5 Top travel trends shaping online marketing in APAC

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With mobile and last-minute bookings on the up, a rapidly changing and increasingly intrepid consumer, EyeforTravel’s Emily Assender finds that the opportunities in Asia are more exciting than ever

In Asia, where consumer trends are continuously shifting the way online travel brands build and market their product offerings, there is everything to play for. That’s what has emerged from recent research calls with execs from across the region. Now, with votes now in from a recent EyeforTravel survey which asked senior travel executives to share what they see as emerging opportunities in APAC, the writing is on the wall.

So what are five not-to -be-missed online marketing trends in travel for the region? Here goes!

     1. Mobile: outpacing the desktop  

Mobile and social are changing consumer behaviour throughout APAC. Despite the diversity across the region, mobile bookings across the board are growing faster than desktop bookings. A recent report from the online travel agent Cleartrip highlights that 30% of its transactions today are coming via mobile. Clearly there is room for improvement in online marketing in travel, with mobile lighting the way.

The opportunity: EyeforTravel’s 2014 Mobile Report shows that 86% of travel consumers view 10+ images per website visit. At the same time, online media company for the global hospitality industry, Leonardo Worldwide points to media consumption being 30% higher on mobile than on desktop. Therefore, having a mobile strategy with rich visual content that ensures your consumer spends longer engaging with your website is not simply a ‘nice-to-have’, it’s essential.   

     2. Last-minute bookings: on the up

Tomas Laboutka, CEO of HotelQuickly says 70% of smartphone users in Asia wouldn’t leave the house without their device. The switch to last-minute bookings - or ‘on-the-go’ bookings - is another notable trend; as consumers become increasingly spontaneous their smartphone is on hand for those trip-planning moments.

70% of smartphone users in Asia wouldn’t leave the house without their device

Tomas Laboutka, CEO of HotelQuickly

The opportunity: Hotelexecutive.com writes the majority of hotel bookings are switching to mobile, most of which are made within 24 hours of the stay. Make sure your product offerings appeals to this last-minute segment in order to boost your bottom line.

     3. Personalisation: Your consumer and their choices  

Google’s Head of Travel APAC, Simon Fiquet, believes that the major trend of the moment is  ‘programmatic media’. For the uninitiated, that’s the ability to combine CRM data and 3rd party data to tailor a marketing campaign for acutely defined profiles of travel consumers. This is all about reaching customers at the right time and at the right price, he says.

The opportunity: This is a true revolution which all of APAC’s travel players will be able to embrace at the same pace as the rest of the world. With the use of a buoyant technology platform ecosystem (DSPs, DMPs, Ad Exchanges, Ad Servers etc), it represents a real opportunity for online challengers - as well as suppliers - to regain lost audiences.

     4. The millennial traveller

Over the next decade, so-called millennial travellers (born between 1980 and 1996) will enter their peak earning and spending years. Successfully capturing this next wave of consumer demand, growing particularly fast in Asia, is an unmissable opportunity. However, it will require players to understand and cater to the preferences of people in the region.

Approximately 60% of the world’s millennials reside in Asia

McKinsey & Co

The opportunity: McKinsey & Co’s research shows that approximately 60% of the world’s millennials reside in Asia, making the opportunity even bigger for travel brands in the APAC region compared to the rest of the globe.

     5. China: think peer-to-peer

Regionally, China is still a key focus for travel brands, which are continuing to invest in understanding Chinese consumer trends and therefore convert the profitable Chinese consumer. China Search International’s research shows that the region is tipped to become the world’s largest source of outbound tourists, accounting for 200 million trips annually by 2020.

The opportunity: The majority of Chinese travellers are still in the ‘early stages' of travel: they travel on group tours and many are first-time travellers. As the younger generation are adopting a more ‘Western’ lifestyle, peer-to-peer products like car hire firms Hailo and UBER, and hospitality brands like Airbnb are becoming increasingly popular. Chinese travel consumers are also renowned to be ‘price-sensitive’ and are great researchers in finding the best value for money. So ensure your brand’s product offerings reflect the Chinese consumer’s love for a deal!

Join us in Hong Kong (Feb 3-4) for ‘Online Marketing, Social Media and Mobile in Travel, Asia’ when Asian travel executives from brands including Qunar, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Hyatt, Starwood, Google, Booking.com, Wego and more will discuss and debate how this exciting, diverse region is shaping up

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