THE Wrap is a
round-up of news in the travel and technology industries, and to keep track of
developments in these sectors as businesses adapt and reset to meet challenges
in the era of coronavirus.
Singapore tourism survives a tough 2020 with resilience and reinvention
The Singapore tourism sector has the toughest year on record in 2020 but the industry fought back by reimaging its offerings and experiences, while supporting nationwide efforts to tackle the Covid pandemic.
“Singapore’s tourism sector has had to fight for survival in 2020,” stated Keith Tan, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) chief executive, in a detailed review from the tourism body to mark the one-year anniversary of the Covid outbreak.
businesses have displayed immense resilience and adaptability throughout this
difficult period, reinventing their business models and leveraging technology
to find solutions in a Covid-19 world.”
Unprecedented global travel restrictions and border closures saw a sharp dip in both visitor arrivals and tourism receipts to Singapore. Visitor arrivals fell by 85.7% to 2.7 million (mostly within the first two months of 2020), while tourism receipts fell by 78.4% to S$4.4 billion in the first three quarters of the same year.
STB revealed that despite the difficult times tourism businesses in the city-state bandied together to keep the sector going and helping to keep jobs through various intiatives and campaigns.
The STB statement detailed these collaborative efforts in 2020 (read the full details here). Following is a snapshot of some of these efforts:
- Hotels offered their properties for various accommodation purposes; more than 70 have served as Stay-Home Notice Dedicated Facilities (SDFs) since March.
- Genting Cruise Lines and SATS-Creuers Cruise Services provided foreign worker dormitory on their ships as accommodation for thousands of workers who had recovered from Covid.
- Tourist guides, with their people and language skills, have stepped up as Safe Distancing Ambassadors (SDAs), with 150 deployed at tourism precincts, hotels and other tourism establishments since the start of the pandemic. In the coming months STB expects the number to grow to over 250 as business and leisure events gradually resume.
Tan expressed his gratitude to the industry players “for their commitment to keep Singaporeans safe and well”. He added that STB remains confident in the city-state’s position as “one of the world’s safest and most attractive leisure and business destination, and the long-term prospects of Singapore’s tourism sector.”
international travel is unlikely to resume in a major way in 2021, STB will
continue standing together with our industry partners to prepare for recovery
and to start building a better and more sustainable future for tourism,” he
STB has also unveiled a series of programmes and partnerships to accelerate recovery, rebuild for the future and support transformation:
- Setting up the Tourism Recovery Action Task Force (TRAC), comprising tourism leaders from both the private and public sectors to develop and implement joint recovery strategies.
- Formation of the Alliance for Action on Enabling Safe and Innovative Visitor Experiences under the Emerging Stronger Taskforce (EST) to explore new ways to facilitate safe and innovative visitor experiences in a Covid environment.
- Collaboration with the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS) and Enterprise Singapore to launch the Event Industry Resilience Roadmap.
- Working with the Singapore Hotel Association to support the hotels industry’s efforts in upskilling their workers.
- Launched a S$20 million Marketing Partnership Programme (MPP) to support marketing efforts by tourism businesses to build demand. Alongside this are the Singapore Stories Content Fund (SGSCF) to encourage content creators to create compelling stories about Singapore, as well as the Business Improvement Fund (BIF) and the TIP-iT scheme motivate tourism businesses to innovate and adapt.
- Development of tools to further accelerate the pace of industry transformation, including the Tourism Transformation Index (TXI), and the Singapore Tourism Analytics Network (Stan).
STB opines that
even with the development of several vaccines, it will take time for mass
leisure travel and traveller confidence to return. It expects expect tourism
arrivals and tourism receipts to remain weak in 2021.
The tourism board
said it would continue to support tourism businesses to innovate to meet
evolving consumer needs and emerging travel trends.
D-EDGE launches Fusion, adds a new hotel partner
D-EDGE Hospitality Solutions has designed a new range of 100% e-commerce websites for hotels called Fusion.
Described as “a new generation of hotel websites” Fusion was developed using the most recent e-commerce codes, offering visitor “a seamless booking experience and total immersion into the hotel’s brand universe” when visiting the website, said D-EDGE in a statement.
It added that the
name Fusion is “to underline the perfect integration between the navigation of
the reservation process and the brand’s universe.” The range offers hoteliers
the same features as those available on the sites of the biggest e-commerce
- Seamless integration of reservations: The customer is never redirected to another page to make their reservation unlike current hotel industry practices, remaining on the hotel site with zero navigation breaks.
- Brand universe enhanced: The deep integration of the reservation process allows the hotelier to offer a customer experience that fits their brand universe 100%; three different types of navigation offered at launch to suit the hotel’s positioning.
- Optimised customer experience: The traveller can find all the conditions relating to their purchase in their basket in a clear, transparent way.
According to D-EDGE, another innovation in its latest offering is the economic model. The hotelier does not have to pay for the entire site on delivery but on a monthly basis, smoothing out the investment.
Francis Louis Passerini, director of D-EDGE Web Studios, said the traveller is “completely immersed in the brand’s universe” from the first contact with the hotel website. He believes “this new concept has come at a moment of ever increasing need for a direct selling strategy and when hotels are facing a huge conversion challenge.”
Watch the video on how Fusion works here.
In a related development H.I.S Hotel Holdings Co. has engaged D-EDGE to ramp up its presence and establish its technology infrastructure building blocks for its first new-build hotel in Seoul – Henn na Hotel Seoul Myeong dong scheduled to open on August 1, 2021 (reservations now open).
D-EDGE said it would assist the hotel with an online presence, traffic generation, website efficiency and conversion.
It added that the website “is developed in different languages to maximise the click-through ratio to the booking engine and together with the digital marketing programmes are designed to precipitate the hotel’s presence internationally to attract inbound travellers.” It will receive bookings with connectivity to the payment gateway to complete the transaction.
“As innovation and
evolution is part of our values, re-envisioning hotel operation for the
pandemic and beyond drives our brand concept of being ‘A hotel that never stops
evolving,’” said Miyamoto of H.I.S Hotel Holdings.
“Having been conferred the Guinness World Records certification as the first hotel with working robots in Japan we incorporated robots technology, as well as a mobile phone check-in system for guests to receive the room key through their mobile phones in our hotel in Seoul.”
Christine Tan, D-EDGE managing director for Asia Pacific, noted that apart from the booking process and digital marketing solutions to accelerate the hotel’s presence in the global and domestic markets through the newly developed website, her company will also provide local support based in Seoul.
Fliggy implements Amadeus technology to personalise offers on platform
Fliggy, Alibaba’s online travel platform, has extended its agreement with Amadeus to offer more customised offers and services to travellers
agreement allows Fliggy to leverage Amadeus’search and assisted booking
technology – MetaConnect – to improve
the user experience by making searching and booking faster on mobile, tablet and
Fliggy said the
partnership enables the platform to work with travel sellers to target and
engage travellers with personalised offers and
create more seamless travel experiences by addressing their changing
Amadeus, since its collaboration with Fliggy in 2015 the Hangzhou-based travel
platform has seen a steady growth of bookings, now servicing more than 100,000
The travel technology provider added that its “advanced search technology has also been critical in supporting high volumes of traffic and transactions on Fliggy’s platform during China’s ‘Double Eleven’ shopping festival each year.”
• Featured image credit (Helix dridge/DNA bridge at Marina Bay, Singapore): [email protected]/Getty Images
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