The Southeast Asian Online travel market is hyper-competitive. The industry players strive to strike a fine balance between creating the appropriate inventory mix, appealing price points, and a seamless user interface with adequate localized features to offer a bespoke product basket and carve out a niche for themselves.
The online travel industry is marginally better positioned to deal with this current outbreak than many of their suppliers in the hotel and airline industry. But the damage is only getting worse. It will still be severe and long-lasting.
Travel agents still exist; tour operators are the last sector to be moved to digital; online travel platforms are scrambling to keep the growth rate high. We are expecting to see more changes shaping up the travel arrangement and reservation services sector in the next few years.
As modern marketing gets more complex, seamless delivery of marketing success requires a strong and well-executed operations strategy.
The airline distribution ecosystem often gets unfairly labeled as being populated by dinosaurs. Our sense is that industry players are making genuine attempts to modernize, it’s just that it takes a long time to turn around such a titanic ship. We break down this complex and, at times, intimidating topic by reviewing the current landscape and inspecting four key fault lines in the space.
Emerging markets will shape the future of the travel industry but each region requires a unique strategy. MakeMyTrip and Despegar, online travel leaders in India and Latin America, provide unique insights into how to succeed their respective home markets.
Many online travel agencies are no longer specialists in one product, instead aiming to become one-stop shops. The platform that a booking site can offer is a key part of its competitive moat and the contours of supply at Booking Holding and Expedia vary widely from each other.
Online travel agencies remain essential to the travel industry as consolidators of and clearinghouses for advertising dollars throughout the space. We do not see OTAs being removed from this position easily, but challenges are growing by the day.
Hotel owners have their hands full with choosing the appropriate operating model, ensuring their properties are being run efficiently and effectively, and remaining innovative and thoughtful. Doing all of this in an increasingly complex environment can be challenging. Some will need the major brand chains' help, some won't.
Optimizing a fragmented and traditionally offline model is obviously going to take time. However, we expect key players in the tours and activities space to increasingly try new strategies not only to increase scale, access to distribution, and consumer reach, but also to enhance in-destination experiences for travelers and locals alike.
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