MartechAsia speaks with Shirley Lesmana, CMO, Traveloka, about the pandemic’s effect on Traveloka and the major martech trends shaping the industry.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How and when did you join Traveloka?
I joined Traveloka about three years ago after seeing that all the Travelokans that I met in my personal and professional life were great innovators and team players. I also had great admiration for the brand and its future potential in changing the lives of users through their services. This was ultimately the driving force that made me want to join the organisation.
I spent the prior 8 years before joining Traveloka in Consumer Products, which includes marketing, brand management, corporate planning, sales, and finance.
How did the pandemic affect Traveloka? What did your team focus on during these challenging times?
We are proud to share that we actually made it through the pandemic on a strong foot. When the pandemic started in March 2020, there was a 70% drop in Traveloka’s daily users. However, in November 2021 our monthly active users surpassed pre-pandemic numbers. We even recorded a +14% increment versus pre-pandemic.
This strong recovery was driven by our continuous innovation as an organisation. Traveloka has evolved over time to become Southeast Asia’s lifestyle superapp, enabling consumers to fulfill their diverse lifestyle needs through seamless end-to-end solutions in not just travel but a variety of other services such as events, deliveries and even financial services. This was done by expanding our services – which was originally part of our long-term roadmap – we felt we needed to head in that direction a lot earlier to meet the constantly evolving needs of our users. We also continued to expand across the region.
As the market leader in the travel vertical, we are committed to supporting the tourism ecosystem recovery through close collaborations with key stakeholders, including government, tourism board, and partners. We worked together with the Singapore Tourism Board through the Singapore Rediscovers Voucher program, and with the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Promotion Center, and Tourism Authority of Thailand, to promote safe travel and domestic tourism.
Traveloka also popularised use cases in travel that allows people to travel amid limited mobility situations, such as staycations, road trips, and workcations with marketing campaigns, user content generation and promotions. During the pandemic, keyword searches for ‘staycations’ jumped by almost 10x versus pre-pandemic period.
What are the major martech trends that are game-changers? How is your company using them?
Some major martech trends that we have seen include Live Commerce and Gamification. For Live Commerce, we launched our platform more than a year ago and were one of the first to have brought this capability to the forefront in the SEA region. Through this platform, we blended entertainment with instant purchasing. Live commerce is entertaining and immersive, keeping viewers watching longer. It also telescopes customer decision journeys from awareness to purchase. Time-limited tactics such as one-off coupons can also be used to generate a sense of urgency.
On the Gamification front, we believe that it will grow to be more popular with our customers. Gamification allows for the creation of unique and fun experiences which has proven to be an effective way for us to engage and build trust with our customers.
What is Traveloka’s marketing focus/strategy for 2022?
Traveloka’s marketing focus for 2022 is to continue to manifest our mission of realising our users’ lifestyle aspirations through our creative innovations. This includes strengthening our product proposition in travel, local services and financial services to fulfill the diverse needs of our users.
This quarter, we launched a couple of new products that have garnered good traction in the markets. These include the relaunch of our Holiday Stays – the private accomodation product which grants an even better user experience. This includes a new homepage, a chat property manager and even a Discovery Mode which allows consumers to find private accommodations in accordance with their selected destinations with flexible prices without having to enter specific dates.
We have also introduced Gold to our investment platform as it is one of the most popular investment instruments among first time investors, based on our consumer research. The minimum investment amount is also considerably low, less than USD1, making it attractive and accessible for the wider society, especially first time investors.
Our Traveloka PayLater ‘Virtual Card Numbers’ is also our latest payment method which allows Traveloka PayLater users to buy now and pay later on supported ecommerce platforms outside of the Traveloka ecosystem.
As the market leader in travel and tourism in SEA, we will continue our commitment to boost the tourism sector recovery through collaboration with key stakeholders and continuous innovations.
As tourism reopens in Asia, which market are you going to focus on in 2022?
We will continue our focus to grow our presence in Southeast Asia, as well as driving the recovery of the tourism sector in the region. We will adapt our market recovery strategy in accordance with the Covid situation in the respective markets as well as the mobility policies which will be the biggest determinant to the success of our strategy. Hence, it will be critical to both be prepared for cross border recovery as well to drive a strong domestic market.
In the past years, we have been trying to actively popularise holidays that allow people to travel with limited mobility, keeping up with evolving consumer preferences for travel products such as staycations, road trips, and workations. We will continue to actively monitor trends and tailor suitable offerings that answer their needs.
Traveloka recently launched a gamification campaign to boost the tourism economy. Do you think gamification is going to be more popular as a marketing tool?
At Traveloka, we do believe that gamification will continue to be more popular as a marketing tool as it serves as a form of retailtainment. By creating unique, fun, and helpful experiences, we can build effective ways to engage and build trust with our consumers.
Traveloka introduced its first multiplayer game named Sodaloka. Since its launch in October, Sodaloka has recorded 500K loyal players which impacted our app stickiness with an increment level of 80%. We also have Kampoeng Traveloka, where we get our customers to share their unique journey with Traveloka from the first day they joined us. Presented through witty and personalised creatives with secret surprises, Kampoeng Traveloka has shown positive pick-ups from users and even managed to trend on social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok. The most recent one is another innovative programme that combines international mobile games competition with promotional campaigns – a first of its kind initiative for a booking platform in Southeast Asia, Game Farm International Championship that took place on 6-19 December 2021 and successfully participated by 900+ Traveloka’s customers in Southeast Asia.