ITB Asia News 2019 Review Edition






happiness at

ITB Asia 2019

National tourism authority Visit Finland invited ITB Asia

visitors to find out the secret behind being the happiest

country in the world and to explore the country’s all year

round offering, either on a stopover or a longer stay.

Tin Aung during a

presentation to tour


Automated technology

with personalisation

key to competing with


For traditional travel agents and tour operators, providing

travellers with premium, personalised service remains the best

way to compete with big online enterprises. Tin Aung, CEO of

Sugati Travel believes exceptional service alone is no longer

enough but into digital transformation.

According to STR’s 2019 Traveller

Panel survey the top reasons

travellers choose to book through

an OTA instead of through a

traditional travel agent or tour

operator, are convenience, access

to discounts and promotions, and

the ability to compare deals. OTAs

growing foothold over the market is

in large part due to the increase in

mobile bookings. Mobile bookings

made up 39% of OTA sales,

compared with only 10% for other

suppliers and agents, while 80% of

all last-minute bookings are made

from a mobile.

However, excellent customer

service experiences and word

of mouth recommendations are

where smaller competitors can win

the war.

How can travel agencies and tour

operators compete with such large

scale online companies? According

to Tin Aung, the answer lies in

online technologies.

Accessible anywhere, anytime, a

secure cloud based solution can

add value, give better insights into

business, and help gain efficiencies.

The right technology can not only

help travel businesses compete

with big players, but also win the

loyalty of their customers, build

their brand, and grow their revenue.

The key to a successful digital

transformation is automation. This

requires a sleek, holistic technology

solution that reduces the need

for multiple systems. An end to

end solution is the best way to

simplify your processes and cut out

unnecessary actions. Technology

should help generate and assign

leads, respond to enquiries, quickly

build itineraries, handle customer

bookings, manage your suppliers

and inventory, organise your

payments, and report back to your

team on everything.

The real time-saving efficiencies

for travel agents and tour operators

using systems like Sugati, lie

then in the creation of branded,

personalised itineraries

For the second year in a row,

Finland has been named the

happiest country in the world,

according to the World 2019

Happiness Report. Finns mainly

attribute their happiness to their

close connection with nature.

The country’s many lakes, rivers

and extensive forests provide

pure ingredients and places

for relaxation, and all this can

be enjoyed by both locals and

travelers alike. Finland offers

an alternative to crowded travel

destinations, and seeks to

nurture, conserve and preserve

its natural environment, as

well as the Finnish culture and

lifestyle for years to come.

How to sell then the happiness

concept to Asians? “We just

want to convey to Asian people

a simple message: come

to Finland, slow down and

reconnect with nature with us.

They will see the big difference

of our lifestyle with the hectic

pace of their life here in Asia,”

said Sari Hey, PR & Media

Manager Asia and Australia

for Visit Finland during ITB

Finland has been named the

happiest country in the world

Asia. “I am confident that Asian

travellers will then understand

why we feel happy,” she adds.

A campaign called “Rent a Finn”

is an original response to the

need of resourcing for travellers

looking for authenticity, local

experience and the search

of serene nature. Finland

proposed during the year the

possibility for visitors to meet

and live with Finns and to

discover Finnish nature with a

local guide. “The program will

be finished by year end and will

be reviewed in a different way,”

says Sari Hey.

Finland is turning increasingly

popular for Asian travellers.

During the first eight months,

Asian arrivals grew by 10%

to reach 780,500 nights. The

fastest growing market in

Southeast Asia was Malaysia,

up by 76%, followed by

Thailand, up by 26%

© Lauri Rotko

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019

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