STB joins forces with Traveloka, Alibaba in move to deepen its digital strategy – Web In Travel

By on April 16, 2019

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has announced two strategic partnerships with Alibaba Group and Traveloka in a move that signals its intent to develop a more comprehensive digital strategy as more travellers move online.

Announcing the two agreements at Tourism
Industry Conference 2019, CEO Keith Tan said, “Approximately one third of our
visitors come from South-east Asia, one third are from China and North-east
Asia and the remaining one third are from the rest of the world. This is a good
spread but we should not take it for granted.

“We must continue to invest in markets with
strong growth potential such as the emerging economies of Asia Pacific, while
we find ways to deepen our appeal in the more established markets.”

Its agreement with Traveloka, which
recently announced another fund raise of US$425 million, with one investor
being Singapore’s GIC, calls for South-east Asia’s largest travel technology
company to promote Singapore in five key markets – Indonesia, Malaysia,
Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. It is STB’s first pan-SEA partnership.

Tan said the agreement is one step in the overall strategy to “forge new partnerships with major online travel agents to better meet the expectations of visitors.”

Both plan to collectively launch at least
12 new marketing campaigns regionally. STB will also give Traveloka access to its
Tourism Information and Services Hub (TIH) and boost Singapore’s attractions and
activities offerings on Traveloka’s platform by 15%.

The three-year MOU with Alibaba Group
meanwhile follows on from an existing agreement signed with Alipay in 2017, and
aims to “scale up existing collaborations” to drive Chinese tourism spending
and improve traveller experience.

Similar with the Traveloka agreement, Tan cited
“the co-development of joint marketing campaigns and content, sharing of data
analytics on Chinese travellers and creating seamless tourism experiences in

STB will work with businesses within the
Alibaba ecosystem, such as Alipay, Fliggy, Youku, Damai and Alibaba Cloud so
that it can connect with Chinese travellers through the customer journey.

China is Singapore’s largest source market
and Singapore is Alipay’s second largest market in South-east Asia.

Angel Zhao, president, Alibaba Global Business
Group; SVP, Alibaba Group,  expressed the
company’s intent to deepen its reach into foreign markets. “Our past collaborations
with STB have been mutually beneficial, with Alipay being widely adopted as a
mobile payment platform by merchants in Singapore… [Alibaba will] help the
tourism sector here expand and deepen their online engagement with Chinese
visitors… and offer more targeted services”.

To drive spend, STB will launch a “Passion Made Possible Privileges” campaign in the second half of the year, targeting Chinese visitors to promote shopping, dining, hotels, attractions, events and entertainment.

STB’s collaborative efforts with two travel
technology giants are indicative of how the board is developing a comprehensive
digital strategy, as more and more travellers research and book travel

During his speech, Tan remarked, “our
tourism enterprises big and small must become productive, innovative and
digitally-savvy to be able to compete for their fair share of business.” 

The tourism board is rolling out multiple
initiatives to ensure that private businesses get access to the tools they need
to market their businesses to a broader audience of international visitors. “There
is a strong pipeline of investments into hotels, attractions and other tourism
infrastructure,” said Tan.

For example, STB and the Singapore Hotel
Association plans to organise “Smart Hotel Transformation” workshops later this
year to help hospitality companies identify new paths to improve their
technological offerings.

There’s a Marketing College to keep
businesses up to speed with the latest marketing trends and opportunities, and
it plans to launch a Tech College to “better prepare tourism businesses for the
future” as new jobs arise and new skills come into demand.

There are also plans to launch a Singapore
Tourism Incubator this year to foster a culture of innovation by “encouraging
new transformational or disruptive ideas… and test-bed new solutions.”

Even Sentosa Development Corporation has announced
its own Sentosa x Enterprise scheme, promising a partnership model where business
can work on projects that might help boost Sentosa’s attractiveness.

Successful ideas will gain access to the
island resort’s resources to experiment and develop their ideas, and even have
venue rental fees waived, if they can boost visitorship, elevate customer
satisfaction and stay in line with its sustainability goals.

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