Social and mobile, the two biggest drivers of change in the online travel space, will feature strongly at the first WIT Indonesia taking place this coming March 27th in Jakarta.
Andy Zain (left), founder of MobileMonday Indonesia, a networking forum of 400 mobile centric companies, will be sharing his expertise and knowledge of the country’s unique mobile landscape. With more than 250 million mobile subscriptions, Indonesia represents the best example of how a nation can leapfrog the browser for the screen in our hands and how that is changing customer behaviour.
Zain, who is also director of the Founder Institute Indonesia, billed as a “global network of start-ups and mentors that help entrepreneurs launch meaningful and enduring technology companies”, will also be sharing his views on the Indonesian start-up scene and will join the panel of judges that will pick a winner from the six finalists selected to take part in the first WIT Start-Up Pitch in Indonesia.
Lessons from Japan, a leader in mobile, will also be shared by Kei Shibata, CEO of Venture Republic, Japan, who will talk about the impact of mobile on travel and consumer behaviour across Asia. Shibata, whose company runs the top travel search sites in Japan, travel.jp and hotel.jp, will share experiences on how mobile is impacting on business models.
Social, the other uniquely Indonesian phenomenon, will be tackled by a panel of leading local bloggers – Marischka Prudence, Travel Blogger, Kristupa Saragih, fotografer.net, Dennis Adishwara, Layaria and Amalla Vesta, Liburan Lokal – who have succeeded in building travel communities around their network. Moderator, Morris Sim, CEO of Circos Brand Karma, will bring out ideas and insights on how travel suppliers can work with these bloggers to access new customers.
The tours and activities space, which has recently received a lot of interest following the acquisition of tours and activities provider Isango by European tour operating giant TUI, will also be covered at WIT Indonesia. TUI’s purchase of Isango follows its recent partnership agreement with GetYourGuide and Isango will now be part of the tour operator’s Accommodation and Destinations division and operate under the TUI brand across Europe.
While there have been no studies done as yet on how much the tours and activities market is worth in Asia Pacific, it is clear this is the next big area for travel providers and online travel agencies. Expedia has stated its intentions to expand in the sector and there is new interest from the GDS and other major OTAs such as Priceline and Odigeo.
Ken Frohling (left), vice president of business development for Viator, the market leader in the online space, who will be speaking at the first WIT Indonesia, said, “There is definitely a lot going on in this space. After the PhoCusWright estimate in 2012 that the activities space was worth US$26 billion, a lot of people took notice.”
Viator is stepping up its activities in Asia and Frohling said it’s just signed its first partner in Jakarta. “There are a few issues coming together at once and I look forward to talking about this sector at WIT Indonesia.”
Short-term rentals, which got catapulted into fame and fortune by AirBnb, will also get an airing with the CEO of Travelmob, Turochas Fuad. Travelmob, whose focus is in Asia Pacific, is aiming to be the leader in the short-term rental space and Fuad, an Indonesian, will shed light on this new opportunity opening up in the region.
The inaugural WIT Indonesia, organized jointly by WIT and Kibar Kreasi, is expected to draw more than 120 delegates to discuss the latest online travel trends in one of Asia’s biggest emerging travel markets.
Full programme here