|Expedia is collaborating with governments in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and Indonesia to leverage existing travel data / Photo Credit: Anton Balazh (via Shutterstock)|
As technological advances sweep through the tourism industry, travel retailers are resorting to technology to draw insights from big data and optimize inbound travel flows, as reported by Cheryl Ong of TTG Asia, Asia-Pacific’s leading travel trade business resource. Seeking to expand its reach in Asia-Pacific, Expedia has been collaborating with governments in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and Indonesia to help leverage existing travel and search data to promote inbound tourism and expand tourism to second-tier cities at the same time.
For instance, Expedia partnered up with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to promote the country’s secondary destinations on its platform, according to Lavinia Rajaram, regional head of communications (APAC), Expedia. Moreover, she said that Expedia was also looking into upscaling the hoteliers in Thailand’s secondary destinations to enable users to have an authentic experience outside of big cities like Bangkok. “Working with our lodging team, we brought these hoteliers onto our platform, and trained them on how to use revenue management,” Rajaram said. They trained them to ensure they are equipped with the “right experiences.”
“We also helped local tour operators to obtain proper licenses so we can bring them onto our platform, and give travellers that all-rounded experience," she added. Speaking of travelers, they expect their travel providers to offer them personalized services. This August, HomeAway launched Virtual Tours in Bali, a propriety product that takes advantage of virtual technology to offer 360-degree walk-throughs of the site’s properties. Virtual Tours was first launched in the US last November, with Bali as the second market outside of the US and the first market in Asia-Pacific to offer virtual tours.
Judith Davidson, region director for Asia, HomeAway informed TTG Asia that Virtual Tours helped build a layer of trust in the Asia-Pacific market, where staying in vacation homes is not the norm. Davidson stated, “It’s pretty common in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, but it’s still relatively new for Asian families to think about staying this way. So it’s critical for us to build that trust with them.”