Monday, March 30, 2015

The Big 5 – a look into top performing channels in the APAC region - Part II

There are total 2.92 billion people in the world having access to internet. Nearly half of them or 1.3 billion are from Asia Pacific. Last year, Asia Pacific became the largest regional ecommerce market and now contributes for more than a third of all business to consumer ecommerce sales in the world. The increase in online penetration has changed the travel behavior which traditionally preferred travel agencies, group bookings and in-person sales. Many are now choosing to travel in smaller groups, or even alone and preferring to self-manage travel by booking online.



PhoCusWright reports that in 2012 APAC region surpassed Europe to become the world’s largest regional travel market with US$326 billion in gross travel bookings. Despite slow economic growth and political turmoil in some countries in the region, an average 8% growth is expected this year taking the online travel market to $126billion, which is pretty mind-blowing. With 46% APAC travelers planning to book online, no wonder global giants like Expedia and Booking.com are eyeing for a share of the pie, where regional OTAs still rule.

Consider this - 69% of Chinese OTA market is controlled by three regional travel agencies Ctrip, eLong & Ly.com. In India MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip and Yatra have 60% of the market share. Japan, one of the largest online markets in the region, is dominated by Rakuten Travel.

In this article I list out five online travel agents who are playing vital role in shaping the online travel industry in Asia Pacific.



Agoda, acquired by Priceline in 2007, is the most popular online travel agency (OTA) in five countries, namely Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea in South East Asia and the only OTA to hold the top spot in multiple Asia Pacific (APAC) markets as per PhoCusWright.  According to a recent report by Skift, Agoda receives total 30.7 million unique visitors per month of which 14.2% came from Indonesia and 7.8% from India. The channel is gaining preference as a leading site among Asia-Pacific bookers by adding inventory, enhancing mobile functionality and localizing content.


Baidu controlled Qunar.com is the fastest growing online travel agency in China. Qunar, which has its roots in meta-search has been offering bookings on its site. Given most of China’s hundreds of thousands of hotels are independent and previously offline, Qunar is working on a hybrid model - meta-search plus transaction one to bridge the needs between the hotels and the Chinese consumers. The channel now features over 200,000 properties in the domestic market for travel accommodation of which over 140,000 are small independent hotels, B&B and apartment-oriented listings.


Japan's online leisure/unmanaged business travel market is by far Asia Pacific’s largest. Founded in 2002, Rakuten Travel is one of Japan's largest online hotel reservation website with over 3.7 million room nights booked per month. The channel, a 100% subsidiary of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten receives 5.34 million unique visitors every month. The firm has access to more than 20,000 domestic and 15,000 international hotels and has a presence in South Korea and China.

Even though majority of travel booking in Asia still comes from offline, travelers in the region are rapidly moving from offline to mobile and online travel penetration is expected to reach upto 31% by end of this year. PhoCusWright predicts that aggregate mobile travel bookings in China, Japan and India will jump from US$4.6 billion in 2012 to $18.7 billion in 2015. Channels which have been early adapters to mobile travel will be ready for the challenge.

As hoteliers, are you ready to tap into the Asia Pacific market? Are you managing your channels well and keeping them automatically updated with rates and availability on a regular basis? eRevMax is developing 2-way XML connections with all global and regional distribution channels. Contact us today if you want to connect with these channels or want a platform to manage these channels smartly.

Image Courtesy: Hong Kong Street: Frédéric DUPONT – Freepik Images




Christy Toh is Sales Manager at eRevMax based out in Singapore.  She can be reached at christinet@erevmax.com 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Big 5 – a look into top performing channels in the APAC region - Part I

There are total 2.92 billion people in the world having access to internet. Nearly half of them or 1.3 billion are from Asia Pacific. Last year, Asia Pacific became the largest regional ecommerce market and now contributes for more than a third of all business to consumer ecommerce sales in the world. The increase in online penetration has changed the travel behavior which traditionally preferred travel agencies, group bookings and in-person sales. Many are now choosing to travel in smaller groups, or even alone and preferring to self-manage travel by booking online.



PhoCusWright reports that in 2012 APAC region surpassed Europe to become the world’s largest regional travel market with US$326 billion in gross travel bookings. Despite slow economic growth and political turmoil in some countries in the region, an average 8% growth is expected this year taking the online travel market to $126billion, which is pretty mind-blowing. With 46% APAC travelers planning to book online, no wonder global giants like Expedia and Booking.com are eyeing for a share of the pie, where regional OTAs still rule.

Consider this - 69% of Chinese OTA market is controlled by three regional travel agencies Ctrip, eLong & Ly.com. In India MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip and Yatra have 60% of the market share. Japan, one of the largest online markets in the region, is dominated by Rakuten Travel.

In this article we list out five online travel agents who are playing vital role in shaping the online travel industry in Asia Pacific.


MakeMyTrip, the only local site to be amongst the top 10 most popular online booking sites globally has been consistently dominating the Indian online travel market with over 47% market share.  Rising disposable income and the corresponding expansion of the Indian middle class have triggered more cash flow in households, opening up possibilities for spending and leisure. Working on a hybrid model which offers both online and offline travel services, MakeMyTrip now has a customer base of over seven million, and page views crossing 20 million every month. To cash on the smartphone led internet revolution in the country, MakeMyTrip has invested heavily on their mobile application with full booking capabilities for flights, hotels and bus ticketing across all major platforms.  The application which has seen more than 3.2 million downloads, more than 29% of their monthly unique visitors and 25% of total online domestic hotel transactions come from mobile.


