According to a research by American Express, 74% of travellers are more willing to book a trip, even if they have to change or cancel it later on.
As of April 2022, the travel industry has recovered to 77% of pre-Covid level (source). Is the villa rental market in the Asia Pacific also recovering? How has travel behaviour changed over the past two years, and how can villa owners stay on top of the trend? Check out our article!
Leisure Travel Trends in 2022
1. Travellers are ready to fly again.
According to a research by American Express, 74% of travellers are more willing to book a trip, even if they have to change or cancel it later on. Mastercard’s Travel 2022: Trends and Transitions showed that domestic travel is still leading the way for leisure travel in APAC, growing by 196.3% by the end of April 2022. However, international trips are gradually catching up: by the end of March 2022, long-haul and medium-haul flights have surpassed 2019 levels, while short-haul flights are still slightly behind, but the gap is closing.
Villa Finder has also seen similar trends amongst Asia destinations. The number of villa requests has been growing exponentially. In March 2022, the number of requests is still down by 33.63% as compared to 2019. However, in April, it was just 5.66% below pre-pandemic level. If we take a look at individual destinations, we can see that some destinations are doing better than others. Indonesia has recovered above 2019 level, while Thailand and Sri Lanka are still lagging behind. This is due to remaining travel restrictions in Thailand as well as the unrest in Sri Lanka.
The number of villa bookings are also still not at 2019 level yet. However, the growth trend is clear and follows the trends of villa requests.
2. Travel businesses in APAC are dependent on each country’s restrictions.
As the Omicron wave passed and restrictions eased, the number of flight bookings have been increasing in Singapore, provided that the destination country also removes border restrictions.
- To Australia: +143.5%
- To Thailand: +119.9%
- To Malaysia: +99.3%
- To Indonesia: +72.1%
- To India: +58%
- To Vietnam: +32.9%
For destinations that still have strict border restrictions, the number of flight bookings are still very low:
- To China: -94.7%
- To Taiwan: -91.3%
- To Hong Kong: -47.8%
Easing of outbound travel impacts the number of flights out of the country. Villa stays, on the other hand, are heavily dependent on the regulations of the local authorities. The graph below shows that the number of requests for Bali villas increased significantly after the Indonesian government loosened travel restrictions.
3. Travellers are ready to spend more and stay longer
A November 2021 report by the World Travel & Tourism Council and Trip.com stated that 70% of holidaymakers across the US, UK, Spain, Japan and Canada would spend more on their leisure trips in 2022 than they had spent in the past five years. For those who are planning to spend more, they plan to spend on upgrading accommodations, going to more expensive destinations. They also want to stay longer in a destination to fully experience the place and the local culture (source). Echoing this, Villa Finder’s data also saw an increase of 15.05% in the average booking value in APAC destinations. The average length of stay has increased by 26.65% from 2019 to 2022.
4. Travellers are more conscious of their impact
Vacationers are also more conscious about their impact on the environment and the local community. In a survey conducted by Virtuoso, 82% of travellers stated that the pandemic had made them want to travel more responsibly. 70% indicated that their experience would be enhanced if they travel sustainably. Also, 78% would choose businesses that have strong sustainability policies. (source)
Types of Trips Travellers Are Looking for
1. Multi-generation Family Trips
Post-pandemic and an extended period of isolation, people want to connect with friends and family members more than ever. We see an increase in family and group travels. People travel to celebrate a milestone like birthdays, anniversaries, or simply use travel as a reason to get together, connect and make up for lost time. Zicasso reported that the number of bookings for groups of six or more people increased by 57% as compared to 2019. (source)
2. Luxury, Relaxation, Unique Experiences
41% of Skyscanner’s Horizon respondents reported that they would spend more on ultimate relaxation in 2022 compared to 2019. Bucket list destinations is the second most popular type of trips, with 37% of travellers stating that they would spend their money on these destinations. The third comes city breaks like cocktails, shopping trips, walking tours, etc. 33% of respondents chose this option.
3. Wellness Trips
The Global Wellness Institute projected that the wellness travel market would grow by 10% per year, reaching $7 trillion in 2025 (source). After the pandemic, it is clear that people are becoming more health-conscious and prioritising their well-being in various aspects of their lives, including travel. Primary wellness travellers are motivated by wellness trips like silent treats, yoga, meditation retreats. On the other hand, secondary wellness travellers are those who participate in health-related activities on their journey, being it for leisure or business purposes. The secondary market accounts for 86% of wellness tourism expenditures. (source)
What It Means for Villas Owners
1. Focus on quality and service
More people travelling in groups creates a great opportunity for the villa market. Villas are a great option for people who want to stay together while still enjoying some privacy. To make your villa stand out, quality and service is of the utmost importance. Showcase that your villa is well maintained, the staff are well trained and ready to welcome guests. Hygiene and safety protocols have become the standards and the expectations, but do make sure to talk about that as it helps to build credibility and trustworthiness.
2. Understand your guests' requirements
Data has shown that people are looking to relax, to spend quality time with friends and family, and to immerse in the local culture. Self-care, health and wellness are also important. Also, they care about the environment. You can take this into consideration when you talk about the villa, the destination and activities surrounding your villa.
3. Connect through storytelling
Now is the time when travel brands are competing fiercely to get as many clients as they can. If you are an individual villa owner, you might not have the same budget and resources as many of the big names. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance for you to stand out. People are looking to connect more than ever. Showcase your local insights, the story behind your villas and your staff. Anecdotes work very well to create the human connection.
4. Communication is important
You and the staff have put in a lot of hard work to ensure a great experience for your guests. You should communicate about that. People do notice and appreciate the work behind the scene. Plus, information such as cancellation policies, terms and conditions should be clear and easily accessible.
While we are still heavily dependent on the travel restrictions, there's one thing we know for sure: when restrictions are eased, travel comes back. Maybe faster than you’d expect. So make sure you are always prepared.