Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Ideas

Trip.com Group to Power Digital Journey of Cambodia’s New Airport

9 months ago

Online travel company Trip.com Group has joined hands with flag carrier Cambodia Angkor Air to position the new Angkor International Airport as a smart airport in the region.

As part of the agreement, Trip.com Group will contribute to enhancing the digital services of the new airport scheduled to commence operations in October 2023.

The partnership also serves to position Cambodia’s competitiveness as a global destination as it aims to strengthen collaboration in various tourism sectors. This would extend to marketing campaigns, hotel development, travel visa services, and tourism talent training programs in both countries.

Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia. The temple remains the face of tourism for Cambodia.

Expressing the significance of the new Angkor International Airport in Cambodia’s global tourism strategy, Tekreth Samrach, chairman of Cambodia Angkor Air, said the collaboration with Trip.com Group to enhance services and construct a smart airport presents an opportunity for global tourism revival.

Cambodia is estimated to have lost $3 billion of tourism revenue to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cambodia’s New Airport Worth $880 Million

China’s Yunnan Investment Group, parent company of Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport has invested in the new airport project valued at $880 million.

A steering committee for the construction of Siem Reap Angkor International Airport led by Samrach had announced in March that the airport would be ready in time for its October launch.

Once ready, the airport that would be able to handle long-haul aircraft with the capacity to receive about seven million passengers per year initially, 10 million by 2030, and 20 million by 2050.

China is a significant source of inbound tourism for Cambodia, with Chinese tourists accounting for approximately 36 percent of the 6.6 million foreign tourists arriving in the country in 2019.

Cambodia launched the “China Ready” strategy in 2023 to attract more Chinese tourists.

As of mid-May 2023, Ctrip, a Trip.com Group sub-brand, had reported that the number of users from the Chinese mainland searching for Cambodian tourism products had increased by more than 233 percent compared with the same period last year.

In 2022, Cambodia welcomed 2.28 million foreign tourists, according to the ministry of tourism.

Hotels

Hotel Robots Trigger Mixed Feelings of Joy and Fear — New Study

2 years ago

Joy, fear and sadness: these are just some of the emotions hotel guests feel when they encounter a customer services robot during their hotel stay.

That’s according to researchers who extracted a sample of 9,707 customer reviews from Ctrip and TripAdvisor. They found the majority of customers have a positive experience with robots.

The feeling of “joy” was felt by more than 60 percent of customers when dealing with robots in a customer service role, based on a new study from the Durham University Business School. “Fear” was the second most felt emotion by customers, making up 28 percent of the reviews.

Other feelings of anger (5 percent), neutral (4 percent) and sadness (1 percent) also featured in the reviews, which spanned 412 hotels in eight countries.

The researchers, who used a machine learning model to identify the hotels which had been reviewed on their own robot-powered customer service, found that interacting with robots also triggered emotions of love, surprise, interest and excitement, while discontent was mainly expressed when the robot malfunctioned.

The results of the study also showed many customers chose these specific hotels due to the fact they operated with customer service robots, revealing that hotels can use them as a selling point to customers, as well as convenience.

But hotels were also warned not to promote themselves as a “robot hotel” as it could create high expectations and potentially disappoint customers.

“Service robots have been increasingly adopted in hospitality service settings in recent years and large hotel chains have gradually adopted their services for housekeeping and butler services, interacting with customers and fulfilling concierge and front-desk tasks,” said Dr Zhibin Lin, professor of marketing at Durham University Business School.

“Previous opinion has been that customers felt uneasiness and discomfort when being served by robots, however this research suggests that customers actually, on the whole, have more positive interactions with robots and enjoy the experience of being served by one”.

The Smith School of Business, Queen’s University, Audencia Business School and Jimei University also contributed to the report.

The study will likely be welcomed by Relay Robotics, which provides delivery robots to hotel groups including Marriott, Hilton, Westin, Mandarin Oriental, Holiday Inn and Radisson. It recently raised $10 million in financing to accelerate development and deployment of its robots.