Tourism

Opinion: Why agents need to tap into Asia’s business travel boom

Renaud Nicolle

Business travel within Asia is growing at twice the pace of the rest of the world and will overtake the US market within the next decade, presenting significant opportunities for Australian travel agencies.

However, in order to strengthen their foothold in the region and to maximise revenue opportunities in this lucrative market in 2019, Australian travel agents need to understand and meet, the nuanced needs of Asian business travellers.

Offer a consistent and transparent experience

Asian business travellers use a range of channels and devices; and are looking for consistent and transparent experiences across all of them. In these mobile-first markets, providing a tailored online experience is vital, with Southeast Asia now the fastest-growing, emerging smartphone market and users spending more time on the internet than any other market in the world.

Travel agents could look to engage with Asian business travellers on their most frequently-used channels, including social media networks. Singapore Airlines and MakeMyTrip were among the first to adopt WhatsApp to send customers support and notifications.

Travel agents can tap into new channels to communicate with travellers in a more personal and conversational manner, but also to cross-sell, upsell and service throughout the entire travel journey.

Catering for the Bleisure travellers

Asian business travellers are independent and entrepreneurial, and are expecting the same flexibility and efficiency for business travel that they would experience when booking for themselves.

The rise of ‘bleisure’ means that business travel behaviours are becoming more aligned to leisure travel, including cost consciousness.

Research by Amadeus found that recommendations focused on Asian business travellers saving money (34 per cent), ensured their safety (31 per cent) and made their travel more comfortable (29 per cent) were deemed the most useful. Asian Bleisure travellers are also investing time in planning the leisure portion of their trip, but not everything is booked in advance.

Delivering on ‘bleisure’ content is a key differentiator for travel agents; travel agents are uniquely positioned to offer a truly personalised service and can sell additional content and services, as they can access the travellers’ data including itinerary, profile, preferences, travel history and policies.

Travel agents can also share timely offers and content related to the destination, to inform and inspire travellers.

In addition, sharing economy services like Uber, Grab and Airbnb have become widely accepted for business travel — even more so than for leisure. Almost half (46%) of Asian business travellers use ride-sharing services to get around during their trip, compared to 31% of leisure travellers.

Taking a mobile-first approach

As Asian business travellers want to stay highly-connected when they’re overseas and place a premium on convenience, travel agents can use their trusted position to become an intermediary for useful in-country services.

This could include offering internet access, parking, lounge access, and restaurant recommendations.

To achieve this, travel agents need to ensure that their mobile platform is fully optimised. This will allow the travel agent and traveller to move beyond the traditional booking, and create a fully-connected travel experience, both during and post-trip.

Mobile can bring a whole new travel experience by connecting employees in the most efficient and cost-effective way, such as enabling ride-sharing or making use of destination services.

Personalisation through mobile apps will also be imperative.

In addition to encouraging a social-sign in to add to the business traveller’s corporate profile, current geo-location information can be shared with travel partners on where they are, with location-specific advertisements and offers that will prompt a ‘tap’.

Today’s ways of working – mobile, social platforms and self-service – open a myriad of possibilities for travellers and travel agents.

At the same time, digital technologies are changing the face of travel – Asian business travellers want choice, price transparency and personalisation, no matter where they are.

In order to service the modern Asian business traveller, Australian travel agencies must evolve their portfolio to differentiate and personalise their offering.


Renaud Nicolle is Vice President of Business Travel Asia Pacific at Amadeus

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Aviation

Is former Virgin CEO Paul Scurrah set to fly back to Rex?

by Huntley Mitchell

Paul Scurrah has been laying low since exiting Virgin late last year, but the speculation wheel has started to turn around his next role.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

“We need to address the elephant in the room”: travel agent implores government to make ‘that announcement’

by Linda Forster

An Aussie agent has waxed poetic about the travel industry’s struggles in this impassioned plea for the government to stop turning a blind eye.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Ponant appoints BDM for New South Wales and the ACT

The luxe cruise line has hired a new local BDM … as in a business development manager, not a basketball dunking master or a bad decision-maker.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Will you accept this flight? Stood-down Jetstar pilot becomes Australia’s new Bachelor

by Ali Coulton

After having his career put on hold by COVID-19, this super-handsome, self-professed romantic took the obvious course of action and became Australia’s newest Bachelor!

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Australia takes out Tripadvisor award for world’s best beach

Your clients don’t need to travel internationally to check out this year’s winner, which is a relief, because they’d be waiting a while to visit if it was overseas.

Share

CommentComments

Events

MTA agents flock to the Gold Coast for long-awaited Virtuoso event

After a few false starts, the team at MTA have finally got their hands on the latest in luxury travel intel from Virtuoso.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Collapse of Helloworld agencies prompt urgent warning from business restructuring expert

Struggling travel companies are being urged to seek help before JobKeeper is wound back.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Flight forced to perform emergency landing after cat attacks pilot

Plane passengers have been left bemused and a bit ticked off after pilots were forced to turn their flight around due to a ferocious feline.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster-Blake return for Tourism Australia’s latest marketing push

Australia’s fave power couple are back to promote the country’s domestic tourism greatness.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

STUDY: 86 per cent of Aussies back the ‘vaccine passport’

It looks like most of us are ready and raring to pack up our suitcases and jump on the next plane out of here.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival is selling its very own cruise-themed Monopoly game

Unfortunately, even the mere mention of Monopoly is banned in the Travel Weekly office after “the incident”.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

IHG outlines decade-long plan for sustainable tourism

Raise your KeepCup in delight at the hotel giant’s new spate of commitments to sustainable travel.

Share

CommentComments