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Zuji gives ‘offliners’ a big hand

Zuji has launched its latest offline-to-online campaign in two bus shelters outside Landmark and Park Lane this morning with a giant hand that passersby can ‘high five’ to get a special discount.

The two-week out-of-home display is part of a two campaign push for its 10th anniversary celebration, which will see online flight promotions starting late October.

“The purpose of both campaigns is to help offline customers to know more about Zuji and continue to explore our opportunities in the digital travel landscape,” said CEO of Zuji Hong Kong Charles Wong. He said only 10% of Hong Kong travellers employ OTAs (online travel agencies) and preferring rely more heavily on traditional agencies.

“In the 1980s to 1990s, people travelled with tour groups; then the Millennium brought more mature travellers who can make their own itineraries, but most still consulted with traditional agencies or are attracted to a destination via an ad from these agencies.”

Though Wong said that the millennial travellers are already very online savvy, Zuji marketing’s offline-to-online focus is to mainly attract the 35 to 45-year-old segment who won’t break out of the traditional model, which is why Zuji implemented a call centre for advising clients and validating their travel choices.

“We employ a hybrid model and call ourselves an in-line agency rather than just online,” he said, adding that Hong Kongers’ busy lives are gearing them towards a 24/7 online service that allows for instant confirmation rather than obliging (them to visit during) opening hours.

Though competition is fierce in the market with global giants like Travelocity, Experia and Hotels.com, Wong said he doesn’t view them as enemies, but partners in educating travellers about the digital landscape and getting them into a habit of going offline to online.

On the other hand, hotel websites, which have been aggressively revamping themselves to regain lost market share to OTAs (Regal Hong Kong, for example, just did a website revamp in August), are not a threat to Wong.

“Our selling point is our content desk: we’re talking to travellers who want the option of looking and comparing 800 airlines and more than 10,000 hotels. We can give them a lot of recommendations whether they know or don’t know what they want,” said Wong. “So, no, they’re not really competitors.”

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