a travel programme and marketplace under Marriott International, has brought its ‘Here’ campaign videos alive, with an immersive anamorphic installation at Cyber Hub, Gurugram, and Phoenix Mills (Palladium) in Mumbai until 26 September 2022. This installation was created by Inventech, a Laqshya Media Group company.

The ‘Here‘ campaign, which was created in collaboration with Singapore-based creative company, The Secret Little Agency, and was launched last August 2022, builds on Marriott Bonvoy‘s global tagline ‘Where Can We Take You’, with ‘Here’ as an expression for revelling the authentic, relatable little moments missed by travellers. These videos celebrate the power of travel with moments everyone can relate to; from trips to beach destinations or mountains, the local videos capture cities such as Chennai, Bengaluru, Mussoorie, Gurgaon, Kochi, and Goa.

Khushnooma Kapadia, Marriott International’s senior area director of marketing for South Asia, noted that as an organisation, they are constantly innovating to find new-age communication vehicles customised for an audience that has the appetite to consume narratives that appeal to their evolved sensibilities. 

“Our members are now eager to travel and get back on the road, and with this immersive activation, we want to help them discover all the places and experiences our hotels have to offer. This is an attempt to engage with our audience in a high-impact visible format with the travel content we have developed,” said Kapadia.

Meanwhile, Sommnath Sengupta, CEO of Inventech, a Laqshya Media Group company, shared that the 3D DOOH format is extremely dynamic and engaging, and it changes the relationship with the recipient as it is impossible to go by without noticing it, as well as it is changing the way people interact with advertisements – it’s futuristic. 

“With the right amalgamation of art, science, and technology, our super-skilled, experienced, passionate team has created this best-in-the-class user experience for Marriott Bonvoy TG. Our immersive content ideas and interactive storytelling solutions for our clients with cutting-edge, next-generation technology differentiate us from the others,” said Sengupta.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Klook inks MoU with Central Pattana to drive travel recovery in Thailand

Thailand – Klook, a travel and leisure e-commerce platform, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Central Pattana plc, Thailand’s retail-led mixed-use real estate developer and operator of central shopping centres, residential and office buildings, and hotels, to boost inbound tourism to Thailand.

The partnership, which begins in October 2022, seeks to leverage the strengths of Central Pattana’s leading retail presence, which encompasses over 37 shopping centres across Thailand’s most popular destinations, with 19 branches located in 15 provinces, both in major and secondary cities, and Klook‘s digital reach and global user base, to position Thailand as the destination-of-choice for travellers from key Asian markets, including Singapore, India, Malaysia, and Vietnam. 

Moreover, the partnership will also include a variety of digital marketing initiatives and online-to-offline (O2O) campaigns to increase the visibility of Thailand’s tourism businesses and exposure to international markets. Klook will also collaborate with Centara Hotels & Resorts, the Thailand-based hotel chain, to offer customers specially curated deals and seamless accommodation booking experiences.

Marcus Yong, Klook’s vice president of global marketing, commented that they are excited to be the first travel and leisure e-commerce platform to partner Central Pattana on an integrated marketing campaign to drive tourist arrivals and increase spending in Thailand.

He further shared that partnership enables them to tap into their respective strengths and innovate on offerings that combine travel and retail to help build travellers’ confidence and drive recovery.

“At Klook, we are ramping up to support and drive the next stage of travel recovery in Thailand, which will not only see tourists resuming their favourite pre-pandemic activities like eating local cuisines and shopping, but also branching out to discover more of what Thailand has to offer,” said Yong.

Meanwhile, Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, executive vice president of marketing at Central Pattana plc, noted this partnership will enable Central Pattana to leverage Klook’s digital capabilities, strong user base and presence in multiple markets to capture new audiences.

