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Elevate

Elevate 2022: Six highlights from our biggest APAC event ever

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Elevate 2022 was the biggest event we’ve ever run in the APAC region. During the event, experts from Booking.com and the travel industry shared insights and ideas for making the most of current opportunities

Taking place across Booking.com’s Singapore office, the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa and the Ce La Vie Skybar, Elevate 2022 offered partners a way to reconnect in beautiful surroundings as the world opens up again.

It also offered partners a chance to hear from Booking.com leaders, global experts and each other across a full range of keynote speeches and breakout sessions – with plenty of insights into how they can continue to elevate their success. Here are some of our key takeaways.

1) Recovery in APAC looks good as traveller confidence increases

As the first APAC event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of the last few years was still a consideration for many attendees. But our speakers – and research – showed that there are reasons to be optimistic about the return of international travel.

Managing Director of Asia Pacific Laura Houldsworth, who was also the main host of the event, shared insights from Booking.com’s inaugural Travel Confidence Index, revealing that 76% of respondents across the APAC region are ready to travel in the next few months.

Fiona McDonnell, Vice President of Global Partner Services, added that this sentiment is already translating into demand, with our data showing almost 50% uplift in early searches for the upcoming high season compared to last year.

This is similar to the trend seen in the US and European peak season, with Carlo Olenjniczak, Managing Director EMEA, sharing insights on the ‘V-shaped’ recovery and strong traveller sentiment in the US and across Europe. If the trends from these regions are anything to go by, we have a lot to be optimistic about as more markets in APAC – including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan – continue to reopen. 

2) Apps are continuing to grow in importance

Flexibility, agility and connectivity are three recurring themes when it comes to traveller demand.

These themes converge in the popularity and importance of mobile – especially, app bookings. While this is a wider e-commerce trend that isn’t unique to travel, it is one that the wider travel industry has fallen behind on. But the reality is that apps represent over two thirds of our mobile bookings.

There were also insights into how we’re helping to capture that demand for partners, such as the work of the teams dedicated to ensuring the Booking.com app comes pre-installed on a wide variety of mobile devices. And those actions seem to be paying off as, in terms of app installs, Booking.com is the number one online travel agency app.

3) Building the Connected trip 

Another topic that covered those three recurring themes of flexibility, agility and connectivity was discussion around our Connected Trip vision.

Matthias Schmid, SVP of Trips and VP of Cars, revealed that we’ve already seen promising demand for flights, car rentals and taxi services. Additionally, we recently partnered with Klook, Asia’s leading travel and experiences platform, to expand our attractions offering. 

The next few years will see coverage continue to grow as we enable customers to add even more to their trip – all with your accommodation at the centre of it.

4) Flexibility around payments is becoming more important, too

Another source of flexibility that bookers increasingly seem to expect is around payments. 

In one session, we looked at how the latest payment solutions will be able to help you offer that flexibility, with examples of how customers could be able to pay in their currency of choice and pay via any method they choose, including their local payment method. 

Booking.com’s VP of Risk Products, Abhijit Prasad, also shared some behind-the-scenes insights into how Payments by Booking has been helping travellers and partners alike. This includes generating higher conversion, lower cancellation rates, fewer no-shows and higher customer satisfaction.

5) Continued focus on sustainability

Sustainability continues to stay on the agenda for many travellers.

During one session, Choe Peng Sum, CEO of Pan Pacific Hotel Group, joined our leaders on stage to share his advice on approaching sustainability – start small and see the results. For instance, his company found that:

  • By changing all bulbs to LEDs, they saved 30% on their energy bills
  • By switching to premium filtered water, they saved 350,000 plastic bottles
  • By harvesting rainwater for gardens, they saved two and a half olympic-sized swimming pools of water

Of course, many such changes aren’t immediately visible to travellers, which can make it difficult for travellers to choose more sustainable options. That’s why Booking.com’s Head of Sustainability, Danielle D’Silva, reiterated the importance of programmes like Booking.com’s Travel Sustainable, to help accommodation partners get recognition from travellers for the steps they’re taking – and potentially attract more bookings as a result.

6) Increasing brand awareness across APAC

One of the morning sessions gave attendees a look at the work that goes on behind the scenes at Booking.com – across more than 20 different marketing channels – to not only capture existing demand, but to drive new demand for partners.

Sylvia Chim, Regional Director of PR and Comms for APAC, shared examples of how we make sure APAC partners are top of mind for travellers, including:

All of these initiatives are part of Booking.com’s ongoing effort to invest into APAC, to build brand awareness across the region, and to drive more bookings to your accommodation.

 

Elevate 2022
Watch sessions from Elevate 2022

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Takeaway
  • Elevate APAC was held in Singapore in October 2022, bringing together our leadership and partners across the region to share ideas and insights
  • Recovery is looking promising across the region, with our data showing almost 50% uplift in early searches for the APAC high season compared to last year
  • Mobile engagement continues to grow, with apps now representing over two thirds of our mobile bookings  
  • Flexible payment solutions, sustainability and generating brand awareness across the region were other key topics during the event
  • Watch sessions and highlights from the event on demand here