UOB Malaysia targets 8% YoY growth with Travel Insider

The travel marketplace is the 1st of its kind designed by a bank that inspires customers by providing articles, resources and deals to help plan and book their holidays

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE United Overseas Bank (M) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) targets 8% year-on-year (YoY) growth in travel-related billings and expenses with the launch of its online travel marketplace, The Travel Insider.

The travel marketplace launched yesterday is the first of its kind designed by a bank that inspires customers by providing articles, resources and deals to help plan and book their holidays.

UOB Malaysia MD and personal financial services country head Ronnie Lim (picture; left) said the performance of the marketplace is based on the increment of travel billings and expenses, namely among UOB card users.

“Malaysians are very discerning. The YoY growth on travel spending as of November last year was up 6.5% and this shows that Malaysians don’t spend as much, but they will attempt to save as much money as possible.

“So, for us to assign 8% for a target is quite a good number to start with,” he said at the Travel Insider launch in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Lim added that when the marketplace was first released in Singapore two years ago, it was successful due to the timing.

“For Malaysia, it isn’t so much on the timing part, because it is neither too late nor too early, but because we feel we have ample content for Malaysians who love to travel,” he said.

According to the bank’s cards spending data in 2019, the affluent group spent six times more on travel compared to young professionals.

The affluent group are made up of 80% travellers, while 48% of young professionals are travellers.

In comparison, the affluent group spent about RM26,000 on travelling versus young professionals at RM4,100.

Across its customer base, customers booking comprises of 35% on hotels and accommodations, 25% on airlines and 15% on travel agency in the past 12 months, while 81% of travel spending or purchasing is made online.

Lim said the travel insight the marketplace is running on is the fact that customers love to travel, but researching options and planning their travel is named the most challenging part.

“Which is why The Travel Insider is a one-stop travel solution, providing seamless online experience to give you inspiration, help you plan and let you book in one place.

“Travelling is a high priority among our customers, with one in five UOB Malaysia debit and credit card members travelling abroad at least once in 2019,” he said.

The marketplace is the result of a collaboration between UOB and over 500 leading companies from the airline, hospitality and travel industry to create an online destination where visitors can search, plan and book their holidays, featuring also deals for flight, accommodation and tours.

The bank’s card and payment products usage and loyalty head Ying Mun Yee said 71% of Malaysians find the Internet as their source of travel inspiration, especially social media, followed by travel review sites and then booking sites.

“The Travel Insider has over 170 guides featuring over 20 trending countries and customers get to see the world through the eyes of local insiders with their must see, do, eat and stay tips.

“These inspirational guides allow for readers to gather travel tips online and make their own itinerary, thus giving them the flexibility to choose what they want to do,” she said.

In building the marketplace, the bank has also tapped the application programming interfaces of Agoda, Expedia, Booking.com and Singapore Airlines to draw the best options from over a million hotel and flight potentials.