“We look forward to working closely with Klook to create joint offerings that will attract and help us welcome more tourists back to Thailand by launching exclusive promotions for foreign customers: get a free Starbucks e-Coupon worth 100 baht when spending 2,000 baht, a free Klook discount code worth 200 baht when spending 2,000 baht on shopping at Central Ayutthaya or 2,500 baht at centralwOrld and Central Phuket. Organising the ‘Pick Up & Drop Off One-Day Tour’ area for international tourists at both centralwOrld and Central Ayutthaya in addition to Klook Downtown Service Counter at centralwOrld, the first comprehensive tourism service in Bangkok,” said Tangpoonsinthana.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Changi Airport Group, Accenture extend partnership to bolster experience for travellers in Singapore

Singapore – Changi Airport Group has extended its partnership with global professional services Accenture for the next three years to further transform operations and enhance the experience for travellers visiting Changi Airport in Singapore. This partnership began in 2019 with the establishment of a digital factory, known as DIVA — for digital, innovation, ventures, and analytics — designed to enable CAG to develop, experiment and launch new digital products and services.

Through the extended partnership, the two organisations will be leveraging innovative technologies such as extended reality, machine learning, Internet of Things, and edge computing to enable Changi to seamlessly engage travellers at various touchpoints, from before they arrive at the airport to after they leave. There will also be knowledge and skills transfer to the CAG team.

Adopting a customer-centric approach based on rapid prototyping, both organisations will be jointly designing and rolling out new digital products across Changi, which includes a new loyalty platform that will enable customers to earn points for both spending and travelling, redeem loyalty points across channels in one place and provide more redemption choices, encouraging customers to stay engaged and connected. By integrating data from various sources, the platform will allow Changi to understand its customers better, as well as enable the company to provide them with highly personalised communications, experiences, and offers.

Moreover, Accenture will be implementing a centralised identity and access management solution to help improve data security and privacy. This will eliminate the need for customers to sign in through multiple accounts to access different applications.

Jean Hung, group senior vice president for Enterprise Digital Ecosystem & Business at CAG, shared that in this next phase of their digital transformation journey, how they deliver the unique Changi experience, whether offline or online, to their customers remains key. 

“Our vision is to build deeper relationships with our customers and strive to serve them even better through innovative and interactive digital solutions. We are happy to extend our collaboration with Accenture, who has proven to be a valuable partner with the ability to combine innovative design capabilities with technology and industry expertise,” said Hung.

Meanwhile, Wee Wei Ng, Accenture’s country managing director for Singapore, said they have been working closely with CAG to implement digital enhancements and infuse a culture of experimentation. 

“As the line between the physical and digital continues to blur, organisations have the opportunity to address issues like trust, sustainability, safety, responsible access and use, diversity and more, helping set the stage for the future. We see many new possibilities to bring even more immersive collaborative, personalised and meaningful experiences to CAG’s customers,” she added.

Divyesh Vithlani, senior managing director and SEA market unit lead at Accenture, commented, “We aim to leverage emerging technologies such as Web3 to help Changi connect its customers, partners and their workforce to give everyone greater choice and control over how they work, live, play and learn while building a greater sense of community and culture. Facilitating knowledge and skills transfer to Changi’s employees will also enable Changi to be more self-sufficient to achieve better business outcomes.”

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Marketing Featured APAC

Marriott Bonvoy invites travellers to celebrate return of travel via The Secret Little Agency

Singapore – Marriott Bonvoy, a travel programme and marketplace under Marriott International, has launched its new campaign to celebrate the return of travel in APAC. Titled ‘Here’, the campaign builds on Marriott Bonvoy‘s global tagline ‘Where Can We Take You’, with ‘Here’ as an expression for revelling the authentic, relatable little moments missed by travellers.

Created in collaboration with Singapore-based creative company, The Secret Little Agency, the films were shot across Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan. and New Zealand. The films celebrate the power of travel with moments that everyone can relate to, from trips with best friends to family vacations. The idea also extends to the key visuals, from wading through the muddy but scenic green rice terraces in Bali, to getting unexpectedly caught in the lively celebration of Holi in India.

Bart Buiring, Marriott International’s chief sales and marketing officer for APAC, shared that while travelling can be about fabulous bucket-list destinations and dining in world-class restaurants or local food at hawker stalls; they recognise that there are likely also unexpected, spontaneous, and perhaps some less-than-perfect but memorable moments.

“With our new Marriott Bonvoy campaign, we hope to inspire travellers to embark on their next Asian journey and thoroughly enjoy the return of travel. We want to remind them that the joy of travel is as much about unscripted and authentic moments as the picture-perfect ones. It’s all these little moments that make big memories and leave you craving for your next adventure,” said Buiring.

