Huella Online Travel

Travel faces several challenges in penetrating the Hong Kong market. While Hong Kong enjoys one of the highest Internet penetration rate in the world, its tech-savvy people are perplexingly wary of transacting business online. Huella situates itself in this kind of market, where people generally shun e-businesses, including air travel bookings, for perceiving it as a high-risk trade to seeing it as second only to the traditional marketplace.

Initial qualitative survey results culled from a focus group discussion showed that respondents never heard of the Huella brand in Hong Kong, or to a few, a vague impression of what it is. Validating earlier surveys on online transactions, respondents also perceived Huella as a risky, unreliable brand, and voiced out security concerns on Huella’s website. Huella might take comfort of the fact that such concerns were not solely directed to the company but to Internet transactions in general.

Moreover, people felt that risks are too high for any potential benefits, and that Huella was seen to be in the league of online travel agencies and not with the traditional brick-’n-mortar agents. Majority of the respondents had never used Huella’s Hong Kong website, and for a few who had heard of it, the website was a mere repository of information and a tool to compare prices for them. The initial results are useful in exploring how people perceived the Huella brand but as noted in the case study they are not conclusive of the public perception in Huella’s target market.

Given a job to map out a research marketing strategy for Huella using a quantitative approach, I believe that an objective analysis of the market should be done first and foremost, which entails knowing three key areas of the business: customers, competencies and competition. I will focus on this paper how to get an objective analysis of customers using a quantitative approach and will leave the last two areas for future discussions as they went beyond the scope of this specific assignment.

Let me stress, however, that the three are interrelated, and that selecting a specific target market has direct implications on the two areas as well. Conducting quantitative surveys means getting people to respond to certain questionnaires, which can be done in various form. For Huella, I specifically recommend doing an online survey. As a purely online business, online survey may also give us a peek of how the public responds to online strategies. However, there is a downside of doing this strategy alone.

Response rates in online surveys are low, so online surveys should be complemented by face-to-face interviews. The key in conducting any quantitative research is how the sampling is done. We have to make sure that it is conducted randomly, such that every one in Hong Kong stands a chance to be picked up and asked to complete the survey. It is also important to do a stratified random sampling so we only target people who are relevant to the business, or only to those we are targeting to sell the product.

For example, it is important to focus only on the different subgroups of the identified market. Sample size should follow known statistical laws, such that a sampling of 10,000 people for instance will give us a confidence level of 95 percent that the views reflected in the survey are accurate with an error of +/- 0. 85 percentage points. I will also recommend pilot-testing before the full-blown survey takes place to find out which types of questions do not work to people.