The opportunity that Southeast Asia presents for the travel industry is limitless. Time to capitalize on it.
Peden Doma Butia
As the global market with the highest social media consumption, Southeast Asia with its aspiring middle class presents a huge opportunity for the travel industry.
Discussing the technological changes driving the region’s return, Shirley Lesmana, Chief Marketing Officer at Traveloka, and Amit Saberwal, Founding CEO of RedDoorz, in conversation with Sean O’Neill, Senior Hospitality Editor at Skift, at the Skift Global Forum in New York on Wednesday. she spoke about how the mobile-first market with 100 percent smartphone penetration is shaping the travel industry in the region.
There is a great expectation towards digital products, Lesmana said. “The pandemic has not only accelerated penetration, but it has also increased the expectation for digital products.”
And of course, if the region is home to the major markets for Instagram and Facebook, the expectation would be products that have no drawbacks: “Even before the pandemic, Asian consumers are used to a connected lifestyle, so that is the theme or expectation of the travel products as well. Consumers want everything on one platform,” Lesmana said.
With a population of 600 million young and highly ambitious people, Saberwal preferred to call Southeast Asia “the most incredible and exciting region in the world today.”
Commenting on Traveloka’s pivot from a travel price comparison search engine to a travel and lifestyle app, Lesmana said that while people typically traveled two or three times a year, the pivot helped them keep consumers coming back and increase their retention, resulting in 100 million downloads.
“Payments is one of the key infrastructures that we need to solve in Southeast Asia as it is the last mile and probably the most painful touchpoint from a consumer perspective,” he said, adding that Traveloka has been working tirelessly to make it the payment solution is uniform. more transparent.
Saberwal, who prefers to call his company an asset-light company with many hotels in smaller formats, said he doubled the number of properties during the pandemic.
“We get 75 percent direct bookings without performance marketing,” Saberwal said, adding that since consumers are loyal to the offer, they will find a way to come back.
Understanding the diversity of the Southeast Asian landscape, travel companies must strike a balance between world-class solutions and local customization, Lesmana said.