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Disclosed: Asian luxury travel trends

Villa-Finder.com, the largest villa distribution and reservation solution in Asia, has identified the hottest luxury travel fads for the second half of 2015, from Asian travel trends to traveller’s preferred destinations.

According to Villa-Finder.com, results from 2014 and early 2015 reveal that the following trends can be expected in the third and fourth quarter: the number of tourists heading to the APAC region will continue to increase; many developing countries in APAC will transition to high-end luxury vacation spots; and, as customers look for more ‘authentic’ holidays, there will be a shift from hotel vacations to private accommodation rentals.
 
I. Asia to see healthy growth in tourism industry
Asia is a continent that has seen, and will continue to see, great economic growth in the last few years, that has increased local purchasing power and therefore travel opportunities. Simultaneously, Asian travel destinations are becoming more popular thanks to smarter and more developed marketing efforts. The APAC region is thus expected to be one of the most visited destinations in 2015. The United Nations World Tourism Organization has reported that in 2015 alone, the Asia-Pacific region will experience the largest global growth in incoming tourism, increasing anywhere from 4-5 percent.
 
This, coupled with the rising value of the United States dollar, will see many tourists from North America venturing out of regional favorites such as Jamaica or the Bahamas, traveling longer distances, and discovering new destinations in Asia. The lesser value of some Asia/Pacific currencies such as the Yen and the Australian Dollar will also positively impact travel to these countries. Finally, some Asian countries such as Sri Lanka or Myanmar, that had heretofore not been considered adequate tourist destinations due to continuous political instability, are now seeing vast influxes of travellers, which has led to a drastic increase in overseas travelers. As an example, Daniel Rouquette, Head of Marketing, cites his website SriLanka-Villa.com as having seen triple digit growth in reservations in 2015. He states that “whereas 2014 was a relatively quiet year for Sri Lanka, as the country remained under the radar of many travellers, 2015 has brought remarkable growth to the destination, a feat that is quite unique in Asia”.
 
II. Luxury tourism growing in developing APAC countries
As Asian countries continue to see greater economic convergence, the region will see tremendous growth, with previously developing countries dominating in the field of luxury travel. Countries like Myanmar who saw only nine hundred and twenty six million USD in tourism revenue in 2013, but is expected to rake in 5 billion USD in 2015. Naung Naung Han, general secretary of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association, argues that prior the boom in incoming travel in his country, “competition among hotels was so intense that they had to reduce their hotel fees to attract more customers”. 
 
Myanmar is not the only emerging country set to be a hotspot for travellers seeking high-end accommodation in 2015 – Indonesia is expected to welcome ten million people to its shores, having surpassed 9.4 million visitors in 2014, Vietnam has seen constant and consistent growth in the past five years, and Laos expects 4 million visitors in 2015 to generate over six hundred and thirty million USD. This growth is indicative of a vast new wave of travellers to the region who are looking for a more luxurious travel experience through stays in villas or other high-end accommodations. 2015 is set to be a year of unprecedented potential for growth – companies like Agoda or Booking.com will find ideal destinations in these emerging countries and their millions of annual visitors. 
 
III. Rise of sharing economy and repeat peer-to-peer accommodation:
Where the sharing economy was a mere economic concept a few years ago, it is very much a reality today. In 2014, Airbnb officially surpassed Hilton Hotels in number of nights booked, doing this in just seven years of operations. This trend shows that travellers are drifting away from the typical hotel experience and instead turning towards an often cheaper and more accessible short-term rental for their holidays. This phenomenon is also happening in Asia and can be attributed to the same factors – price, privacy, and local feel. By booking a villa instead of a hotel via websites such as Villa-Bali.com, travellers are effectively able to rent accommodation at a cheaper rate. Additionally, these ‘homes away from home’ entitle the user to a level of privacy that is only matched in their actual homes. This would probably not be an option in a hotel. Finally, the trend of renting private accommodation through a peer-to-peer website shows that the business of travel accommodation is changing in itself – travellers are now searching for a more local and authentic experience when outside of their home country.
 
People are looking for a certain level of privacy that goes beyond simply being alone. By staying in a villa, you’re also afforded this sense of intimacy – it feels like a family home, you have a private pool, a living area, multiple rooms, and your villa is more or less secluded. So you can have your privacy, or you can decide to throw a party, invite all the locals, have the staff cook you a wonderful dinner, and just enjoy your night. Staying in a villa provides you with choices that aren’t even available to you in most hotels. This is the added value of vacation rentals over hotels – that once you’ve booked, you’re hooked. The factors listed above which make peer-to-peer rentals attractive to customers are the main reason why people book again. Once they have experienced a stay in a villa, staying in hotels doesn’t hold the same attraction anymore. 98 percent of customers who book through our sites leave their villa happy, and most of them will book with us again.

 

David Chambat is Founder and CEO of Villa-Finder.com. With a growing portfolio of more than 1,000 villas all around Bali, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, Villa-Finder.com is now the largest villa distribution and resolution solution in Asia. With top quality accommodations, a best price guarantee, and a stellar concierge service, Villa-Finder.com not only ensures a great booking experience, but a fantastic holiday as well.
 
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