Parlo banking on influencers to help revive tourism

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK

TOUR and travel industry players are finding new ways to get back into the game and recover from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis via technology and other strategies to further promote the sector.

Parlo Bhd CEO Dani Yap said most of the industry players are now implementing a simpler digitisation process.

“This is where digitalisation comes in for creating awareness for our brands and products as well as for conducting sales and transactions. Many of us have also moved towards social media and getting our feedback via QR codes to make our work paperless,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

Parlo has launched T-Broker Marketplace, a business-to-business integrated platform for all existing and new tour agents interested in carrying their companies’ products while offering offline-to-online services for agents to see live inventories 24 hours a day.

The marketplace currently acts as a distributor providing access to marketing and travel inventories to target market segments such as the outbound leisure, corporate travel and wholesale travel market.

Yap said moving on and using this platform as a base, the group will be launching a collaboration initiative with social media influencers or bloggers.

“Our next launch, which is a collaboration initiative, the T-Broker Enterprise, is what we will be using to identify our social media partners so that they can distribute our products to them.

“We are looking at people who are comfortable with working with us. Since they know their viewers very well, they can then design and curate a product that they know would sell to their followers. This could be the new way for businesses to move forward,” he said.

Similarly, Parlo has a business-to-client programme called “Buddy Up” tied to the marketplace. It is open to all its travel partners’ customers to sell its products while earning commissions.

Technology has played a significant role in advancing the country and the region’s travel industry as tourists are placing reservations online, paving way for booking platforms or online travel agents (OTA), an all-in-one platform providing real-time availability and price comparison.

OTAs, namely Traveloka, Agoda and Expedia, make up the region’s main travel disruptors, as tourists can acquire information on hotels, restaurants and read testimonials.

Similarly, airlines like AirAsia Group Bhd are now also stepping up to offer accommodation booking deals as well as bundles and attractions for tourists to view on their website.

Yap said, however, players of all stages of travelling have different ideas of “going digital”.

“Travel industry itself has a wide spectrum. There are a lot of small pockets of things that you can be good at, given enough work.

“In general, industry players have various definitions of going digital. To many of us, it means creating a website and putting our products there, but what is the point of having a website without promotion?” he said.

“This is why every company must evolve and adapt to the time and not underestimate digitisation,” he added.

Regarding the industry’s recovery, Yap said although the progress will be steady, it will perhaps be a bit slow when the borders reopen for the country.

“However, to see old transaction numbers, we will probably have to wait until 2022.

“We need time to put back the flight options and choices we used to have because eventually, regardless if there is a Covid-19 vaccine or not, we will have to open the borders someday,” he said.