Technology in the hands of travellers… and in distribution
Joseph Wang, Chief Commercial Officer – TravelDaily China – recently hosted two key sessions at the ITB China conference this year on the use by travellers of new digital tools and how technology innovations will impact the way travel products are distributed and purchased. We asked him why these topics are so vital today.
China is now the largest source market for global travel and tourism industry, and technological innovations are redefining the way travel products are distributed and purchased. The behaviour of Chinese travellers today, especially millennials, has been changing with the technology evolution. Mobile, APP, wireless payment, Big Data, AI etc. and emerging new social media platforms like WeChat, UGC, short video APP and live streaming sites are also impacting the travel behaviour of Chinese millennials. Travel companies should try to satisfy this changing demand through personalisation, for example, in terms of product development and brand communication. From the industry backend perspective, the efficiency of marketing, operations, training, channel distribution management especially supply chain need to be improved, and technology can help to find a way out of the dilemma.
WE SEE THE BLURRING OF BOUNDARIES BETWEEN DIRECT SALES AND CHANNELS.
In the past, you worked on direct sales in the hotel business. How have you seen sales channels evolving in the past years, and what will people coming to your sessions learn?
After years of consolidations, OTA has become a highly concentrated landscape especially from the traffic perspective. In the future, big hotel chains are getting even bigger and will also reach a very high concentration landscape globally and regionally through continuous mergers. Under this situation, we see the blurring of boundaries between direct sales and channels so one of the biggest challenges today to the traditional hotel sales channels will be the lack of traffic sources, lack of the abilities of collecting, storing, cleaning, analysing, identifying customer data and tagging, the lack of abilities to differentiate channels and to connect with all potential partners agilely and cost effectively. In terms of marketing and channel strategies, hotels should re-design their product and sales with an integrated online and of ine presence, a more relevant content with higher level of context aware, relevancy and personalisation, to refine their offering to the loyalty members in order to differentiate themselves in the crowd and to be adapted by different age groups of the members especially the Millennials leveraging todays’ digital tools. “The right product should be delivered to the right audience through right channels at the right time and to avoid one-size-fits-all.” as someone famous said.
Joseph Wang, Chief Commercial Officer, TravelDaily China