Face-to-Face: Cyndi Ng

This week Cyndi Ng, GTA’s Head of Market Development & Strategic Partnerships, talks to Travel Daily about their recent Strategic Partnership Programme (SPP) fam and filing trips in key Asian destinations…

Q)           GTA recently hosted its second fam and filming trip, as part of the Strategic Partnership Programme (SPP) initiative. What has the response from the travel trade been to the first two events?

The response leading up to the trip was spectacular. We had a lot more people wanting to join than the number we had planned for. Ultimately, we had to disappoint some of our travel agent friends.

The objective of the fam trip was to give people more reasons to visit the SPP destinations, and give them a stronger stimulus to consider these places for their next holiday. Thus we actively worked with the tourism boards and our hotel partners to market the lesser-known attractions, unique experiences or the “hidden gems” to our travel agent clients.

Cyndi Ng (third right) with TAT officials at the SPP fam trip in Bangkok
Cyndi Ng (third right) with TAT officials at the SPP fam trip in Bangkok

From the previous two trips, in Singapore and Hong Kong, we were able to introduce some hidden gems and experiences of which the agents were not aware and were pleasantly surprised.

The participants all had a great time learning about Bangkok, interacting with TAT officials and the celebrities.

Q)           And what follow-up activities are you planning, such as agent workshops etc?

We are documenting this week’s fam trip in a training video where agents will do some show and tell. In the video they will be explaining to their colleagues and peers what’s new and how they are having fun. The training video will be used in a series of workshops which we will be holding in key Asian markets in the coming months.

Coupled with the amazing special offers that our hotel partners are offering to the travel trade, we will be actively promoting the SPP destinations, and influencing the travel agents to package, feature, market and sell them.

Q)           The tourism industries in Bangkok and Hong Kong have both suffered recent setbacks. How are the SPPs helping to these cities to recover, and what evidence do you have that the programmes are having an impact?

The results for GTA’s SPP Thailand and Hong Kong showed clear, consistent results, with both partner hotels and destination markets growing strongly. But it is also clearly demonstrated that the growth rate of SPP-promoted hotels is outpacing the non-promoted hotels.

For SPP Bangkok, total transaction values at promoted hotels increased 40%, outpacing overall citywide transaction value growth of 11%. This demonstrates the extensive influence of the SPP campaign on destination Thailand. Likewise, room nights booked at promoted hotels rose 45%, while citywide they only increased 19%.

The growth rate experienced in Hong Kong was equally strong; room nights booked at promoted hotels increased 30%, outperforming overall citywide room nights rose 19%.

Q)           What feedback have you had from your SPP partner hotels? Are they happy with the results the programme is producing?

All our hotel partners are all very much onboard, and their enthusiasm is clear to see. For example, many of our Thai hotel partners travelled to Taipei to participate in our sales roadshow.

Q)           Where is the next fam and filming trip being hosted, and what further activities and events are you panning under the SPP initiative?

We are now planning focus on driving further marketing activities our SPP destinations’ main source markets. This will include showcasing what we have filmed in Hong Kong and Bangkok to the travel trade across Asia, through our agent workshops.

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