This is a first of what will be a series of newsletter on the ongoings around travel innovation with a slant on Asia Pacific.
The intent is to keep it exec-level and avoid “TL;DR”, something that can be digested quickly but still provides a birds-eye view of the changing travel innovation landscape.
So without further ado….
Travel Innovation in the news
Not specific to Asia but still big to the travel industry, the Goliaths of the digital gatekeepers are themselves stepping into the travel arena….
- Google is combining all its travel planning features – Google Flights, Google hotels search, and more — under a singular landing page aptly called Trips. Google also announced recently that it is killing the Google Trips mobile app!
- Amazon (who has previously dabbled in destination services with Amazon Local) is taking a stab at travel again offering domestic flights in India powered by online travel agency Cleartrip. (also check out the post here on Twitter).
A look at recent investment in travel innovation…
Travel & Tourism is taking a big proportion of the innovation investment purse and Asia is among the leading regions. The following articles come together to provide an overview of where travel investment is coming from and where it is going:
- BCG’s article on “ Innovation in Travel Must Put the Traveler First” indicated that after taking out the disproportional unicorns (AirBnB , Virgin Galactic, OYO, etc.), travel investment is in a decline and has shifted from North America to Asia.
- Lufthansa Innovation Hub’s March 14, 2019 article “AI to analyze the earnings calls of airlines” flatly stated that “Wall Street doesn’t put any emphasis on ‘digital’ in the aviation context”. They further assert that “the bulk of Wall Street’s other 1,542 questions and comments focused on short-term financial metrics (in particular profitability) with little apparent interest in long-term strategy.“
- CB Insights Jan 2018 review of “ State Of Travel Tech” recaps many of the trends and investments above into a holistic view.
- PhocusWright provided an always thorough look at 2018 year in review, with a forecast into the hot 25 Startups for 2019.
…. and the footprint of travel innovation in Asia is growing….
- A 2018 Google & Temasek Study on online spend in Southeast Asia estimated that by 2025 Online Travel will account for more than a third, or US $76 Billion, of an of an overall US$197 billion of online spend.
- Plug and Play Travel has launched in Singapore to bridge gap between innovators and corporations and already held their first event in May (see below).
- Lufthansa Innovation Hub also has opened an office in Singapore and has hit the ground running with recruitment.
- SouthEast Asia’s own home-grown Traveloka received a whopping $420m investment led by Singapore’s GIC sovereign wealth fund. The online flight & hotel booking website has also taken on a unique retail approach by integrating with Indonesia’s e-commerce platform Shopee to sell flights.
- Singapore Airlines’ launched their innovation lab aka KrisLab earlier this year and they have been quite busy supporting external events as well as kicking off their own SIA accelerator programme with F6S.
- Tony Fernandes’ AirAsia launches RedBeat Ventures and a strategic partnership with 500 Startups
- While in China, CTrip Group’s Oasis Labs has signed a strategic partnership with Plug and Play.
Travel & Innovation Events in Asia Pacific
Always a good way to keep up-to-date and meet people face-to-face in the travel industry and in the Asia Pacific region…
Events recently wrapped up:
- Aviation Festival Asia by Terrapin (27-28 Feb 2019 / Singapore)
- Digital Travel APAC (01-03 April 2019 / Singapore)
- ITB China (15-17 May 2019, Shanghai, China)
Included the 2019 ITB China Startup Award finalists
- Echelon Asia (23-24 May 2019 / Singapore) – Although mainly a Southeast Asia startup event, it was well represented by travel including a panel led by Web In Travel:
- Skift Forum Asia (27 May 2019, Singapore)
- Plug & Play Asia Pacific Event ( 29 May 2019/ Singapore) with a strong travel industry representation from OAG, Changi Airport, Singapore Airlines, and Web In Travel
- Arival In-Destination Travel Event (24 – 26 June, 2019 / Bangkok, Thailand)
- TravelDaily Conference & Digital Travel Show (27-29 August 2019, Shanghai, China)
- Web In Travel – Singapore (15 October 2019, Singapore)
- ITB Asia (16-18 October 2019, Singapore)
- Future Travel Experience – Asia (12-13 November 2019, Singapore)
- CAPA Asia Aviation Summit (14-15 Nov 2019, Singapore)
Other Notable Events:
- IATA NDC/Cargo OneRecord Hackathon (21-23 June 2019, Madrid, Spain)
- Phocuswright Travel Innovation Conference (19-21 November, 2019, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida)
Thanks for checking this out!
You can expect to see the next quarterly newsletter in the upcoming months, so sign up here!
In the meantime, for the latest in travel innovation, you can find more (and me) on Twitter .