The campaign is available in both digital and out-of-home media across APAC. The film and visuals will also be prominently featured across several locations including at Seoul’s Gimpo Airport, Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya Metro Station, and Melbourne’s Central Station. Moreover, it will appear on select inflight entertainment and across digital and social channels.

Travellers are also invited to join the conversation and connect with one another by using #TravelMakesUs to share their travel moments on Instagram and TikTok.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Grab rolls out intercity travel feature in Malaysia and Singapore

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Super app Grab has launched a new feature called ‘Grab Intercity’ that allows users the ability to purchase affordable bus and ferry tickets on the Grab app. It also allows users to purchase direct bus routes to Singapore from Malaysia.

The addition of direct routes between Malaysia and Singapore represents the expansion of Grab Intercity to Grab users in Singapore. Users will be able to purchase bus tickets to over 30 destinations in Singapore from 11 different states and cities across Malaysia.

Routes between Malaysia and Singapore on Grab Intercity will be available for booking and purchase beginning 7th July 2022. In conjunction with the recent launch and expansion, users will also receive a 10% discount on all tickets booked through the service. 

To launch the service, Grab collaborated with Splyt and Easybook to adapt the service onto the platform, enabling users to book a ticket, pay with GrabPay and earn GrabRewards. 

Rashid Shukor, director of country operations and mobility at Grab Malaysia, said, “As a homegrown brand, we want to help Malaysians plan their travels conveniently and affordably with the use of technology. It’s only through collaboration with industry leaders across different sectors that we’re able to simplify routine errands such as planning for a holiday, making it even more seamless and rewarding at the same time.” 

He added, “Grab Intercity is no different. By growing our travel offerings, users can plan their holidays without the need for multiple apps or log-ins. We hope this enables a more convenient way for Malaysians to prepare for the upcoming Hari Raya Aidiladha too.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Transport Malaysia Datuk Seri Ir. Dr. Wee Ka Siong shared that by incorporating direct routes to and from Singapore, such efforts support the nation’s economic recovery by increasing channels for convenient travelling. 

“As travelling continues to be a key focus for many countries, facilitating the ease of cross border travels is even more vital than ever in helping the recovery efforts of our economy. Moreover, as borders continue to relax further all around the world, we foresee a further increase in travelling activity, both domestically and internationally,” Wee said.

He added, “This is why it is important for both private and public sectors to come together to play their part in contributing to economic growth in varied ways. With efforts such as this from Grab Malaysia, Malaysians and Singaporeans alike will not only have additional, convenient travelling options at their fingertips, but economies will be able to benefit too.”

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Main Feature Marketing Southeast Asia

Rebuilding tourism after the pandemic: How the travel industry in PH is crafting its marketing recovery plan

Travel and tourism marketing has taken a different turn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The major tourism industries have ceased activities in response to travel restrictions, which include the closing of airports, hotels, and travel agencies, as well as restrictions on mass gatherings worldwide, amongst others. This inevitably spills over to consumption behaviour where tourists have drastically shifted their lifestyles, coming to realise the risk and safety of the global health crisis.

Two years after the pandemic outbreak, travel restrictions and quarantines are now being lifted around the world. Many countries have started various marketing and promotional tourism campaigns to support travel recovery. For instance, the tourism marketing agencies of Maldives and Malaysia have recently announced their efforts in boosting inbound travel. Thailand has also launched many travel campaigns this year, like the recent partnership of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Thai AirAsia, jointly promoting travel to Thailand in key ASEAN and South Asian markets by utilising the airline’s increasing regional flight network.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the country’s Department of Tourism (DOT) has recently unveiled its new campaign called ‘It’s More Fun for All’, aimed at promoting inclusiveness and accessibility in the tourism sector. Moreover, DOT has launched a special playlist on Spotify, ‘Sounds More Fun in the Philippines’, which is a compilation of specially selected Filipino music that aims to welcome listeners back to the Philippine destinations they love, letting them relive epic travel memories. 

Another interesting campaign from DOT is the ‘ASMR Experience the Philippines‘ project, which seeks to bring people to certain destinations through ASMR videos that explore the natural sounds of a place, allowing one to tune into nature and be fully present in the moment.

