From Japan to China to India, online travel is experiencing a boom throughout Asia Pacific. PhoCusWright estimates that the total travel market in Asia Pacific in 2012 will be worth USD294 billion and of this, the online travel market will account for USD70.6 billion.
In Japan, amid a declining travel market which has seen traditional travel agencies’ total gross bookings drop from JPY6281 billion in 1996 to JPY5930 billion in 2010, online travel has continued to surge and all four Japanese OTAs – Rakuten Travel, Jalan and Ikyu – reported a pick-up in customer demand and a shift from offline to online.
The trio are taking market share from the traditional travel agencies – five of whom account for 60% of the market – which explains why Japan Travel Bureau has set up an online arm, iJTB, to defend its estimated 30% market share.
The story is similar in China. According to PhoCusWright's China Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition: The Giant Has Awoken, travel bookings in China will surpass USD105 billion in 2013, of which more than USD15 billion will be made online.
The online travel market will grow by some 500% between 2008 and 2013, fuelled by rapid adoption of the Internet for commerce and a range of high-profile investments and partnerships among the country's leading Internet and online travel firms, said PhoCusWright.
It is these trends that the new airline conference, Airline Cloud9, launched by CAPA (Centre for Aviation) and WIT-Web In Travel, will get stuck into, as well as an understanding of how technology can help airlines create great customer experiences and attain profitability.
One airline which has innovated its way to profitability and scale and proven that low cost doesn’t have to mean that you can’t create great experiences and loyal customers is AirAsia and sharing that story will be Kathleen Tan, group head of commercial for the regional airline group.
Other airlines that will share how they have used technology to enhance operations, and brand, distribute and generate and manage revenues are Bangkok Airways (Ping na Thalang, VP-information systems), Scoot (Steven Greenway, head of commercial) and Jet Airways (Gerry Oh, regional VP).
Jim Barlow, senior consulting partner, Sabre Airline Solutions, will focus on “The Technology Path to Cloud9: Leveraging technology for profitability and great customer experience”.
Giving an outsider’s perspective into how design can be used to create customer-centric experiences so that airlines can learn from other industries will be David Beath, director of IDEO, a global design thinking company that recently set up base in Singapore.
With search still playing a critical role in how customers plan their travel – Kayak this week announced a global partnership with Amadeus, a global search panel will share insights into how customers are searching and what airlines can do to capture their share of search traffic.
Confirmed for Airline Cloud9 are Gareth Williams, CEO of Skyscanner; Denise Peng, executive vice president of Qunar, China’s largest travel search website; Kei Shibata, CEO of Venture Republic which owns Japan’s largest travel search site, travel.jp; and Ross Veitch, CEO of Wego, the Asia-based travel search portal.
Google’s head for travel for South-east Asia, Ali Yilmaz, will also share insights into how consumers in this region are searching, and planning their travel.
Mobile can no longer be ignored having become mainstream with many travel start-ups now thinking “mobile first” especially in Asia where emerging economies have gone straight to mobile devices.
Confirmed are Gerry Samuels, CEO of Dublin-based Mobile Travel Technologies, which recently raised USD5 million in funding to expand. Giving the Asia Pacific perspective is Brett Henry, vice president-marketing of Abacus International.
Ancillaries, the hot button issue, for airlines will be discussed in a session that will see John Chapman, vice president, Airline Group, Amadeus Asia discuss best practices; Aaron Hung, director of partnerships, Asia Pacific, TripAdvisor talk about the use of content to generate revenues; and Andy Guenthard, SVP, Adyen shed light on payment solutions.
Social continues to be an issue airlines flirt with – should we or shouldn’t we? – but it’s clearly a channel consumers love. Sharing a big picture look at social trends is Morris Sim, CEO of Circos Brand Karma, a leading social media analytics company. Sergio Mello, founder of Satisfly, will talk about a social solution he believes will revolutionise air travel.
“This conference is one that airlines cannot ignore if they want to understand customer trends and the use of new technology to attract and engage with these customers to create great experiences and achieve profitability,” said Peter Harbison, executive chairman, CAPA.
Airline Cloud9 will be held at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Bangkok on August 23-24.
Click here to register today!