In the news: Travel trends in the Year of the Horse, ITB Berlin Summit on omni-channel marketing, Burufly’s iOS app, Abacus’ Chinese language fare feeds for EVA Air

Wego unveils travel trends from Singapore, China, Hong Kong in the Year of the Horse 

Meta search engine, Wego, looks into the crystal ball and predicts the destinations travellers from the major hubs of Singapore, China, and Hong Kong will make their way to in the coming Year of the Horse.

However, the Year of the Horse will see Singaporean travellers showing greater interest and making more visits to Malaysia, especially Johor and Myanmar.

“Johor has grown in popularity for Singaporeans, especially with the addition of a number of family oriented attractions and theme parks such as Legoland, Hello Kitty Land, as well as the shopping opportunities at the Johor Premium Outlets,” Lai explained.

“Myanmar is capturing the attention of Singaporeans, and both business and leisure travel to Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, continues growing, beginning in earnest in 2012.”

China:  Zhao Tang, market development manager for Wego China, said Taiwan and Hong Kong are still the most popular destinations for Chinese mainlanders. “However, internationally we expect extensive growth as a greater choice of cheaper flights become available and foreign countries welcome Chinese travellers by improving their visa services.”

Chinese travellers also love island resorts such as Bali, Phuket and Kota Kinabalu (Sabah). “Both Indonesia and Thailand provide Visa-on-Arrival facilities, and Malaysia offers a simplified visa application process and 120 hours visa free transits, which has also helped make these destinations so popular.”

Zhao also sees more Chinese visitors making a beeline to countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Korea wit the relaxation of visa restrictions there.

Hong Kong: Wego’s market development manager for Taiwan and Hong Kong, James Huang, said the growth of low cost carriers in Asia would see more Hong Kongers travelling to South East and North East Asia.

“There’s been tremendous growth in Hongkongers travelling to nearby countries such as Taiwan, Japan and South Korea; while long distance travel to the USA and Australia has enjoyed a mild increase,” he added.

ITB’s Martin Buck advocates omni-channel marketing to better serve travellers

ITB Berlin vice president , Dr. Martin Buck ,believes that tour operators have to combine the various marketing channels and tailor their marketing activities to meet the needs of their customers due to the paradigm shift in the travel industry in recent years.

“Before travellers actually go on holiday they deal with a host of different channels such as the internet, smartphone apps, traditional media and travel agencies. For the travel industry this means that it must coordinate the information and products it offers to an even greater degree.“

Dr. Buck, who is also the vice president of Competence Centre Travel Logistics at Messe Berlin, said in future travel companies would have to place greater focus on their customers.

“Today the path a customer takes before ultimately booking a trip is no longer difficult to understand. Big data offers a wealth of information, helping to better understand customer behaviour. 

“This helps to significantly improve the dialogue with the customer and enables the travel industry to tailor its products accordingly, which in the medium term can potentially boost sales.”

At the same time tourism marketing methods were changing, Digital omni-channel marketing has combined the various methods of addressing the customer to a greater degree than the previous model of multi-channel marketing, added Dr Buck.

“For the tourism industry, rapidly developing omni-channel marketing instruments such as real-time advertising and user centric marketing are becoming more and more important. Mass media, such as television and publications, have generated a wide range of hybrid online and offline instruments, which are of increasing interest to the travel industry.“ 

These changes would significantly influence the way in which the travel industry conducted its online marketing in the future, he said.

ITB Berlin 2014 (March 5-9) will place special focus on omni-channel marketing by devoting the first ITB Summit (March 4, 2-6pm) to this key topic. Among those taking part will be Facebook’s head of travel, Lee McCabe, who will talk about the prospects for social media securing new customers.

An iOS app for Burufly

Travel content site, Burufly.com, has released an iOS app, which it touts as the “first user-generated, social style travel app for the Indonesian market.”

The app allows its 900,000 members to share and search more travel stories on the go and connect with other travellers quickly, as well as share the latest and greatest spots they have checked out.

Pete Goldsworthy, founder CEO of Burufly.com, said the app was developed in response to requests for its members who wanted a mobile experience, which made sense since travel is so on the go.

“Creating travel stories that your followers can wish list and ask you questions about, just got a whole heap easier. The app will also enable us to create live photo competitions which brands have already been gravitating towards,” added Goldsworthy.

The app is free for download at Apple iTunes Store here. An Android version will be released in he second quarter of this year

Burufly, which was launched in November 2012, is the second highest ranked travel content site in Indonesia with about 700,000 monthly visitors.

EVA Air selects Abacus for its first automated Chinese language fare feeds

EVA Air has appointed Abacus to act as the translation platform for Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCO) fare data in Taiwan, supplying content to the carrier’s retail distribution grid. 

Abacus is automating all fare sheets nationwide, presenting rules in native Mandarin. Eliminating the need for future manual fare maintenance, the technology delivers savings to EVA and its subsidiary UNI Air, as well as productivity gains to its powerful network of travel agency outlets. 

Extracting ATPCO fare data from EVA and UNI Air, Abacus is integrating it with online travel agents directly. For those offline, the translated rule returns for ATPCO fare search results are embedded in the Abacus user interfaces. 

Albert Liao, senior vice president of EVA Air, said, “We chose Abacus to ensure we deliver the best possible user experience to agents shopping for fares. This latest innovation makes it much easier to compare the available options.”

Ho Hoong Mau, head of airline distribution for Abacus, added that the company broke new grounds with EVA Air by supplying the first automated fares and rules digitally in Chinese formats across Taiwan. “Access to translated content from universal filing sources like ATPCO is essential to the expansion of Asian aviation markets.”