How Innovation is Shaping Asia’s Travel Industry

Asia is emerging as a major innovation hub and the travel industry is at the forefront of this trend where many brands and sectors are digitally transforming. Innovation is not all about invention and disruption, it’s about adapting to change.  

The start-up community includes investors like Soft Bank, which provide a good steer for where the next round of industry growth will come from such as Oyo digitalising budget hotels and Klook bringing activities online. 

Always in Search of The Next Best Thing  

The 21st century has been coined the Asian century, with Asia Pacific benefiting from a convergence of trends propelled by demographic, economic and technological drivers, creating an Asian hub of innovation. 

The region is already home to half the world’s internet subscribers with a young and highly connected population. Trying out new products and services is very popular in Asia, with 60% stating that this was a priority for them in 2019. 

The constant search for the next big thing puts pressure on brands to have a regular flow of new and innovative products and services coming to market. 

Brands are utilising an array of tools including experiences, digital technology and innovation to push the enjoyment of interacting with a brand to the fore. Asian consumers also look to brands to simplify their life, with 65% saying that it was an important attribute when purchasing goods and services.  

Innovation Hub  

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympics Games promises to be a platform for innovation, just as the Beijing 2008 Games were, with robots assisting at Haneda Airport and staff wearing exoskeleton suits to boost their physical strength to help with preparations.  

China is also years ahead in its digital transformation journey, where Alibaba and Fliggy’s FlyZOO Hotel use facial recognition technology powered by AI and biometrics in hotels for room entry, using the lift and other services.


The Rise and Power of Supper Apps  

A super app is a multifunctional mobile app combining several features such as communication, lifestyle, travel, social, financial and retailing in a centralised platform. Are a major phenomenon in Asia Pacific, thanks to high smartphone penetration and consumers seeking the convenience of using a super app platform with apps within an app.  

The concept was originally pioneered by WeChat, which has over 1 billion monthly active users has given rise to a handful of super apps in the region — Meituan Dianping, Grab, Line and Gojek amongst others; all offering multiple services integrated seamlessly with payments.  

Asia Pacific is the world’s mobile hub and leads the way in terms of smartphone users as well as mobile commerce as seen with super apps, digital wallets and social commerce.  

This app allows companies to leverage their existing infrastructure to generate new revenue streams and increase consumer engagement. Consumers have embraced these all-in-one apps because they offer a seamless, integrated, contextualised and efficient experience.  

These apps first emerged in Asia off the back of popular social platforms like WeChat. Tencent, the app’s owner, then layered additional services in its core messaging platform to drive usage and engagement, incorporating mobile payments, ticket booking and food delivery.  

For additional insights download our white paper Megatrends Shaping the future of Travel: 2019 Edition.