Read below for part 1 of our interview with Divya Ramaswamy, VP of Digital Marketing at Wego, which provides award winning travel search websites and top ranked mobile apps for travellers living in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions. This interview is an excerpt from our recently published eBook, Digital Travel Transformation.
Why do you believe Southeast Asia in particular is a great place to be a travel marketer?
Southeast Asia as a region is a fascinating and exciting place to be at any time, and the travel market continues to grow exponentially. Some of these countries are experiencing huge changes in the number of people who travel, which is also facilitated by proximity and intense competition between hotels and airlines, especially low-cost-carriers (LCCs). Asia has the largest LCC network in the world and both domestic and international travel activity continues to climb.
As a marketer, it’s important to differentiate and customise the Wego user experience to suit each country, as each has unique languages, travel trends, and tastes. It’s a great challenge to not only cater to, but connect and engage with, such a diversity of travel audiences.
The travel industry is booming in Southeast Asia; with more and more travel service providers entering the market, how does Wego stay head of the competition and the evolving ecosystem?
Wego has developed a great localisation strategy that has been very well received by travellers and clearly resonated with our users through 50 country sites. Our commitment to developing the best possible user experience through both product and design helps put Wego ahead, and we’re now the leading travel search site in the Asia Pacific and Middle East.
Wego’s travel app for iOS and Android consistently is featured in the top five downloaded apps in the region and regularly featured by both iTunes and Google Play stores.
Smartphone penetration continues to increase in our markets, as is demand for convenient and tailored methods of finding the best travel options online. As a result, product development is a key commitment of our team.
What are the biggest challenges you encounter with your digital marketing strategies?
The digital space is intensely competitive and continues to be the world over. Each channel requires a unique approach, in a landscape that seems to evolve every day. The most important factor is to remain creative and evolve with it.
It’s important to deliver messages in a unique and uncluttered manner, which requires marketers to be extremely clever. There is no one formula that works for all, which adds to the challenge for marketers to remain fresh and flexible.
How has mobile changed the way you reach and engage your audience?
Mobile has changed everything, especially in Southeast Asia. We know that travellers spend more of their time researching travel options on their smartphone than on a desktop, which is why our talented mobile team has invested so much time in developing Wego’s travel app.
We’ve found that we need to be responsive to a variety of purchasing behaviour unique to mobile, and more conscious of the different touchpoints during the buying cycle. Messaging needs to be non-intrusive and specifically tailored for relevance, in what some might call mass customisation.
Stay tuned for part two of this Q&A to hear some of Divya’s best practices, marketing priorities, and industry predictions.