Given the ongoing nature of the Covid19 pandemic and the immense impact it has had on everyone’s lives across Southeast Asia, many companies are continuing to pivot their business models and innovate new product offerings
Airlines pivoting to full lifestyle offerings
As the airline industry continues to struggle with the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and travel bans, the regional low-cost giant, Air Asia, has recently launched AirAsia Ride, a new ride-hailing offer. This has initially been launched in Malaysia only, but will be soon rolled out across Asean with plans afoot in Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore. AirAsia Ride offers customers the option to choose from available car types and drivers, choose a lady driver option or even all-star option, where customers can be driven by Air Asia pilots or cabin crew. The company hopes to entice loyal air travellers by offering an end to end experience for airport trips, including ability to book a car at the same time as the flight and linking arrival times to drivers for a more seamless pickup service.
But the plans don’t stop at the ride hailing service only – the company plans to build a ‘low-cost unicorn’ super lifestyle app that will roll out from travel bookings/packages & ride hail to food delivery services, shopping deliveries (including potentially drone deliveries) and even venturing into e-commerce and fintech.
Hotels catering for Work from Home (WFH) and ‘Bleisure” workactioners
Given the downturn in travel, many hotels across the region have turned to Work from Hotel (WFH) or Bleisure packages. These promotions have been a success in turning empty hotel rooms into viable workspaces or a place to escape the mundane environment of home working and isolation. They target independent workers and executives alike, and promote a way to decrease boredom, rejuvenate the senses and hence increase productivity. They offer hygienic rooms with full internet services, F&B options and access to leisure facilities such as pool and gym (depending on the prevailing government restrictions); some even offering laundry services or other conveniences such as printing and courier services. In Indonesia, some hotels offered Ramadan WFH packages that claimed to help users work during the fasting season.
In other Southeast Asian markets, like Singapore and Thailand, “Bleisure’ (the blending or work and leisure) or work-and-play stays are being promoted as a way to help people synergise their work and leisure time; encouraging families and loved ones to also join the worker. Longer-stay workationers are also on the rise across the region, with people choosing longer-term packages (2+ weeks) to relocate.
Businesses catering for Isolating customers (“Isoman”)
Across the region, as citizens are asked to self isolate (stay at home SHO or quarantine orders QO e.g. if they have come into close contact with a known Covid case or location), many businesses have pivoted to offer specific food and beverage or hotel services to them. In Indonesia, we’ve seen the rise of catering promos for Isoman (“isolate mandiri”) – for example Hoka Hoka Bento’s Paket Isoman offering affordable meal packages for 3-7 days or MyMeal Catering which offers packages for whole family or even catering packages from 4 and 5 star hotels. At one hotel in Singapore, they offer a range of food packages with the chance to win a full staycation package. Trending hashtags of #YouJustStayAtHome,LetUsDeliverToYou and #KeepHealthyStaySafe are further evidence to this trend.
Hotels across the region are also offering catering to those required to self-isolate, promoting specific benefits from basics such as food, parking, laundry and Wi-Fi to doctor consultations, vitamins delivery, and One hotel in Thailand even promoting itself as having ‘superior Japanese quality services”