About the author
Antoine Gross is the general manager of Southeast Asia for impact.com, the
world’s leading partnership management platform that transforms the way
brands manage and optimise all types of partnerships. Antoine has over
16 years of experience in marketing and technology and is responsible
for spearheading business development, marketing, sales and account
management, with the aim to create transformational growth for
impact.com’s clients in Southeast Asia.
No industry was hit harder by the global pandemic than travel and hospitality, but there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel. After two years of record lows, tourist arrivals and occupancy rates are picking up speed thanks to
easing restrictions and border reopenings worldwide.
According to travel analytics firm ForwardKeys, international airline bookings to the region reached 38% of pre-pandemic levels by late March 2022, compared to less than 10% at the start
of the year.
In Southeast Asia, the pace of recovery has been slower, but the signs still look promising. In April 2022, Google reported rapid upsurges in inbound and outbound travel demand for destinations across Southeast Asia based on
search volume. In the case of the Philippines, demand even outstripped 2019 levels.
That being said, it’s not all plain sailing from here on out.
Changing market, new challenges
With high inflation signifying that the world is heading towards recession, operation and advertising costs are going to get a lot more expensive for travel brands. Photo Credit: GettyImages/gustavofrazao
While travel demand is definitely picking up, economic advisors have warned that a potential economic recession may be on the horizon. Many of the biggest players in travel and hospitality remain optimistic, but brands may need to be more prudent about
the marketing investments they intend to make.
Skyrocketing demand for paid placements and digital ads amongst travel and hospitality providers will stretch already tight budgets even further. According to a Zenith Media report, travel ad
spend will grow up to six times faster than the ad market as a whole from 2021 to 2023, while spending on digital advertising will balloon from 63% of budgets in 2020 to 70% in 2023. With so many brands competing for limited digital ad space, costs
per acquisition will likely rise steeply, making it even more difficult to secure healthy returns on investment.
Then there’s the question of whether ads are still working as well as they used to. According to Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer,
just 8% of people worldwide automatically believe the information in ads to be true, while 21% never trust ads under any circumstance. 37% of global internet users now use ad-blocking software, with Southeast Asian nations having some of the highest
adblocking penetration rates in the world.
In other words, things are looking up, but they definitely aren’t returning to normal. So how should the likes of hotels, tour operators and booking sites adapt to these new challenges? With affiliate partnerships, of course.
Keep growing through good times and bad with affiliate partnerships
Travel players banded together to weather the Covid-19 storm, and establishing the right partnerships will once again continue to prove effective in an economic crisis. Photo Credit: GettyImages/kieferpix
Essentially, affiliate partnerships are performance-based collaborations between a brand and another individual or business, such as an influencer, affiliate or publisher. Partners tap on established relationships of trust to introduce, influence, or persuade consumers to purchase one of the products or
services in return for a commission. When done right, affiliate partnerships bring about a whole range of benefits, including sustainable growth, increased brand awareness and improved customer trust, all while keeping costs down.
partnerships aren’t an entirely new concept — they’ve been around for a while. It’s pretty common, for instance, for an airline to partner with a hotel or booking site to offer combined flight and accommodation packages. What is new, however, is the
strategy of working with not just multiple partners but also multiple types of partners simultaneously.
“Brands have often been focused on mega-affiliates such as coupon or comparison sites,” says Edwina Sunario, digital marketing specialist
at Allianz Partners. “But today, things have changed. The customer purchase decision journey has become more complex. That’s why we see the emergence of affiliates like bloggers and influencers that produce value in much more targeted customer segments.”
Allianz Partners has
started working with travel bloggers to promote their travel insurance policies. Since Covid-related health concerns are still lingering on most travellers’ minds, travellers searching for the right type of travel insurance are likely to come across
and be influenced by a blog recommending Allianz’s offerings over its competitors.
After joining forces with an array of community-driven partnership types, including influencers, content creators, mobile apps, and brand partners, ANZ travel
experience provider Big Red Group (BRG) similarly gained access to new, relevant and highly engaged audiences.
Automation and technology to accelerate partnership-driven growth
Just as the travel sector pivoted to digitalisation to meet the changing needs of travellers, the industry must once again tap on the benefits of tech in a new world order where partnerships are key. Photo Credit: GettyImages/metamorworks
When measuring, tracking and managing their vast networks of partners, both Allianz Partners and BRG relied on impact.com’s partnership management platform to deliver the goods.
“With the help of impact.com, we were able to integrate and scale up our partnership program into a single ecosystem with automated contracting and payment, as well as real-time reports,” Allianz Partners’ Edwina Sunario shares.
deploying impact.com meant gaining visibility and control over all stages of the customer journey. The ability to clearly measure and optimise the value of each of
their partners led to a 117% increase in return on ad spend year-on-year and a 32% increase in partnerships revenue after just five months.
When the pandemic struck, the travel and hospitality industry learnt to roll with the punches. Now brands
like Allianz and BRG continue to embody that spirit of adaptability by embracing affiliate partnerships.
Affiliate partnerships offer a clear blueprint for adapting to the harsh realities of travel amidst a challenging economic climate that
combines growth, reach and profitability into a single package. To find out more of how to further tap onto these new opportunities, get in touch with the impact.com team at email@example.com. An exciting journey of partnerships-driven growth awaits.
This article is brought to you by impact.com.