Skift Take

The future of travel metasearches in Asia is being tested. Who will be left standing and who will become roadkill?

Google’s resolute march into travel, along with increased pressure on online travel agencies to reform their “lowest-price” tactics, is making its mark in Asia.

Metasearch companies are quickly realizing they will become roadkill unless they have a road map to transform their model, as the traditional search-and-refer game will no longer do.

Line Travel Japan says it’s leading the charge as the first metasearch to offer a points-based loyalty system, which may be true at least in Asia. But how many can do that? Such a program costs money to run. Line Travel Japan has the scale, and it can overcome financial and user data ownership barriers through its association with the messaging app Line, as our report below shows.

The article points out the vulnerability that metasearch companies are facing. In the long run, it will be interesting to see if Asia, where mobile — and loyalty schemes — come first, can show the future of metasearches.

— Raini Hamdi, Skift Asia Editor, [email protected], @RainiHamdi

Skift Stories and More Expert Insights

Can Loyalty Points Transform Travel Metasearch? A Japanese Case Study: Line Travel Japan’s new rewards initiative is a neat, innovative way to upsell online travel agencies, but represents a whole lot more. It’s a sign of loftier metasearch ambitions to own customers in a fight against common enemies — the lowest-price quandary and the Google behemoth.

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Hong Kong’s Imperiled Travel Industry Grows Increasingly Desperate With New Plea: There are no signs of things getting better for the embattled travel industry in Hong Kong, as a recent plea from the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong indicates.

Sojern Steps Up Asia Presence as Travel Marketers Boost Digital Spending: Asia-Pacific advertisers spend more than half of their budgets on digital marketing, the highest compared to other regions, according to a Sojern survey. It’s why the company is pouring more resources into Asia.

American Airlines Pushes Deeper Into Australia With Revamped Qantas Loyalty Partnership: The joint venture between American and Qantas is bearing fruit in the form of better frequent flyer benefits on both sides.

Business Travel Is Tough on Employees’ Home Lives: Bleisure Can Help: Japan reported one of the highest rates of unhappiness with business travel. India, the most satisfied. In turn, it reported more flexible employers — and more bleisure trips.

Thomas Cook UK Shops Sold to Retail Rival Owned by Husband-and-Wife Team: Given the state of the traditional retail industry, on the surface this appears to be a risky deal. But Hays Travel is a profitable, growing business and will probably have secured the assets at a knockdown price. The company knows better than most how to make shops work.

Asia Editor Raini Hamdi [[email protected]] curates the Skift Asia Weekly newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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Tags: hong kong protests, qantas, skift weekly asia, sojern, thomas cook group, wego

Photo credit: Line Travel Japan app. The metasearch travel player is offering a points-based loyalty system. Line Travel Japan

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