The travel sector faces challenges every year with increasing competition and fluctuating market trends. Marketers need to be on top of their game to drive consistent performance despite a volatile market — remaining nimble enough to handle any challenge or opportunity in their path

The recent Kenshoo research paper called “Digital Travel Transformation Improving Your Marketing in Southeast Asia’s Travel and Leisure Landscape” reveals four such challenges:

Consumer Feedback & Reviews Positive reviews are imperative to driving travel bookings, with many travel organisations finding managing this very time consuming. Research on Statisticbrain indicates that 81 per cent of travelers find user reviews important and that 49 per cent of people won’t book a hotel without reviews. Brand reputation and review monitoring have become crucial factors to success with sites like TripAdvisor making a big impact on the bottom line of travel organisations.

Social Media Influence The travel industry has been one of the most affected industries when it comes to social media. This has a lot to do with the personalised experience from photos, check-ins, and status updates — but even more dramatically for customer service. Customers can vent frustrations directly to a brand, and those frustrations can go viral very quickly. One leading airline in APAC has empowered its social media response team to make key decisions and take action immediately from a complaint, helping alleviate the challenging nature of such an open platform.

Measurement & Attribution Initial results of a survey of travel marketers Kenshoo has been running during early 2016 identified the main challenges in the industry as ‘attribution and customer journey mapping’ and ‘proving ROI across channels’. Attribution is becoming more important as marketing teams become less siloed in their view of the customer journey and want to be able to see the bigger picture and how each marketing touchpoint impacts every other. In addition, while digital budgets are increasing, travel marketers continue to struggle to show the impact of their investments and the value their programs are providing.

Market Forces The weakness and potential volatility of many currencies against the US dollar is likely to have an impact on travel in the region, but this could also promote more travel inside Southeast Asia.

Improved visa processes will also help increase travel, with the World Tourism Organisation showing proposed visa improvements in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) could generate six to ten million visitors in 2016. The report also indicates that Southeast Asia is now one of the most open in the world in terms of tourist visa requirements, further helping promote travel in the region.

To face these challenges head on, travel brands need to adopt an agile marketing approach. Download the Full Report today.

Lauren Evans is the Regional Marketing Partner, APJ, Kenshoo which is a corporate member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members contribute their expertise and insights to Which-50 for the benefit of our senior executive audience. Membership fees apply.

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