What’s Next in Destination Marketing? | Sojern

What’s Next in Destination Marketing?

October 17, 2018

Singapore was the place to be for travel marketing in the Asia-Pacific region this week. Web in Travel (WiT), one of the largest travel conferences in the region, took place in Singapore at Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre on October 15-17. The event focused on “Through the Looking Glass”—uncovering inspirational and new ideas in travel from across the world and in APAC, WiT took a look beyond the borders of travel to see things in a different light.

The Next Wave in Destination Marketing: New Tech, New Ideas, New Travellers

Russell Young, Managing Director of APAC at Sojern, took the stage with fellow panelists—diving into new tech and ideas with an eye on travel destination marketing.

The panel, moderated by Yeoh Siew Hoon (Founder & Managing Director, WiT) addressed the ways destination marketers can better inspire, influence, and engage with travellers. It also explored new tech in the field and emerging markets and opportunities available for destination marketers. The key travel trends across APAC, the role of social media for destination marketeers and how to reach high demand travellers in China, Korea, and Japan were evident themes throughout.

Panelists included: Wendy Olson Killion (Global Vice President, Business Development, Expedia Group Media Solutions), Jann Wong (Chief Marketing Officer and Product Manager, Voyagin), our own Russell Young (Managing Director, APAC, Sojern), and Tan Kheng Hua (Actress/Producer).


“It’s great to be back at Web In Travel (WIT) and ITB once again in Singapore. This year, I appeared on a panel discussing key trends across the digital travel industry in APAC and was joined by fellow industry leaders from Expedia and Voyagin along with the actress, Tan Kheng Hua, who recently starred in the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians. This was a great destination marketing piece for Singapore and Asia and formed part of the discussion during the panel.”

-Russell Young, Managing Direct of APAC

4 Travel Trends to Watch in Asia-Pacific

We learned a lot at Web in Travel in Singapore. Here are our are the key takeaways we observed from The Next Wave in Destination Marketing: New Tech, New Ideas, New Travellers:

1. Destination marketing is becoming an even bigger trend in APAC.

We saw this in two distinct ways. One, niche tours have emerged in China. Many young people now travel to destinations where anime movies take place. And, two, big cultural displays in pop culture can have an enormous impact on travel. The movie Crazy Rich Asians, for example, has piqued interest in travel to Singapore and Asia in general. The panelist Tan Kheng Hua, who played Kerry Chu (a character in the movie) was present to explore the impact the movie had on tourism in the region. Tan Kheng Hua also noted that as a traveller, she wants every step in the travel planning process to be as simple and easy as possible. Young responded that through Sojern’s path to purchase analysis, we are able to reach people based on their search and booking intent signals––providing travellers with relevant messaging and simplifying the decision making process.

2. Travel is social.

Several years ago at WiT, Melissa Yang, co-founder of Tujia, said, “All social is not travel but all travel is social.” This continues to hold true today. Travellers are influenced by peers. When looking for a new vacation destination individuals may ask for recommendations from friends who vacation often. This is done in person, but more often than not we see it on social media, influencer blogs, or sites with user generated recommendations. Travellers would rather learn why they should visit Japan, China, or the Philippines from a person who has had the experience, instead of a faceless ad. Traditional players have woken up to the reality that they need to disrupt, or be disrupted to stay in the travel industry.

3. Personalisation differs by region.

The topic of personalisation was present throughout the panel and the conference in general. The Asia-Pacific region is unique in that personalisation is seen as good customer service in APAC, whereas in North America or Europe, travellers are more apprehensive if the ads are over personalized.

4. How to inspire travellers is continually evolving.

As the tourism industry grows, it is increasingly harder to inspire travellers. And, the role of social media for destination marketers is constantly evolving—further complicating the path to purchase.

So, how can marketers reach high demand Asian-Pacific travellers in countries like China, Korea, and Japan?

It comes down to a balance of working with existing channels and watching for new channels to emerge, while switching from a seller mindset to a buyer one. The Singapore Tourism Board employs the ‘ABCs of Destination marketing’ to draw in travellers—Agile, Bold, and Creative.

Singapore Tourism

Missed your chance to connect with us at WiT 2018?

Get in touch to learn how Sojern can take your destination marketing to the next level.


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About Ryleigh Hazen

Ryleigh is Sojern's Content Marketing Associate. She has an incurable passion for content creation. When not in the office Ryleigh enjoys reading a good book, cooking, and walking her dog.

Ryleigh Hazen About the author

Ryleigh is Sojern's Content Marketing Associate. She has an incurable passion for content creation. When not in the office Ryleigh enjoys reading a good book, cooking, and walking her dog.