At its APAC Travel Summit, Facebook released its Measure What Matters Travel Marketing Playbook – a guide for Asia Pacific travel marketers, to help them navigate the complexities of the travel industry’s digital ecosystem.
It comes at a critical time as just last year, Asia Pacific overtook North America as the world’s leading digital travel market, with digital travel sales growing more than 21% in 2017 to reach USD 215.92 billion, according to eMarketer.
With a rapidly growing middle class, Asian travelers are seeking out international destinations more than any other region, according to “The Rising Wave – Understanding South East Asia’s Emerging Middle Class and their digital journey”, with almost half of internet users in Asia travelling abroad at least once per year (GlobalWebIndex). Nearly one in every two internet users in Asia travels abroad at least once a year, the highest proportion of any region in the world.
Thus, the “playbook” is intended to offer advice on best practices for companies to align data with their business goals.
One such method is to reap the rewards of engaging with consumers on their most frequently used channels – messaging services. According to Facebook, over 10 billion messages are sent each month globally, making conversational commerce one of the biggest emerging trends in 2019.
Said Nikhilesh Ponde (Global Travel Strategy and Planning Lead, Facebook), “people in emerging markets are twice as likely as those in mature markets to message a business at least once a month. People increasingly expect businesses to be available via messaging apps. This is a dynamic that travel businesses in Asia Pacific are poised to leverage, given these are mobile-first markets.”
Brands such as Singapore Airlines and MakeMyTrip are among some of the first to use Whatsapp to send customers support and notifications. It gives travel players a channel through which they can not only send across vital information, but develop a more conversational relationship with customers.
Meghan Joseph (Client Partner, Facebook Singapore) added that “Consumers today visit numerous travel-related touch points over a few weeks when making a travel purchase. It’s much easier to make travel decisions when you have a personal and direct conversation – this is something that messaging can enable.”
To address this trend, Facebook launched Flight Ads for Prospecting last month, enabling advertisers to reach people on the social media network who have expressed an intent to travel across all stages of the funnel – from those still in the research stage to those that have already selected their destination and finalising their flights.
A case study:
Virgin Australia was one of the first airlines globally to test the new Flight Ads for Prospecting product to reach customers who have not visited their site or app but have shown travel intent. By leveraging these signals, Virgin Australia was able to deliver highly targeted flight offers to people in the market for booking flights. The airline was able to reach 500,000 people across Facebook and Instagram, achieving a 75% reduction in cost per website purchase and 55% decrease in cost per flight search.
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