As tourism in the Philippines has shown signs of bouncing back now that we are in the new normal, MARKETECH APAC’s The Inner State spoke with Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones, Tourism Promotions Board Philippines’ (TPB) chief operating officer, and June Allenie Caccam, AirAsia’s head of marketing for the Philippines, to learn more about the marketing and promotional efforts of the travel and tourism industry today in the country.

Marketing and brand strategy of the Philippines’ tourism sector

While the pandemic has given the travel industry some pressing challenges, it also presented unique opportunities. According to Velasco-Allones of TPB, physical events and out-of-home advertising, which were very strong avenues for MICE and business travel promotions in the Philippines, were rendered moot at the height of the pandemic. However, the lockdown became an opportunity for the destinations to recuperate and recover from over-tourism.

At the same time, the Philippines took this time to rebuild a greener and more sustainable tourism industry. This allowed them to revitalise the tourism products they were going to market as soon as borders reopened.

“We increased our support to community-based tourism sites, providing various assistance in terms of enhancing capacities, particularly retooling skills in areas like digital marketing and leveraging the use of social media. Coincidentally, the pandemic made more tourists aware of the carbon footprint they leave when travelling; they now prefer less crowded destinations and those that support local communities,” said Velasco-Allones. 

Meanwhile, for airlines, Caccam listed some of the challenges they faced during the outbreak. This includes questions on safety, the uncertainty of lockdowns, changing intercity travel protocols, and emerging new COVID-19 variants, as well as the expenses to travel due to testing protocols and quarantine requirements.

“Along with the challenges came opportunities because people were forced to learn to adapt to new technologies and be more present online. Most brands fast-tracked their digital pivot to address the changing customer habits,” said Caccam.

In terms of the influence and marketing strategy reorientation in reigniting travel, TPB has developed new avenues to reach its stakeholders in the digital space.

“The pandemic [also] allowed us to strengthen our domestic tourism program. We were able to promote lesser-known destinations, and, through intensive policy implementation on health and safety protocols, we were able to reopen particular destinations and curate more exclusive experiences,” said Velasco-Allones.

For AirAsia, Caccam said they had to go back to the drawing board and identify the new pain points of its customers and the additional steps needed to include in their booking and travel journey. The airline has maximised all its digital assets to push relevant content to alleviate customers’ uncertainty like disseminating information about the different travel requirements and reminding them of the travel protocols a few days before their flight. 

“We also leveraged on ‘collaborative tourism’ and strengthened our partnerships with different stakeholders in the tourism industry such as the Department of Tourism, local tours and restaurants, and hotel and resort partners,” she added.

As the pandemic-related travel restrictions are now being eased, there are factors the tourism sector considers when creating tourism campaigns during the new normal. For TPB, the imperatives in creating tourism campaigns post-pandemic are revisiting the new avenues where the audience consumes content, redirecting its efforts in building travel confidence, and making sure that its tourism products and services are both sustainable and inclusive for this discerning market of travellers. While for AirAsia, the campaigns are now more personalised based on the segment, destination, and travel behaviour.

Future of tourism in the Philippines

Technology in the tourism sector will primarily be adopted in its marketing and business engagement from the point of sale to the collection of feedback, according to TPB.

Velasco-Allones noted, “Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and the Metaverse are just new platforms by which we intend to engage our current and potential consumers. The unique virtual environments will allow for availment, enjoyment, and sharing of tourism experiences in a broader more visually immersive digital world.”

Meanwhile, Caccam shared, “These technologies such as AR/VR and meta verse are innovative and creative channels that can help brands acquire new customers, provide a wider reach and upsell new products by bringing to their homes the brand experience.”

And now that the Philippines’ borders are open to international tourists, the tourism sector is working continuously on improving the systems to ensure that visitors will have a seamless and still fun experience for the duration of their stay in the country. 

Velasco-Allones said, “One of our approaches is keeping our tourists up-to-date with the latest travel advisories and health requirements for local destinations through digital innovations. The TPB also continues to enhance its digital content development and distribution to make sure we are able to promote the Philippines on all relevant platforms.”

Caccam also shared, “AirAsia is a digital and lifestyle platform for everyone and we aim to be our customer’s everyday app. We are more than just an airline, we are a one-stop-shop for all your travel and lifestyle needs.”