Last year, WIT celebrated its “Little Big 10” anniversary, marking the end of one cycle. As it enters a fresh cycle, it recognises the new dawn that is rising for travel and tourism across Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
Here’s our take on the over-arching trends shaping the new dawn.
1. The customer goes mobile. The web becomes invisible. This changes everything. It puts the traveller at the centre. In APAC and the Middle East, where smartphone penetration is highest and growing, this idea is the game-changer of the new dawn.
2. OTAs no longer just look like OTAs. The big are getting bigger. Consolidation is happening faster than we can say it. Wotif sold. Travelocity sold. To one company. Expedia. Priceline is gobbling up seemingly anything it sees in its path. Open Table – will that become the OTA of restaurants? What’s the new horizon for OTAs in the new dawn of consolidation and expansion?
3. Meta-search no longer just looks like meta-search. Call it “assisted” or “facilitated” booking but meta’s firmly entrenched in the purchase funnel. Consolidation has also happened and will continue to happen. Priceline and Kayak. Expedia and Trivago. TripAdvisor, the monster of reviews and now display by price. Who will rule, who will lose in the new dawn?
4. Monsters are coming into travel. Amazon. Alibaba. Facebook. Google. Apple. To name a few. How will they change the game for the incumbent giants, the independents and the locals in their respective markets? Horizontal or vertical? Global or local? These questions take on even more import in the new dawn.
5. The suppliers’ dilemma - as the OTAs get stronger, meta-search consolidates, monsters enter and more layers are added to the distribution value chain, will travel suppliers become ever more distant from their customers? High Tech vs High Touch? Variety vs Loyalty? Big Data vs Customer Intimacy?
6. Social goes mainstream. Social networks become media plays. For the first time, there’s an alternative, viable customer acquisition channel, beyond search. Hail the new dawn in marketing. If you’re not doing it, you’re losing it.
7. The sharing economy picks up pace. A changing social and political landscape in APAC and Middle East gives rise to a new kind of citizen. Models like Airbnb and Uber changing the way people work, share and play in the new dawn.
8. Low cost, full speed ahead. Low cost airlines changed travel and tourism in South-east Asia in the last decade. In the next, they will transform North Asia and the Middle East. The democratisation of travel will spur growth and change the way consumers buy travel in the new dawn.
9. Start-up Fervour - from Korea to Dubai to Bali, start-ups will continue to drive change and innovation in travel. Spurred on by their dreams, obsessions and naivete, they all want to make their mark in the new dawn. The bounty is huge – 1.138 billion of us travelled in 2014, according to the World Tourism Organisation. The price could be high but no guts, no glory.
10. InstaGen: Finally, a young, social, mobile population across APAC and the Middle East is hungry and impatient for change and their new dawn.
WIT Japan & North Asia will examine these trends and place them in the regional and local context.
In WIT signature style, we will blend global knowledge and local insights to get at the real stories that are shaping the new dawn so that you walk away with actionable ideas and valuable insights as you grow your business in one of the most exciting and dynamic regions of the world.
Here’s why it is exciting.
1. This is being hailed as the decade for North Asia travel as a convergence of factors creates transformation in the markets.
2. China’s outbound travel is at inflexion point, Taiwan was the fastest growing inbound destination in the world last year, Hong Kong is seeing interesting start-up activity, online travel in South Korea is seeing fast traction and Japan saw a nearly 30% growth in inbound arrivals in 2014, according to the latest JNTO figures.
3. The region is ripe for disruption and innovation. Low cost airlines now account for just about 10% of total air capacity in the region – imagine the potential for growth in terms of stimulating the market – and how they will change the way people book and travel.
4. While the markets are diverse – from a matured Japan outbound market to the newly emerging Chinese traveller – the one common characteristic is high mobile adoption. Japan, years ahead of everyone else, South Korea and China catching up; Taiwan and Hong Kong, long dominated by traditional players, changing slowly but surely.
The two-day event will look at both the start-up scene during the Bootcamp on June 4 and the trends and opportunities in the wider market arena.
About WIT Japan
WIT Japan is the regional edition of the signature WIT conference, based in Singapore. Held for the last 11 years, it is the largest online travel gathering in Asia Pacific and brings together global and regional leaders to discuss the future of online travel.
WIT Japan & North Asia will be held in Tokyo on June 4 & 5, 2015. This is the fourth edition of WIT to be held in Tokyo and marks the first time the conference is being expanded to cover the wider North Asian region. The conference attracted close to 400 delegates in 2014 and featured an opening video address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
WIT Japan & North Asia is organised jointly by Singapore-based WIT and WIT Japan Alumni, led by Kei Shibata, CEO of Venture Republic Inc. (travel.jp/ hotel.jp) and Aya Aso, CEO of AGORA Hospitalities.
Who should attend:
• Travel and tourism companies planning to incorporate technology into their offerings or enhance their online tools
• Online and offline travel agencies, tour operators and wholesalers
• Travel integrators
• Online search engines
• Tourism boards
• Suppliers of online and mobile travel programmes and applications
• Print, broadcast and online media
• Travel and tourism professionals from outside the region, who want to learn about Indonesian travel and its opportunities
• Students, working professionals and entrepreneurs looking for careers or start-up opportunities in the travel and tourism industry
A Full WIT Japan ticket includes:
• Entry to the Bootcamp and Main Conference
• All social events related to WIT Japan
＜Conference Registration Fee＞
Register by February 28, 2015: USD 300.00
Register by March 31, 2015: USD 400.00
Register by April 30, 2015: USD 500.00
Register by May 31, 2015: USD 600.00
Register from June 1, 2015: USD 700.00