Recognising this, some OTAs have pumped large investments into customer care resources. For example, Ctrip Group-owned Trip.com has launched two in-house call centres in Tokyo and Shanghai to “handle customer concerns with full-time employees who can empathise”, explained Peter Yoshihara, general manager, Japan, Trip.com.

In this space, Ctrip has found a solution that marries technology and the human connection. In China, where travellers are starting to eschew mass group tours for free-and-easy arrangements, the OTA has tweaked its model to now provide travellers with a dedicated travel guide or destination expert who is available on WeChat and video chat, shared Brett Henry, president director, MG Holiday Group.