The deepening penetration of the Internet in the developing country of Malaysia is greatly facilitating the search and booking process of consumers when it comes to making travel plans. The latest research by GfK revealed that 45 percent of travelers there use both online and offline platforms, while one in three (34%) rely solely on the internet throughout the entire process.
The GfK Consumer Travel Tracker research was conducted in Malaysia in December 2014 to January 2015. The study is based on tracked outbound travel data from the pre-booking to actual booking and transaction stage and conducted amongst over 500 respondents online who have made a travel booking in the last three months.
“Even though offline channels do continue to play an important role and still used by around one in five travelers in Malaysia, the study reflects a higher dependency on the internet during the entire travel booking process,” noted Selinna Chin, Managing Director for GfK in Malaysia. “For instance, four out of five of the most used sources among travelers when planning their trips are all online channels.”
Around two in five of (40%) of those surveyed said they used travel agency websites—making it the most popular of all the online and offline touch points. Online travel agents and airline websites trail as the next two most frequently used, as indicated by 33 and 30 percent of respondents. The most common offline touch point which nearly a quarter (24%) of travelers claimed they turn to is recommendations from friends/family/colleagues.
“Consistent with global trends, Malaysians are also using online platforms to a growing extent, especially in the travel sector since consumers can easily get hold of useful information, not to mention competitive packages and rates even if the service providers are far away in the destination country,” said Chin.
Another interesting insight derived from the report is that Malaysian consumers tend to be mid-term bookers with the majority (41%) stating that they prefer to books their trips about three to four months in advance of their actual travel. Two-thirds (66%) of travelers here also prefer bundled packages that include both ticket and accommodation, while the rest (34%) tend to buy these two items separately.
The study also found that majority of holidays booked by Malaysians is for family travel (36%), rest and relaxation (27%) and packaged holidays (24%). An overwhelming proportion of 86 percent said their preferred travel destination is in the Asia region with China being the most popular, followed by Hong Kong, Korea and Thailand.
“It is important to understand that although Malaysians still prefer to buy packages as opposed to individual purchases, the buying trend has moved to online purchases,” said Chin. “In today’s digital age where modern societies are well connected and consumers are relying heavily on the internet, it is very important that travel agencies establish a strong presence on this platform in order to reach out to a wider audience,” she concluded.