With triple-digit growth, the company is looming as a new major OTA player
Anyone travelling around Singapore at the moment would not be able to avoid noticing some very “visual” public advertising for Trip.com. Part of the massive Ctrip group, Trip.com is increasingly becoming a household name – providing one-stop travel booking services in 19 languages through their website and mobile app. We asked Edmund Weng, General Manager – Singapore and Malaysia, Trip. com how the company is progressing in Southeast Asia, and where the “sweet spots” are.
Trip.com is currently experiencing very rapid three-digit growth in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. In addition to this, we are seeing very good growth opportunities in Vietnam as well as the Philippines. I think this growth is due to the emergence of a growing middle class, which has an increasing travel budget.
You’ve been in your job for some time – in fact celebrating five years with the company this week. What would you say are the highlights of your time with the firm?
There are many highlights, but the key one this year has been the launch of our branding campaigns in Singapore. As the new kid on the block, and with a number of established players in the local OTA space, I think our branding campaigns have very effectively introduced Trip.com to Singaporeans. They are starting to recognise Trip.com as one of the trusted travel brands they can rely on for comparative pricing as well as reliable products.
I THINK OUR BRANDING CAMPAIGNS HAVE VERY EFFECTIVELY INTRODUCED TRIP.COM TO SINGAPOREANS
What are your greatest challenges in your position at the moment?
The challenge as a new brand in Singapore is to understand the needs of well-travelled Singaporeans whose travel needs are constantly evolving. How do you make yourself relevant to these consumers? This is one of the constant challenges that every travel brand faces in Singapore.
What kind of original promotions are you doing to get the brand name “out there”?
There are a few things that we have done right this year. The first was to take-on a brand ambassador – Lawrence Wong – a Singaporean actor who is quite famous here. We are leveraging his popularity to build the Trip.com brand. We have cross- border bus campaigns between Singapore and Malaysia, and we have had some very daring strategic buys in the Metro and on buses, all of this helps introduce our brand to Singaporeans. This very aggressive promotion aims to bring local people to think, “I want to make my trip purchases on Trip.com”.
What are your goals for the next three to five years?
Our key goal right now is to make sure Trip.com will be one of the top- of-mind OTAs for the region. We truly want the company to become a global OTA.
What would you say are Trip.com’s three key points of differentiation?
The first is our award-winning app, offering complete ease of use for bookings; we offer a very broad range of products worldwide; and while we have very, very competitive pricing, we do not compromise on the need for a very solid and robust in-house customer service team.
How important is ITB Asia for Trip.com in terms of talking to partners and potential partners?
ITB Asia is a great networking event that allows my colleagues and myself to work with other partners who like to develop our business together. This event allows us to network better, focus better, and to introduce this new brand to B2B partners as well. Like this, they can grow together with us. That is why the team has been investing in ITB for the past two years. Come by our booth. I believe it’s quite a stunner!
Photo: Edmund Weng, General Manager, Singapore and Malaysia, Trip.com