MediAvataar's News Desk
The travel landscape has become much more complex over recent years. Today’s traveler is becoming increasingly demanding – they seek more choice, personalization, flexibility and connectivity than ever before. And it means that travel agents must constantly demonstrate the added value they offer as well as provide excellent customer service. So how should they go about it?
The typical traveler of 2016 – whether they travel for leisure or business – wants the ability to self-serve and manage their own bookings, which means that mobile technology and apps are becoming increasingly important. As such, one third of the bookings in major countries around the world are now coming from mobile devices and in app bookings took off last year, accounting for 35-40% of mobile bookings. This means that today’s travelers are super connected, including during their trip, with 46% valuing free in-room Wi-Fi as a must-have amenity. Before a trip, travelers tend to base their plans on online reviews and rankings and, after a trip, they will probably share their experience online, including on social media. A total of 42% of stories that were shared to Facebook users’ timelines in 2012 were travel experiences, making it the top story being shared by users . There are also currently a staggering 200+ million reviews written across the internet.
On the face of it, therefore, the travel agency could seem slightly redundant! Or perhaps not. It may seem increasingly difficult to pinpoint a unique selling point for your travel agency in the face of such overwhelming statistics, but travel agents can still add value for their customers by providing a ‘personal touch’. Something that should never be underestimated and will always be relevant. Great advice from an experienced and trusted agent can prove to be far more valuable than an anonymous comment on a travel review site. And this is why it’s so important for agencies to invest in their people.
When you combine this personal touch with the broadest possible choice in travel content and smart tools that empower agents to sell that content more effectively, it becomes a winning combination. It means an agent can recommend a flight at the right time, a hotel in the right spot with great amenities and the right ground transportation to get there. And it’s why Travelport continues to invest so heavily in providing that unrivaled content to its agency customers.
In addition, we’ve invested in our mobile offering to allow our customers to interact directly with travelers, which is becoming increasingly significant in this hyper connected world. Whether that’s the new MTT-powered mobile app for Etihad or Travelport ViewTrip, the mobile itinerary management tool accessible whilst on the move, we’re enabling our customers to remain relevant and add value in an increasingly complicated world. Additionally, Travelport has further invested in Locomote, which empowers companies to fully manage their business travel including bookings and changes, duty of care, authorization, budgets and expenses from any device, anywhere in the world. We have invested in these digital assets as part of our bid to service the fast-growing digital economy in the global travel industry.
Written by Paul Broughton, Managing Director for UK and Ireland at Travelport
Sources: Criteo  (Q2 2015) Criteo  TripAdvisor Insights 2016  Tnooz in Rezdy research 2016  TrustYou statistic in Rezdy research 2016
Spanning 14 markets, Amadeus Journey of Me Insights is the most comprehensive research on Asia Pacific (APAC) travellers to date India report reveals that 71% of Indian travellers would be open to sharing their personal information in return for a more personalised travel experience.
Asia is today the world’s largest travel market, yet the vast majority of its population has yet to travel beyond their borders. This makes the Asian traveller a force to be reckoned with – one that presents the greatest opportunity for the travel industry, but also many challenges. To move the industry towards a closer understanding of travellers in the region, Amadeus has launched Journey of Me Insights, an Asia Pacific traveller study spanning 14 markets.
Albert Pozo, President of Amadeus Asia Pacific said, “There is no traveller today quite as important as the Asia Pacific traveller. Yet the irony is that even as we talk about the ‘Asia Pacific traveller’ – it doesn’t exist. The diversity we see across nationalities, gender and generation in this region is astounding. More than that, our research has showed us that the preferences, behaviours and demands of travellers vary enormously from one country to another. The industry must come to grips with this. The one-size-fits-all approach is a thing of the past.”
As part of the Journey of Me Insights project, Amadeus today publishes a report on Indian travellers titled “Journey of Me Insights: What Indian travellers want”. From when and how Indian travellers plan and book their trips, to how and why they want to stay connected while travelling, to how frequently they use sharing economy services, and the types of new technologies they would be most interested in, the study takes a multi-faceted look at what Indian travellers want. The findings unveiled four themes for travel providers to focus on: The personalisation-privacy paradox – 64% of Asia Pacific travellers interviewed are open to sharing personal data for more relevant offers and personalised experiences. Somewhat more cautious, 71% of Indian travellers feel the same. For travel providers, the mandate is clear – personalisation must be carefully balanced against rising privacy concerns. They will need to respect and protect personal data and the need for privacy at all times. Above and beyond adhering to legislation, travel players must be able to articulate ‘what’s the value?’ to get travellers to share their data.
