Asian consumers are driving tech trends in the travel industry, Ming Foong, the regional managing director of travel commerce platform Travelport, told CNBC Tuesday.
“The future of travel, the way that we see it, is that it’s going to be far more personalized, far more customizable but also very, very connected and completely driven by technology. So technology plays a huge role in supporting this trend,” he told CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore at the East Tech West conference in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, China.
“So the trend is consumer driven and Asia has a different way, different developments of those consumer trends,” he added.
“Asian consumers are far more technically savvy, adopt technology in a very different manner, and use them in a very different manner. That then is all connected, and it drives the different needs (within the industry), it then drives the different ways that suppliers and operators need to provide that service to the industry.”
He noted that Asia was an area of “tremendous growth” for Travelport, a company that provides distribution, technology, payment and other solutions for the $8 trillion global travel and tourism industry.
It notes that it “enables travel providers, travel agencies, corporations and developers to connect. This increases profitability and drives commercial success across the business-to-business (“B2B”) travel network.”
Asia was growing not only in terms of volume, Ming said, but also in terms of consumer trends. Asked whether enhanced technological services and upgrades to IT systems, provided by companies like Travelport, increased costs for agents in terms of their capital expenditure (capex), he said: “The good thing about being in a region that is growing is that there is return in terms of what you invest in.”
“So yes, there is a big capex investment required — there’s probably a long-term capex investment required — but you are seeing the return and you’re seeing the potential in the market very, very quickly.”
“Investing in a platform enables you to save a lot of costs, reach more people, transact a lot more and do more business. All of these things come together a lot faster in Asia,” he said.