A Nielsen report shows that revenue from the global online tourism market in 2016 was US$565 billion, an increase of 13.8% from a year earlier.
Nielsen has predicted that Asia Pacific would surpass North America to become the world’s largest online tourism market.
The South East Asian market is expected to see a 4-fold increase, according to survey by Google and Temasek Holdings conducted in 2016. It would reach US$90 billion by 2025. Ten percent of the revenue, or US$9 billion, would go to Vietnam.
Lai Viet Anh, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s E-commerce and Information Technology Agency, said that up to 45% of Vietnamese internet users book hotel services or air tickets, with the figure increasing by 11% per annum.
According to VECOM (Vietnam E-commerce Association), the online ticket booking market in Vietnam is worth roughly US$3 billion, while the online tour and hotel room booking market is worth US$1 billion. The online tourism market is now valued at US$4 billion.
“Vietnam’s online tourism market is a new gold mine,” said Do Huu Hung, CEO of Interspace.
In order to exploit the potential of the market, businesses need to make professional and methodical investments instead of ‘hit-and-run’ projects.
“The tour & hotel room booking market is being controlled by foreign invested enterprises or overseas businesses,” he said. “Agoda, for example, controls 40-50% of the Vietnamese market.”
To develop online tourism, businesses need to have close links with hotel and associated service providers, because the links promote clients’ confidence and allow them to use services in a closed chain.
“Methodical investment and close links with service providers are the two important things businesses need to do to join the US$9 billion market,” he said.
Hung does not believe that online tourism firms need to invest in mobile platforms immediately.
“Some businesses go directly to the mobile platform. This depends on the strategy businesses pursue. If businesses still don’t have good conditions to develop mobile platforms, they should try to do well on the computer platform first and then shift to the mobile platform,” he said.
The mobile platform makes up 20-30% of total transactions, while the number of transactions from computers is still higher.
Hung believes that online tourism is a field open to both small and large businesses.