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Eastern Promise - How to manage your hotel program in Asia-Pacific

June 13, 2019

Photo: Kevin Grieve

We all know that Asia Pacific (APAC) is the fastest growing region in the world. Incredibly it accounts for two-thirds of total global growth, which means many companies will be increasing their travel to and within the region. The problem is that managing travel in APAC is probably more complicated than in any other region in the world.

Below are some tips that will help travel managers better understand and respond to the complexities that await them when managing travel in this region.

Mobile adoption is high in China

98% of Chinese internet users access it via mobile, and 90% of CWT client bookings in China are made online or with mobile booking platforms. To support this high mobile usage, it’s important that you or your travel management company is partnered with a Chinese-based travel technology company such as TravelSky. Despite China’s high adoption, not all of APAC is on the same page.

Payment is complex

While the Chinese increasingly use their phones for everything, it’s especially important to appreciate the widespread use of mobile pay. There are restaurants that only accept mobile pay, and even the street vendors prefer payment via mobile phone. It may be necessary to have travelers in the region set up WeChat Pay or Alipay, or visitors to the region may have to rely on a local to pay for meals and taxis.

Again, despite this high mobile pay adoption in China, secondary and tertiary cities in other countries will only accept cash. Setting per diems for food and taxis may be a necessity in these areas.

GDSs aren’t sufficient for Australia

90% of business travel in Australia is to major cities, but 10% of travel is to smaller cities and towns with limited supply of any type. These areas present problems for hotel programs that rely solely on the GDS. RoomIt can fill these gaps in coverage by adding content from third parties. The results have been very promising as one client, for example, saw their hotel attach rate within Australia increase by nearly 10%.

Some countries pose a high travel risk

Some countries and parts of a number of other countries within Asia and the South Pacific come with high travel risks or government warnings.

For example, Myanmar and portions of the South Pacific nations present high travel risk to travelers. Most of India is deemed safe, but parts of the country still rank as unsafe for women traveling alone. 

Some travel safety tips:

  • Learn local customs and etiquette
  • If you can, start and end your days early to avoid being out at night
  • Avoid street food and tap water in places with low hygiene standards
  • If taking the train, purchase the highest-class train tickets in advance

Need tips for managing hotel programs in APAC? Check out our guide here.


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