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We talk tourism in Singapore, emerging trends and more with Traveloka’s Pascal Gekko

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Indonesian unicorn Traveloka successfully launched its iconic EPIC Sale, a first in Singapore, where users were treated to up to 80% markdowns on travel, lifestyle and hospitality bundles. Interestingly, in this 7-day campaign, Traveloka boosted peak traffic uplift of up to 65 times, over 50k livestream viewers, up to 9 times transaction uplift and 7 times total App downloads! Traveloka has also recorded a surge of up to 10 times in booking for Hotels, Attractions and Tours, indicating a strong urge among Singaporeans to explore the Lion City.

Through its data analysis, Traveloka uncovered that Singaporeans look for flexibility in brands to provide a better user experience through a combination of coupons stacking and time-bound promotions. 

We spoke to Pascal Gekko, Head of International Accommodation, Traveloka to learn more about Travelok’s EPIC sale, the current tourism scene in Singapore and the future of travel.

TVM: How has the EPIC sale helped in accelerating Singapore’s and the region’s Tourism Sector post-COVID-19?

PG: As a lifestyle super-app in Southeast Asia, we believe that innovation and collaboration are keys to accelerating the recovery of the tourism and travel industry.

As the first Traveloka Singapore’s iconic sale program, we brought together more than 50 partners to take part in this campaign. Aiming at boosting domestic tourism, while at the same time promoting the safe way to do holiday, this campaign has successfully boosted our partners’ booking traffic up to 10 times compared to the normal period. Moving forward, we will continue to look for opportunities where we can contribute to the government’s development agenda.

TVM: Based on Traveloka’s internal data, what are some of the things concluded about Singaporean’s user behaviour, especially during the pandemic?

PG: At Traveloka, we perpetually study our customer behaviour, in which this becomes our baseline in honing our products and services. We discovered that 55% of the customers are more likely to take staycations than they did before. Now more than ever the emphasis is on family bonding and resting and relaxing with loved ones.

Given the circumstances, we found that there is a shift in Singaporean’s behaviour to enjoy their holiday. Visiting local destinations, attractions and tours as well as relishing staycation experience are becoming more popular these days. In addition, the customers could experience a well-rounded interesting package for staycation with a wide array of offers provided by the accommodation partners. We see such increment from our users who amplify this package offers to also utilize dining credit at 4 and 5 stars hotels, special tea time or drinks, have a relaxation day in a spa, and entertainments.  

TVM: What are some of the prominent trends and developments within Singapore’s tourism sector?

PG: Based on our internal data, we see a quite similar pattern across countries. Specifically for Singapore, we see the increased demand on staycation and travel with shorter distance, which are now becoming the trends among Singaporean customers.

From the accommodation booking pattern, we found that 50% of customers are looking for 5-star hotel stay experiences, while 37% of them are also enjoying a 4-star hotel. In addition, 23% of customers made their booking at least a week in advance, with most of them utilizing the long weekend and Singapore’s public holidays’ momentum.

We also discovered that outdoor activities still become one of the options for customers to refresh their mind. 41% of customers prefer to explore flora & fauna types of activities (e.g, zoo, gardens), while 25% of customers are enjoying outdoor theme parks. 

Our internal findings recorded that the COVID-19’s safety measure (health protocols) placed as one of the most important factors when planning a trip.

TVM: What does the 6-month extension of The SingapoRediscovers Vouchers scheme mean for Traveloka and the tourism industry in Singapore for 2021?

PG: We see that SingapoRediscovers Vouchers scheme is one of the important initiatives for us to reach more customers in the market while at the same time taking an active role in encouraging local tourism, and supporting home-grown businesses, which we hope could create a significant impact in the tourism industry recovery.

TVM: What are the measures taken by Traveloka to keep the company afloat amidst this pandemic?

PG: As a lifestyle super-app that puts innovations at the forefront, we are committed to giving the best experience to our users in any situation. We see the pandemic as an opportunity for us to innovate and to try new business ideas which previously might not have been on our radar.

During the pandemic, we transformed services and rolled out several innovations to cater to the shifting needs and behaviours of our users and at the same time supporting our partners in navigating the market. In Indonesia for example, we are introducing Traveloka Clean Partners (certified Traveloka’s partner with highest clean and health protocols), COVID-19 Tests product, Online Xperience (both available in Traveloka Xperience), Livestream program, etc.

Specifically for Singapore, we are not only providing exciting offers, but we also armed our products with compelling features, such as CleanAccommodation to comply with the SG Clean standard as well as livestream program since December 2020 that provides various exciting contents and promotions that can be accessed via the Traveloka app and Traveloka social media accounts to support our partners in maintaining their business operations. Not only that, but we also provide flexibility in their booking as well as optimizing payment methods with our features, such as Pay Upon Check-In for hotel booking.

We also complete our app homepage to include various inspirational write-ups that might be useful to inspire our users to plan their upcoming journey and activities. 

TVM: What are Traveloka’s plans to continue to encourage people to use the vouchers on their platforms?

PG: For the second leg of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers scheme, we will continue to work hand in hand with our existing partners and merchants to establish more attractive offers and inspire more domestic tourism. In parallel, we also plan to onboard more merchants so that the customers from varied groups are having a broad range of products and services that they can choose from.

TVM: Do people redeem most on staycations? Which tourist attractions get the most redemption?

PG: We discovered that staycation still gained the most traction with Pan Pacific Singapore, Mandarin Orchard Singapore and PARKROYAL Collection Pickering Singapore as the top 3 favourite hotels. While, Universal Studio Singapore, Singapore DUCK Tours, and Garden by the Bay are still listed as the top 3 favourite things-to-do preferred by our users. 

TVM: Where does the travel industry stand given the circumstances with no signs of international travel opening up any time soon?

PG: We want to enrich people’s lives by empowering people to discover the world around them, it does not mean to go a thousand miles, it could be as simple as discovering local delicacies and attractions within your city. 

TVM: What role does travel, local or beyond, play in helping people with their mental health during these trying times?

PG: For most people, travelling can promote happiness and helps you take your mind off stressful situations. Travelling is not always going on a trip from destination A to destination B. You can do it with your loved ones by exploring new places around the city, which can also give you a fresh start, or even the opportunity to step away from the daily grind. The new events and experiences you discovered during the time, might help to rest your brain, hence boosting your mood and self-confidence.

TVM: What message would you give to passionate travellers who are waiting ardently for the borders to open? How can they leverage the EPIC sale to satiate their wanderlust for now?

PG: The EPIC Sale was created so users can enjoy these experiences with family and friends at an affordable price. Not only helping the government and impacted local tourism players by providing interesting offers and promoting safe travel, but we also consistently encourage our users to comply with the health protocols set by the government. 

Find out everything travel on https://www.traveloka.com/en-id/

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About Post Author

Surabhi Pandey

A journalist by training, Surabhi is a writer and content consultant currently based in Singapore. She has over seven years of experience in journalistic and business writing, qualitative research, proofreading, copyediting and SEO. Working in different capacities as a freelancer, she produces both print and digital content and leads campaigns for a wide range of brands and organisations – covering topics ranging from technology to education and travel to lifestyle with a keen focus on the APAC region.
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