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Southeast Asians are itching to travel again

GrabAds SEA Travel Insights 2023 Report

The latest GrabAds report shows the region’s increased appetite for travel, presenting more opportunities for travel and tourism brands to tap the next generation of travellers.

SINGAPORE – GrabAds, the advertising arm of Southeast Asian (SEA) Grab, has released its latest SEA Travel Insights 2023 report, showing that intent to travel remains strong. Of those surveyed,  72% of Grab users plan to travel abroad at least once in the next 12 months, jumping from just 39% when borders reopened in 2022 indicating the travel intent has climbed by 84% in just one year. With the steady acceleration of travel demand,  brands should take this as an opportunity to switch gears from short-term “revenge travel” campaigns to planning long-term repeat-customer strategies.

The report reveals additional insights into travel preferences, habits, and behaviours across the region.

GrabAds SEA Travel Insights 2023 Report_Families

  1. Families prioritise ‘stress-free’ options

Families represent one of the most significant audience segments for 2023 travel—86% of those who plan to travel plan at least one trip with others. But group travel is no small undertaking, especially with children – and while fun and games are all well and good, it’s clear that these family holidaymakers prioritise safety and convenience above all.

For example, when selecting their accommodation, top priorities among these travellers include family suites and connecting rooms (65%), child-friendly amenities (58%) and safety features such as child-proofing or secured balconies (48%). As such, travel advertisers can assure families they can leave their worries at the door and emphasise campaigns with “family-friendly” or “child-friendly” messaging to resonate better with family travellers.

GrabAds SEA Travel Insights 2023 Report_Business Travel

  1. Business travel is back, with business travellers valuing safety and convenience

Business travellers also made up a significant proportion of respondents: 40% of those who plan to travel expect to take 4 business trips on average over the next 12 months (up 14% year-on-year). For this segment, top considerations for booking rooms included being close to public transport and restaurants (57%) and picking a safe neighbourhood (46%).

GrabAds SEA Travel Insights 2023 Report_Planning

  1. No surprises – travellers shun uncertainty

After two years of disruption during the pandemic, travellers increasingly prefer to plan.

According to the report, 64% of respondents will start planning their itineraries at least one month in advance for long-haul journeys (6 to 16 hours). The figure hovers 55% for destinations 3 to 6 hours away and 51% for short haul (less than 3 hours). Almost half (47%) shared that their budgets are already fixed weeks before they step foot abroad. It’s worth noting that most travellers prefer to take charge of planning their own daily itineraries. In addition, 62% of travellers surveyed this year said they would buy travel insurance to cover their trips.

To capture the greater slice of the pie, travel brands should initiate marketing activities to influence travellers early during the discovery phase, when they’re still exploring and comparing their options.

GrabAds SEA Travel Insights 2023 Report_Loyalty

  1. Brands shouldn’t miss out on building loyalty programs

A 2023 customer intelligence report revealed that 9 out of 10 consumers in the region prefer to shop when a brand offers a loyalty program.  Yet, our research shows that two-thirds (78%) of Southeast Asians are not subscribed to any hotel loyalty programme. Considering that 73% of respondents plan an average of three leisure trips in the next 12 months, there’s undoubtedly room for repeat business.

This represents a huge opportunity to educate would-be travellers on hotel loyalty programs and associated benefits – for example, via gamified or rewarded campaigns with broad appeal and easy redemption mechanics.


[1] Source for all travel data: Grab in-app survey among Grab users held in June 2023; 10,233 responses from ID, MY, SG, VN, TH and PH

Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | + Articles

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.