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Social deeply influencing travel: Expedia

Global online travel company Expedia has made its way to Hong Kong, with a marketing strategy focused heavily on digital and social media.

“New channels are changing the travel landscape in Hong Kong from offline to online,” said Kathleen Tan, CEO of Asia.

Tan, in Hong Kong this week to launch Expedia Hong Kong, said e-commerce market in Hong Kong was emerging and holiday packages ranked among the top five categories.

Along side the changes of people book travel, Tan said the reasons for travel are also changing.

People today, she said, travel as much to create content for social media, as much as they do for leisure.

Not surprisingly, smartphone are the most convenient device to access social media and the online travel company responsive mobile app already boasts more than 30 million users.

Expedia, formerly part of Microsoft, invests millions each year to improve its online booking experience.

“We are investing to tap on to the growing demand in Asia with the powerful technology and supply network.”

And Hong Kong, with one of the highest penetration of tablets in the world, is changing its approach to technology and the user experience of its sites.

To market its new Hong Kong hub, Ken Mishima, general manager of Expedia East Asia, said digital will play an important role in the marketing strategy, in particular social.

E-commerce in the travel sector is well-developed in US and Europe such as booking.com and priceline.com.

Partnerships will be key, and the group hopes to build on its almost 200,000 hotels and 400 airline partners.

In Asia, Expedia operates eleven sites including India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

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