Singapore agencies in digital overhaul, powered by transformation programme

Participants gather on the FinLab Showcase Day

Four travel agencies in Singapore are making strides in their digital transformation journeys, following the conclusion of an accelerator programme that developed and tailored technology solutions to their business.

The FinLab, a joint venture between United Overseas Bank and government-owned firm SGInnovate, took the agencies through a four-month Smart Business Transformation programme, comprising workshops, mentoring sessions and evaluations of suitable digital solutions.

Participants gather on the FinLab Showcase Day

The agencies are Siam Express, Pegasus Travel Management, EU Holidays and Royal Wings Travel. They are joined by seven local SMEs from various industries.

Having undergone the programme, each agency now has their pain points and priorities identified, and are better equipped to adopt the relevant digitised solutions and processes to take their business forward.

Felix Tan, managing director of The FinLab, said that the programme will empower the agencies with a holistic integration of technology into their businesses, instead of “piecemeal” adoption.

For example, Siam Express aims to improve its branding by working with digital search marketing agency Webnatics to revamp its website and engage with B2B and B2C customers, as well as create dynamic travel content with artificial intelligence editing platform Magisto.

Joseph Sze, project director of Siam Express, shared: “This pilot project is the first of its kind for travel agencies. Most of Singapore’s travel agencies are SMEs, so we need this kind of platform to help us pinpoint critical areas.”

EU Holidays hopes to “digitise everything” as well as improve its customer retention and loyalty programmes, a far cry from its “passive” and dated systems that were largely limited to its website, said Wong Yew Hoong, director of EU Holidays.

It will be pushing its latest click-to-call pilot, Novocall, at the NATAS Travel Fair this weekend. The solution had generated 160 leads in a month, a 17 per cent increase compared to traditional email enquiries.

With the programme, EU Holidays will also work with Israeli-based technology company Viewbix to embed booking widgets in its marketing videos.

Wong added: “We hope that us four agencies can set a good example and motivate other agencies to adopt technologies to help their business. A lot of travel agents have the perception that we are old and a thing of the past.

“We hope that by using new technologies, we can increase productivity and improve the image of the industry as a whole.”

The transformation programme is also in collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board and the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS).

It is one of several initiatives by STB to digitally enable travel agents, and is part of its Business Transformation Through-Train Programme for travel agents.

“We hope that the positive results of the travel agencies that participated in The FinLab’s acceleration programme will encourage more travel agencies to take the first steps towards transforming their businesses through the adoption of technology,” said Ong Ling Lee, director, travel agents and tourist guides, STB.

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