Visa and Singapore Tourism Board ink three-year partnership to support local tourism and lifestyle SMEs and drive domestic and international tourism

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Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, has signed a three year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to address the needs of Singapore’s tourism and lifestyle small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) impacted by COVID-19. The STB-Visa collaboration focuses on two strategic areas to revive the local tourism industry – joint research and analytics and marketing partnerships. As international travel gradually resumes, both organisations will scale up their partnership to include joint international marketing, powered by data and insights derived from their combined research. The aim is to develop marketing strategies and initiatives to help Singapore businesses capture demand once global travel resumes.

Joint research and analytics

STB and Visa will combine proprietary data, as well as research and analytical capabilities, to derive insights on how COVID-19 has changed domestic and international consumer behaviour. These insights will help identify new trends and untapped opportunities, which will be shared with local SMEs to develop their own data-driven campaigns and initiatives that are in tune with the new environment.

To kickstart the data and research collaboration, STB and Visa have produced a report to provide insights for local SMEs called Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism in Singapore and the Road to Recovery and Transformation*, the report found that local brands are worst hit by the pandemic, experiencing double-digit negative growth. The lack of an online presence has also left local brands more vulnerable to the adverse economic impact of the pandemic, especially those located in tourism precincts**.

In the next phase of their data and research collaboration, STB and Visa will focus on the impact of COVID-19 on business travel. Singapore is one of the world’s leading business travel destinations, and business visitors represent the country’s highest yielding segment. An in-depth study to identify changing behaviours, new trends and growth opportunities will sharpen Singapore’s competitive edge as a global business destination. Insights from the study will also guide future campaigns to capture inbound business tourism spend and help local SMEs recover.

Joint marketing partnerships

In the first phase of their marketing partnership, STB and Visa will develop a domestic marketing campaign to raise awareness of local SMEs, while driving domestic consumption through Visa cardholder promotions. In the second phase when international travel resumes, both organisations will launch international marketing campaigns to increase awareness of local brands and experiences in Singapore.

To launch the first phase in October 2020, both organisations will harness the synergies of their respective campaigns – #SingapoRediscovers and #WhereYouShopMatters – to encourage Singaporeans to shop at local retailers and support the domestic economy. SingapoRediscovers, a joint campaign launched in July by STB, Enterprise Singapore and Sentosa Development Corporation, supports local lifestyle and tourism business by encouraging locals to uncover hidden gems, stories and experiences in Singapore. WhereYouShopMatters was introduced in August by Visa to encourage consumers to support local SMEs, while helping SMEs digitalise to adapt, sustain and thrive in a COVID-19 environment.

In the coming months, STB and Visa will introduce joint promotions and offers to encourage locals to rediscover Singapore and support local SMEs. The campaigns will be centred on three key themes: Escape, Feast and Shop, to boost spending at hotels, attractions, food and beverage outlets, and other local retailers. STB and Visa will also profile homegrown brands and business owners through inspiring content that highlights their aspirations, passions and adaptability. This includes showcasing how SMEs can adopt e-commerce and technology such as contactless payments to better engage consumers and meet their evolving needs.

For the second phase which focuses on international marketing, experiences in Singapore such as shopping, dining, sight-seeing, events and entertainment will be promoted through content creation, promotions and tourist privileges. These campaigns will be rolled out in phases in key countries based on the respective market’s readiness to travel. STB and Visa will also testbed initiatives to drive incremental spending through cross border e-commerce and harness new opportunities for local tourism and lifestyle SMEs.

“Local tourism and lifestyle businesses contribute significantly to the vibrancy of a city like Singapore. STB and Visa both want to help such businesses to survive and succeed in the new environment. We recognise that many of them, especially the smaller and medium-sized ones, are especially vulnerable. We hope to help them develop new digital capabilities and transform their businesses. Through our partnership with Visa, we also aim to give local businesses a much needed boost through domestic spending,” said STB Chief Executive Keith Tan.

“COVID-19 has greatly disrupted the way we live, shop and pay, and businesses need to keep pace with changing consumer behaviour and spending patterns,” Visa Country Manager for Singapore and Brunei, Kunal Chatterjee, said. “Our partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board has enabled us to derive analysis and insights on how local businesses can recover in Singapore, and what we can do to support their recovery. In addition, we will work with STB to revive inbound tourism when borders reopen, and more travellers start entering Singapore for business and leisure. Together, we aim to drive more support towards local businesses through our WhereYouShopMatters initiative and provide them with the tools they need to transition online and thrive.”