The year was marked by several external challenges to the tourism and travel industry in Asia Pacific, including the Southeast Asian haze, MERS in South Korea, a bomb blast in Bangkok and of course the currency fluctuation that still grips many countries such as Japan, Korea and Australia. Even with all of the negative events of 2015, tourism in Asia Pacific continued to grow steadily, according to UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
Travellers are looking for fast, innovative and easy ways to use hotel booking tools. Hotels.com™ is constantly striving to become online destination for hotel bookings and we saw very fast growth in 2015 – including in the Asia Pacific region.
“These are the top ten travel trends for 2016.” said Abhiram Chowdhry, Vice President and Managing Director for the Hotels.com Asia Pacific brand. “We have noticed customer preferences changing constantly; right across the shopping spectrum and the pace of change is perhaps strongest in Asia Pacific.”
Top 10 Travel Trends in 2016:
- Hotel Booking in Your Palm: Travel is inherently an on-the-go experience. Travellers can get everything they need through the devices in their hand. At Hotels.com, we saw the demand for hotel bookings on mobile phones increasing rapidly. During the first nine months of 2015, more than 1 in 3 bookings on Hotels.com were made on smartphones.
- Value-Added Services: Visa application discount, travel insurance, a Wi-Fi egg and a 1-day local tour are some of the value-added services that travellers receive when booking their hotel room through Hotels.com – making it easier for them plan their trips in advance. We think these value-added services will continue to be attractive to customers in 2016.
- Be the Hotel Expert: Savvy travellers are reading and writing reviews, and have become an integral part of the hotel booking process. With 17 million genuine guest reviews on the Hotels.com site, travellers can choose properties based on their ranking in categories such as convenience, service, comfort and cleanliness. We think customers will get savvier about reviews in 2016 and value genuine reviews a lot more.
- Make use of loyalty programmes: Signing up for rewards programmes is a great way to save on travel. A recent survey reveals that over 50 percent of respondents in Asia enrolled in loyalty programs valued free products, gift certificates or cash rebates. More than 20 million members of Hotels.com Rewards Programme can redeem one free* night after spending 10 nights in a hotel booked on Hotels.com.
- On-the-go Itinerary: Travellers may not have enough time to make the hotel room booking in advance. Over 25 percent of travellers across the globe tend to book their trip with last minute deals at Hotels.com to enjoy the best hotel discounts in the first nine months of 2015. Again last minute travel will continue to grow in 2016.
- Top Travel Destinations for 2016: Rio, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Bangkok: At a global level we expect Brazil will be a favored destination with the biggest sporting event on the planet going to Rio de Janeiro in August 2016. The Olympic Games in Rio shall be Brazil’s biggest draw for travellers – especially sports lovers. From an Asia perspective we think Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Bangkok will continue to be big for travellers accommodation in hotels was markedly cheaper according to our latest Hotels.comHotel Price Index™ (HPI™). For the first half of 2015, it showed that Kuala Lumpur had a 13 percent decrease in room rates to 2,026 THB per night for Thai travellers. Hong Kong and Thailand, especially Bangkok, are still amongst the top destinations for travellers across Asia Pacific, according to the HPI.
- “Bleisure” on the Rise: Business travel in Asia, in general, is on the rise. The Global Business Travel Association expects that by 2018, Asia Pacific will have gained another 5 percent in market share, while the US and Western Europe will lose 3 percent and 2 percent respectively. We expect business travel will continue to grow, along with the trend of more corporate travellers extending their business trips to add leisure travel with their families.
- Millennial Matters: Millennials, a generation who is more affluent, savvier with technology and more socially connected than any other generation past. This segment of travellers will continue to become bigger and more important. Driven by income growth, the Asian Millennials spend on international travel is expected to increase by 1.6 times to $340 billion by 2020.
- Increase in Travel Spending: Many destinations benefitted from more favourable exchange rates, while others became more expensive, but saw their purchasing power abroad increase. According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, China continued to report double-digit growth in outbound travel, benefitting Japan, Thailand, the United States and various European destinations. One of the emerging markets, India, reported double-digit growth in tourism expenditure.
- Personalised Travel Experiences: Travellers are using every tool out there to customise their journeys. For example, at Hotels.com, we are delivering practical tools through our mobile app which will further enhance the traveller’s hotel stay. This includes adding local services such as transportation options, providing walking or driving directions, ways to purchase events tickets and tools for sharing personal experiences, such as pictures and real time reviews.
*Free night does not include taxes and fees. See here http://th.hotels.com/hotel-rewards-pillar/hotelscomrewards.html for full terms and conditions.