With the rise in disposable income levels, and an expanding middle class, China has emerged as the biggest outbound market. China has 632 million Internet users and 46.9% of them are pure mobile. Ctrip which receives over 1 million transactions per day is the largest Chinese online travel agency by revenue and valuation.




Ctrip.com controls 54% of Chinese online travel market and receives 8.6 million monthly visitors to its website of which 73.52% comes from China only. Ctrip has been partnering with local regional travel portals to consolidate its dominance in Greater China. The channel has formed a partnership with Priceline which gives Ctrip access with Priceline’s 500000 inventories and improve the cross-promotion of each other’s hotel inventory and other travel services.

In my next edition I'll talk about three more online channels who are playing vital role in shaping the online travel industry in Asia Pacific.

NB: Oriental People Image by Stockvault and Chinese Street by Freepik Images



This is a view point by Christy Toh Sales Manager at eRevMax based in Singapore.  She can be reached at christinet@erevmax.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why hotels can’t afford to ignore business intelligence in 2015- Part 2

Why BI can do what current tools don’t ?

The current kind of retrospective – your rate shopping or production data analysis is no longer adequate to ensure the best business decisions. Yes, you can see your competitor set’s rate movement in your rate shopping report, but at a time when competition is cut-throat, you need to be always prepared for sudden increase / decrease in demand. An advanced business intelligence like RateTiger Analytics gives you high quality market insights for your revenue strategy to respond to opportunities and threats in real time for optimizing business outcome. Benchmark your competitors on key parameters to make informed pricing decisions. Plan and forecast with greater precision with historical and future data analysis.


Quality data is essential for producing accurate forecasts. Production Reports, which comes with booking pace, reservation and budget gap analysis, provides revenue managers with booking demands from all sources of online distribution broken down into market segment. Compare demand and booking pace to identify whether your sales strategy should be in promotional or allocation mode. Analyze forecasted revenue and occupancy and compare the forecasts to the same time last year. By analyzing the performance metrics, they can get a clear understanding of what makes travelers to book the property. Which channel delivers the most booking? Which OTA provides the highest RevPAR? And which delivers the most advanced bookings? What type of package are people buying here? This helps hotels identify their most valuable guests, their demography and the channel they are using for booking, and adapt strategies accordingly to maximize revenue.


Whether it is using analytics to predict customer behaviour, set pricing strategy, optimize ad spending or manage risk, analytics is moving to the top of the management agenda.

To progress on their analytics journey, hoteliers will need to focus on ways to generate insights from their technology investments, connect the insights to the relevant processes, and then link them to tangible business outcomes. Those, who implement business intelligence as an ancillary activity to a routine and integral part of doing business will make it to the finishing line faster than others.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Why hotels can’t afford to ignore business intelligence in 2015- Part 1

There are two types business organizations today – one who rely on incorporate business intelligence in their decision making process and another who still relies on ‘gut’ feeling. At a time when we live in a perpetual state of hyper-competition, organizations which are using business intelligence to get key insights are responding more quickly to correct things that may be problematic.

Business analysts predict that bad data or poor data quality costs US businesses $600 billion annually. According to Gartner, poor data quality is a primary reason for 40% of all business initiatives failing to achieve their targeted benefits. With advanced analytics, they can improve their revenue by 10 – 20%.


Wikipedia defines Business Intelligence as the set of techniques and tools for the transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes. BI makes easy interpretation of large volumes of data which helps businesses identifying new opportunities and implementing an effective strategy based on insights. Sharlock Holmes has summed it up long time back, “Data! Data! Data! I can't make bricks without clay". BI does exactly that – builds insights by placing data at the right place.

Internet has been a great leveler in narrowing the information gap. Today’s customers are empowered with ample sources to get information on almost everything they want to know, social media for peer feedback and mobile connectivity to stay up to date even on the go. To say that we at hospitality industry are finding it challenging to cope up with changing guest behavior would be an understatement. British Airways paid a heavy price when a disgruntled customer bought promoted tweet to complain about their customer service, which became global news. In recent times United Airlines and Air India had to face lot of flak when videos on their customer service went viral in social media.

This constant scrutiny has forced us in the hospitality industry to continuously adjust and refine our marketing strategies. Let’s face it – we are dealing with the multifaceted traveler whose preference changes depending on type of trips. He might not need high-speed internet during his family vacation, but for his business trip that’s an absolute necessity. The way people plan trips is also changing.

Google, which has done a detailed study on consumer’s purchase path, has identified how different marketing channels such as email, social media, display ads, direct search, referrals, paid and organic search add different values to the customer at different stages. Some channels will act more as an assisting interaction, i.e. by building brand awareness – these are the channels which make a customer consider a brand while others will act further downstream, when the customer’s decision and transaction, is made. For hotels it has become imperative to understand guest buying behaviors, price elasticity and changing market dynamics for yielding the optimum rate from the most desired consumer set.

Organizations need to capture information at every stage and correctly analyze it to get the right strategy in place. However this is easier said, that done. In this era of information explosion, hoteliers are overloaded with data, but not enough understanding to map them to business needs. Clearly the problem has shifted to making sense of the data which is far more complicated than gathering information.



This is where business intelligence comes in. Data becomes valuable only after it is shaped into insights, and when those insights inform the key decision processes that lead to better outcomes. We at eRevMax, view business intelligence as something much more than a technology with an ROI; it’s a transformational phenomenon that will fundamentally change how business will be conducted and decisions made.