Travel TechnologyDigital travel solutions especially important for Asia Pacific, primed to become the fastest growing online travel market this year.

Future of travel planning? It’s chat-powered customer service

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Future of travel planning? It’s chat-powered customer service
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The finding by Phocuswright and Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) is particularly significant as more travellers are going digital to research and book travel.

Chat-powered customer service will increasingly become integral to travel planning in the future, according to the ‘2017 Phocus Forward: The Year Ahead in Digital Travel’.

The finding by Phocuswright and Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) is particularly significant as more travellers are going digital to research and book travel. 

Asia Pacific is expected to be one of the fastest growing markets for online travel, led by China that has registered a significant growth in mobile bookings. Based on 2016 data, more than half (53%) of online travel bookings in China are already made on mobile phones. 

In India and Indonesia with less-entrenched desktop habits, the research also predicts it’s likely mobile will overtake desktop bookings more quickly there than in the U.S. and Europe.

Younger travellers, in particular, show a preference for booking Hotel & Lodging with OTAs, contributing to OTA performance in countries in the Middle East and Asia Pacific with high shares of young travellers.

From the supplier side, airlines are showing renewed focus on online distribution and digital retailing even as Asia Pacific remains underpenetrated for online bookings. This is, however, set to change as half of air bookings are projected to be online by 2020 in Asia Pacific.

In addition, in-destination travel activities, worth US$46 billion in Asia Pacific, are also a huge untapped opportunity and becoming a priority for travel’s biggest players. 

“For travel providers, this research underlines that it’s crucial to be present on mobile Asia Pacific, and particularly in China, from the early stages of the booking process– this is where young travellers will be inspired, do their research and most likely plan and book their trips,” remarked Ariane Gorin, senior vice president and general manager, EAN.

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