Asia – the emerging market

Asia is a hot travel destination and in due deference, the upcoming Travel Distribution Summit Asia will be hosted in Singapore. Barriers are breaking down and people are getting more comfortable booking travel on the Internet in emerging supereconomies like India and China.

Atleast India has a lot of catching up to do in online travel…..

– Majority of the Indian population still does not have access to the Internet
– High-speed Internet is still a luxury commodity
– Indians have well-entrenched habits that take decades to break. In travel, the travel agent still holds sway. Indians prefer face-to-face interaction and bonds of trust.
– Unlike the US, there are more holidays per year and more opportunities to plan vacations. However, travel is still a complicated, high-value purchase in India just as elsewhere. Travel sites should be able to step into the shoes of offline travel agents which involves a good deal of handholding until the day of the trip.
– With more and more Indians living abroad, there exists a huge opportunity to make travel abroad easier for families and visiting friends. So also, the sizeable # of students coming to the US for higher studies. However, foreign travel is still a cumbersome process requiring long lead times.
– Unlike the US, the family rather than the individual is the center of all activities. Hence, travel is less likely to be an an “escape” and more a “a rich sensory experience, complete with family and friends.

Online travel was until recently a sleeping giant in India. E-commerce is another. The potential of the holiday shopping market in India remains largely untapped though Indians celebrate more festivals than most peoples and gifting is an integral part of festivities. No CyberMonday in India, yet!

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.