Mobile phones are becoming one of the most important communication tools between the travel industry and Asian consumers according to the World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2007 in partnership with market intelligence firm Euromonitor International.The report identified mobile phones as a highly influential marketing tool, calling it the “third” screen following television and the internet. Penetration rates are particularly high in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan which reached 124%, 103% and 102% respectively and are expected to continue to grow by 3-4 percentage points each year until 2009.
Several regional travel and tourism players have already responded to the importance of SMS as a communication tool. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Air provide SMS ticketing and Singapore Airlines sends SMS ticket confirmation services to local travellers. Australian based online travel operator, zuji.com has divisions in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Australia and sends out tailored SMS promotions to subscribers.
Clement Wong, Euromonitor’s International’s Global Travel and Tourism account manager comments: “Asians love their phones and as the world’s leading region of users, we expect they will become the new way of doing business for the travel industry in that part of the world.
“The mobile phone revolution in Asia presents a dynamic and convenient channel, especially with SMS messaging, mobile TV and internet and recently, mobile blogging. With information sharing in the palm of their hands we expect marketing opportunities for tourism to grow nearly 200 per cent over the next five years.”