Get real: Recommendations they can trust – Travellers take their lead from other travellers. Inspiration is the doorway to opportunity for travel providers, but authenticity is the key to unlocking it. Rather than the glossy pictures of travel brochures or the carefully curated Instagram feeds of celebrities, Asia Pacific travellers seek what’s genuine, and turn to their fellow travellers for inspiration. When planning trips, Indian travellers are most influenced by word of mouth from friends, family and colleagues as well as online booking sites. These online booking and travel review sites were likewise voted most likely to have sent them relevant recommendations about travel.
The right content, through the right channel, at the right time – In the world of travel, every engagement point matters. Beyond personalisation, connecting with travellers in a timely and intuitive manner is equally important. While the vast majority of Indian travellers would be interested in receiving travel recommendations from the moment they consider a trip all the way up to while they are on the trip, travel players must consider carefully how to connect with them and with what content. 34% of Indian travellers prefer to receive updates and recommendations about their trip through e-mail, with only 9% happy to be contacted via phone call. Recommendations that help ensure personal safety was the top choice for Indian travellers (33%), while itinerary tips were less popular (19%).
There are many Asias within Asia – The most dominant observation from Journey of Me Insights is that there is no consistent profile for the Asia Pacific traveller. Stark contrasts in behaviours, needs and preferences were observed across all geographic and demographic lines. For example, while 66% of Chinese travellers do most of their trip booking on mobile, only 55% of Indian travellers do so. Separately, while 70% of Japanese travellers have never used a sharing economy service for trip accommodation, almost half of all Indian travellers say they do so ‘often’ and ‘very often’. And while 73% of Indian travellers think it’s important to find service staff at the destination that speak a language they understand, only half (47%) of Malaysians do, with Hong Kong travellers (4%) even less likely to think the same.
Mr. Rakesh Bansal, Chief Executive Office, Amadeus India added, “At Amadeus India, our goal is to help the travel industry thrive by putting the traveller at the centre of everything we do. That’s why we’re investing to understand who they are and what they want. The India report gives us many interesting insights – some expected, others less so. One key observation was how important finding staff, newspapers and TV shows in a language they can understand is to Indian travellers. Similarly, respondents from India want to eat familiar food while travelling overseas. This is a good reminder to travel players about the importance of accommodating local preferences at the destination. With Amadeus Journey of Me Insights, we hope to help our customers and partners shape a future of travel that travellers want.”
Journey of Me Insights was conducted in collaboration with YouGov across 14 markets in Asia Pacific including Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, were provided by YouGov. Total sample size was 6,870 adults across Asia Pacific who have travelled internationally in the last 12 months. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th and 17th May 2017. The survey was carried out online.
Hindustan Times yet again made its presence felt in the international media fraternity by clinching two prestigious awards for HT Palate Fest in categories including, the ‘Best in South Asia, Regional/Local Brands’, and the ‘Best use of an event to build a news brand’.
Hindustan Times Palate Fest is India’s original and premier food festival that takes place over 3 days in the heart of Delhi with over 1 lakh attendees. The fest offers a complete family engagement experience and is a unique platform to engage with customers in an effective manner.
International News Media Association (INMA) honoured the news media industry’s most innovative initiatives to grow audience, revenue, and brand at the illustrious INMA Award night in Washington, DC (USA). The 2018 Global Media Awards competition garnered 830 entries from 220 media companies across 39 countries.
An international panel of 50 executives from 20 countries selected 195 finalists. The regional winners were selected from the finalists in six world regions where Hindustan Times Palate Fest was announced the ‘Best in South Asia, Regional/Local Brands’.
On this remarkable win, Rajan Bhalla, CMO, HT Media Ltd, said, “Winning the INMA award is always special. And winning two awards at an international media stage reflects that the work we produce in India is no less than global benchmarks. We will continue to pursue excellence and innovation in all our endeavors as we go about engaging with our readers and creating unique platforms for our advertisers.”
Ashu Phakey, COO, Hindustan Times, said, “Receiving the INMA Global Media Award for ‘Best in South Asia, Regional/Local Brand’ is an honour. Hindustan Times has always created avenues which add value to our clients as well as our readers. HT Palate Fest is one of our many such initiatives, which has the people’s interests at the core of its existence. We are delighted to have been recognized, and will continue delighting our stakeholders.”
