The new traveller is digital savvy, strongly influenced by social media and more inclined to combine work and leisure in their travel.
SINGAPORE - A survey of more than 8,000 travellers globally, including 2,461 travellers in China, Indonesia and Thailand, reveals a growing appetite for overseas travel as countries reopen, that hasn't been dampened by rising living costs.
Across the 3 countries polled in Asia Pacific, 71% of travellers in China and 56% in both Indonesia and Thailand, said that inflation had "no impact" to "moderate impact" in their decision when planning and evaluating the cost of travel. Respondents who cite a "moderate impact" also stated that cheap accommodation rates are not the most important factor when booking their travel.
The annual Changing Traveller Report 2022 by SiteMinder, also found that about half of respondents – 48% of travellers in China and Thailand and 52% of travellers in Indonesia – intend to travel "internationally or domestically" over the next 12 months. Millennials (age 26 to 41) form the largest segment who plan to travel, accounting for 58% of travellers in Indonesia, followed by 56% in China and 52% in Thailand.
As the largest accommodation-specific traveller survey globally, insights from SiteMinder's 2022 Changing Traveller Report showed that:
- Gen Z (age 18-25) are also the most likely to be influenced by the social media presence of the property they book, compared to other age groups. Thai travellers are the most influenced by social media, with 78% of respondents saying they are "very influenced" or "influenced" by the property's social media presence in their booking decision, followed by 75% in China and 74% in Indonesia. In fact, respondents in every age group agree they are all influenced by the social media accounts of the accommodation they book.
- Bleisure continues to be a growing trend with 49% of Gen Z global travellers most likely to take a working holiday, followed by 46% of Millennials. 65% of Thai travellers, almost two in every three, are the leaders in bleisure travel, followed by 62% of Indonesia travellers and 47% of Chinese travellers. In fact, a quarter or more of travellers from every country surveyed in the report will be bleisure travellers on their next trip.
- Travellers are likely to change their perception of the accommodation provider if they have a negative customer experience when accessing and using the accommodation provider website, for example if the website is slow or the payment process is not secure. A high proportion of travellers – 89% in China, 72% in Indonesia and 75% in Thailand – said they are "very likely" or "likely" to change their perception when the accommodation provider is not using technology effectively.
- The use of AI and robots by accommodation providers to replace hospitality professionals is also well accepted with 86% of travellers in China, 85% of travellers in Thailand and 76% of travellers in Indonesia saying they are "very supportive" or "supportive" of accommodation providers using AI and robots to automate previous human work processes.
Sankar Narayan, Managing Director and CEO of SiteMinder, said, "We can see that optimism is returning from travellers to the tourism sector, and there is demand for travel as travel restrictions and health concerns abate across the world. Despite inflation and rising costs, travellers are reporting they are undeterred and do not intend to cancel their travel plans, which is a positive sign for accommodation industry resilience and travel globally, particularly in Asia.
"The long-awaited recovery of travel has also emerged with a new type of traveller, who has higher expectations from hotels and their travel experiences than ever. We can see that, more than ever, travellers now have ambitions to book, travel, work, connect, and experience the world with the greatest flexibility and security possible."
The extensive report also extensively uncovers five key travel trends set to inform and inspire the accommodation and tourism industry:
1. The Macro-Travel Trend: The urge to travel is stronger than rising inflation
2. The Digital Influence Trend: Right now, travellers are the most winnable consumers on earth
3. The Bleisure Trend: Working travellers want the hotel of the future, today
4. The Trust Trend: Every digital touchpoint matters for the new trust-critical traveller
5. The Human Connection Trend: Tech-enabled travellers are not willing to compromise on human connection