Through the "Conversation with Jane" series, Trip.com Group CEO Jane Sun will engage leaders and individuals from diverse backgrounds and industries – with one goal in mind: an open discussion on the most trending topics.
MADRID, July 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In this edition, the focus is on tourism, a topic close to Jane’s heart and one relevant to Spain’s Secretary of State for Tourism, Rosana Morillo. During their meeting in Madrid earlier this month, the two leaders exchanged views on tourism, technology, among other topics.
From "sun and beach" tourism to a quality-focused industry
Spain is one of the world’s most-visited countries in the world, according to the country’s official statistics. After the pandemic, Spain’s tourism has seen a strong rebound, with two famous destinations, Barcelona and Madrid, listed in the top five most-booked summer destinations by Trip.com’s European customers.
"The travel forecast for this summer season is spectacular," Ms. Morillo shared with Ms. Sun. "The number of visitors has surpassed the pre-pandemic level, and most importantly, travellers are spending more on travel this summer when compared to 2019." However, Ms. Morillo added that the quantity of visitors isn’t their only focus. Currently, Spain’s tourism strategy has evolved from "mass, sun and beach" tourism to sustainable and quality tourism.
"Spain has a diverse range of landscapes and culture. While we have well-established destinations, we need to focus not just on increasing the number of visitors to these places but also on improving the quality of their experience. We should also aim to attract more travellers to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations," said Ms. Morillo.
Having visited various parts of Spain, Ms. Sun agreed that the country has many hidden gems waiting to be discovered, adding that Trip.com Group has been preparing for the return of Chinese travellers to Spain since the outbreak of the pandemic. The online travel service provider has launched successful campaigns to keep customers interested in the country through content marketing strategies. These include influencer campaigns on its travel content platform, launching an official StarHub account for Spain, and creating curated lists for customers to explore travel inspiration in Spain.
While Spain has always been one of the most popular destinations for Chinese travellers, has there been a shift in their travel patterns or preferences in recent years?
Ms. Sun said, "The new generation of Chinese travellers seeks authentic and unique experiences in Spain. We provide them with the most exciting travel inspiration and reliable recommendations through our advanced technology and marketing capacity."
Technology reshaping the future of tourism
Technology is revolutionising the tourism industry, and Trip.com Group is leading the way by using cutting-edge AI technology to enhance the customer experience. In 2016, the company pioneered the widespread adoption of AI technology for customer service, and over 75% of flight and hotel-related issues raised by customers are resolved through the AI chatbot today, without the need for these customers to speak to a customer service agent.
Earlier this year, Trip.com launched "TripGen", a real-time AI travel assistant that provides users with instant suggestions on pre-trip decisions and in-trip arrangements. This innovative tool has made the entire travel process more enjoyable and stress-free.
Ms. Morillo agrees that technology is transforming the tourism industry in all aspects, not only from the stages of pre-booking, booking, and customer service, but it is also reshaping the ways of talent training and destination development.
"Technology will not only change the way people buy products but also the future of destinations. For example, we have seen many cities implementing technologies to direct the flow of passengers and improve mobility in the city, which will ultimately enhance the travel experience," Ms. Morillo commented.
Women are the backbone of an organisation
Ms. Morillo assumed the State Secretary for Tourism role in December 2022, following a successful career spanning multiple sectors, including software, investment banking, and hospitality. "I think everybody should work in the public sector at some point in his or her life, because you can give back to the society and make a difference," said Ms. Morillo.
Ms. Morillo is a strong advocate for gender equality in the workplace and encourages more women to take up leadership positions. "While the gender ratio in middle management teams in Spain is equal, it becomes increasingly unbalanced at higher management levels. This needs to change," Ms. Morillo shared.
The Spanish government recently approved a draft Equal Representation Law that aims to promote more equal representation of women and men in politics, business, and other spheres of public life. While Ms. Morillo views this as a positive step, she believes that more needs to be done to create a truly gender-inclusive workplace.
Ms. Sun agrees and believes that striving for equal gender representation in senior management teams is the right thing to do and will lead to more rational and considerate decision-making for governments, companies, and organisations.
"With more than half of Trip.com Group employees and one-third of middle managers being female, women are the backbone of our business," said Ms. Sun. "I look forward to further enhancing the figure in the near future."
During their discussion, Ms. Sun also shared with Ms. Morillo’s the Group’s recently launched Childcare Subsidy programme. Under this new scheme, full-time employees with newborn children after 1 July 2023 will receive a subsidy of RMB 10,000 for each child on their first, second, third, fourth and fifth birthdays. The Group plans to invest RMB 1 billion as subsidies to support its employees in family planning and promote working families.
Over the years, Trip.com Group has introduced several family-friendly policies, including hybrid work and assisted reproduction benefits.
"As we have always said, our employees are our greatest asset. The launch of this new initiative is a testament to our commitment to supporting our employees to achieve their family and career goals," said Ms. Sun. "Going forward, we will continue to create family-friendly workplaces across our various offices."
About Trip.com Group
Trip.com Group is a leading global travel service provider comprising of Trip.com, Ctrip, Skyscanner and Qunar. Across its platforms, Trip.com Group helps travellers around the world make informed and cost-effective bookings for travel products and services and enables partners to connect their offerings with users through the aggregation of comprehensive travel-related content and resources, and an advanced transaction platform consisting of apps, websites and 24/7 customer service centres. Founded in 1999 and listed on NASDAQ in 2003 and HKEX in 2021, Trip.com Group has become one of the best-known travel groups in the world, with the mission "to pursue the perfect trip for a better world". Find out more about Trip.com Group here: group.trip.com.