Aditi Kapoor and Ruchi Sibal, Co-founders, Hindustan Times Palate Fest added, “We are honoured to receive this award and it feels great to be recognized for the efforts and vision we had for Palate Fest. Our aim was to provide a one-in-a-kind platform in India wherein brands could come together and be part of an event that’s entertaining and showcases their unique offerings”.
Award winning start up BISBO creates magic with world news
BISBO covers current news events in an engaging manner - animation
Here to widen perspectives and reach out to internet viewers in a unique manner, BISBO covers current news events in an engaging manner - animation. This format encourages people to understand the most complex world issues and news in a way that is fun and easy to follow. The idea of BISBO was conceptualised 25 years ago but the journey from pen to YouTube transitioned only in 2016.
Within a short span of 2 years BISBO has managed to break the clutter and garners 1.5-2 million views a month on YouTube, Facebook & Instagram. The platform's content is suitable for all ages; however, 80% of its viewers are in the bracket of 18-44 years. Interestingly, a sizable number of UPSC candidates use Bisbo’s videos as a study source!
The channel has gained popularity amongst its audience for its 5-minute news pieces that are comprehensively covered. An approximate of 30 videos are released every month, in English, Hindi & Bengali, covering several topics like politics, international events, science and tech, entertainment, crime, finance, health, wildlife, lifestyle alternatively.
Using animation allows Bisbo to reconstruct the sequence of events and break it down into interesting parts that are easily understandable. The channel's aim is to provide an opportunity to explore topics in detail and still have fun.
“By providing sources and references in each video, we not only point interested readers in the direction but also have managed to establish ourselves as a credible source of news and information,” said the man behind Bisbo- Shakir Ebrahim- Founder & Creator.
This year’s FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia will add US$2.4bn to the global advertising market, according to new research by Zenith.
This will be the net amount of money added to the market, taking into account both the extra money spent by advertisers seeking to reach World Cup audiences, and any reductions in spending by advertisers that wish to avoid this competitive period.
The World Cup creates very valuable opportunities for advertisers. Television coverage of its matches attracts huge audiences across the world – about 3.5 billion people viewing at home in more than 200 countries – during a season when, in the northern hemisphere at least, television audiences are typically at their annual low point. As well as producing large audiences – in some countries, the largest of the year – the World Cup disproportionately attracts people who are hard to reach on television: young, upmarket and mobile consumers who are more likely to spend their time outside the home and adopt the latest media technologies. For brands, the World Cup offers a unique opportunity to reach these consumers at scale, during shared public occasions they are emotionally involved in.
Because of the time zones in which the matches will take place, about 40% of the potential audience will be asleep when they are played. This means viewers will seek out alternative ways of viewing matches. While for some this may simply mean watching matches broadcast on time delay, or viewing time-shifted live matches, young sports fans in particular have become used to viewing small nuggets of games on social media. Social media will play a greater role in viewing the World Cup than ever before, but in moments rather than full matches.
The matches themselves are only part of the story. The World Cup is great at starting conversations, and here social media will also play a vital role as fans discuss matches in real time and share their favourite moments later. We expect heavy paid social activity around the matches as brands seek to join the conversation.
The tournament will also create extra traffic for news and sports sites, and extra searches, so will boost wider online advertising beyond social media. Newspapers are likely to sell more copies during the Cup, and football-related out-of-home campaigns will be prominent, particularly around the stadiums where the matches take place.
Russia will benefit from a US$64 million adspend boost, representing 2.1% of all Russian advertising expenditure in 2018. As hosts, Russians will be particularly enthusiastic about the competition, and will enjoy the most convenient match scheduling – viewers in other time zones will have to watch at less suitable times of day.
The biggest boost in dollar terms will be in China, where we expect the World Cup to generate US$835 million in extra adspend, or 1.0% of the entire ad market. There are few established brand relationships with the Word Cup in China, and this year advertisers have been aggressively bidding to establish their association with football. Some advertisers that had been planning to cut back their expenditure on television decided to increase it instead specifically to take advantages of the opportunities offered by the World Cup. So for brands in China this will be the most important World Cup yet, despite the absence of the Chinese national team.
We expect the US to receive a US$400 million boost to adspend this year. The US team’s failure to qualify for this Cup, for the first time in more than three decades, is likely to reduce audiences, particularly given the large time differences with Russia. So we think the event will boost the US market by just 0.2% of total annual expenditure this year.
“The World Cup provides a reliable boost to the global ad market every four years, and will be responsible for 10% of all the growth in ad dollars this year,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s Head of Forecasting and Director of Global Intelligence. “This year’s tournament will showcase the brand-building powers of both traditional television and social media.”