Prompt: How can we understand and anticipate the needs of the evolving consumer? Has technology enabled consumer power, or are consumer needs driving technological change? Some of the world’s biggest companies were not around even ten years ago but have flourished by giving consumers what they want. How can global Travel & Tourism businesses stay a step ahead of consumer trends?
Moderator: Philip C. Wolf, Founder and Chairman, PhoCusWright Inc Two sides of travel–terrestrial (infrastructure) and distribution.
Speakers and Panelists: Geoff Ramsey (CEO and Co-Founder, eMarketer), Philip C. Wolf (Founder and Chairman, PhoCusWright Inc), Martin Sorrell (CEO, WPP Group), Andrew McEvoy (Managing Director, Tourism Australia), CC Zhuang (CEO, Qunar), Rossi Ralenkotter (Chair of US Travel Association; President & CEO, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority), Sadahiko Oda (Chairman and C.E.O., KAGAYA Hotels Corporation), Deepak Ohri (CEO, lebua Hotels and Resorts),
Philip C. Wolf (Founder and Chairman, PhoCusWright Inc), Deep Kalra (Founder & Chief Executive Officer, MakeMyTrip (India) Private Limited), Barney Harford (CEO, Orbitz Worldwide), Tom Klein (President, Sabre Holdings), and David Pavelko (Head of Travel, Google Inc).
Geoff Ramsey: Three challenges that eMarketers place–a lot of misinformation from convoluted Internet. First, be aware the hype. Second, it’s better to get a complete picture. Third,
understand the “technology stack.” Tech stack to mean activities, platforms and devices. Can you keep up? Today’s empowered consumer–skeptical, resistant, lack of trust. Objective as an eMarketer: Push marketing to “interrupt” to sell something. Magnetic content- what attracts consumers to your brand? Key point [on magnetic content] is attraction, not distraction. Mobile penetration: smartphones make all the difference, smartphone users are active with travel shopping and purchasing. Three critical factors to keep in mind with mobile: shift the power even more towards the consumer; bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds; and is a highly personal channel. One thirdnis already online, and 39% will be by 2016. Mobile has reached 56% of the gone, and will reach two-thirds by 2016. The younger generation is way more likely to be connected digitally, and they spend a lot more time on activities like social
CC Zhuang: Three key features of young Chinese travel consumers: Confident–don’t prefer to use tours groups, no FITs,; use Internet (digital generation; and use mobile.
Rossi Ralenkotter: We utilize social media to communicate our message. It’s all about the mindset with the essence of the brand. The product has to be changing otherwise it becomes stagnant. Everything we do is research-driven–keep looking to see what customers want. We’ve learned that there are two types of customers. The “core customers” know more about Vegas than we do. The “persuadable customers” need to be given more reasons to come to Vegas.
Sadahiko Oda: The business of marketing is to solve problems what the consumers have. Satisfaction based on enrichment of the mind. You really have to experience the local culture, that is where we are at today. Strengthen bond with family and friends. Go out on a trip to heal yourself.
Deepak Ohri: The reality in the corporate world is that we do not understand the consumers. Social media is more a education process. Micro-segmentation is the kind of research that is necessary to understand the consumer. Not about the money, but the value proposition of the product. You learn from mistakes, and make improvements. Don’t start making excuses or explanations.
Deep Kalra: I’m a big believer in research. W do not take any more without research, though it will not tell you what to do. Reseatch will not tell you that you should start online travel in INdia. That is something you have to figure out.
Barney Harford: Our main focus is building our business.
Tom Klein: Spend more on the B2B side, the macro level.
David Pavelko: We make sure that we provide the in-country experience. The big thing for us is concept. The big challenge is how do you market seamless through the four-screen devices.