International travel is back and APAC’s globetrotters are dusting off their passports to make up for lost time and pent-up wanderlust. The surge in travel, however, doesn’t mean that all travel brands will naturally benefit from the increase in demand.
APAC travelers consider only five brands on average when making travel bookings.
In fact, new insights from our recent study of APAC travelers indicate that it’s critical for your brand to buckle down in this period to ride the wave of travel rebound.
The study, conducted with Kantar, reveals that APAC travelers consider only five brands on average when making their bookings, and a quarter of them are willing to switch to new brands.1 This means that you stand a chance of doing business only if your brand makes it into the narrow consideration set of travelers. Even then, you’ll need to secure their favor because gone are the days when you could say of travelers: “once loyal, forever loyal.”
To win travelers’ trust and choice, you’ll need to first understand them and their needs before you can show up for them credibly. And as our study shows, there are now four types of travelers that brands need to engage in this time as travel takes off.
Know and engage the four types of APAC travelers
Our study identifies the four new categories of APAC travelers as ”luxury loyalists,” “urban traditionalists,” “eco-friendly families,” and “remote value-seekers.” They were uncovered following a survey of over 6,000 people across six markets in APAC: Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
We unpack the travel behaviors of the four types of travelers in APAC, and show how your brand can engage with each of them, so that you’re top-of-mind and their ultimate choice.
This archetype, comprising 25% of those surveyed, is focused on maximizing enjoyment and reducing hassle at all costs. They prefer all-inclusive options and are likely to pay someone to help them plan their trips. It’s no surprise therefore, that they tend to be the most loyal to brands that meet their needs, as compared with the other traveler types.
They are also 2.2X more likely than others to seek out exceptional luxury experiences. Their definition of luxury, however, ranges from enjoying material extravagance to enriching their minds and showing lavish generosity. Some might spend their holiday shopping and enjoying fine dining, while others take time to learn and broaden their perspectives, or help others through volunteer work.
How to engage them: Create and promote all-inclusive travel packages that provide a posh and hassle-free holiday. Build customer loyalty through immersive online video content that impresses them with the premium, bespoke travel experience your brand provides.
Singapore Airlines’ “Travel Like Never Before” campaign, for example, shows how its premium flight experience allows its passengers to, as it says, “perfect the art of doing nothing” on their holidays. This would appeal to “luxury loyalists” looking for a carefree getaway.
These travelers look forward to action-packed holidays in cities. They want to visit landmarks, try local treats, and check off bucket-list experiences. Also on their radar: trips that’ll reunite them with loved ones overseas. They make up about 27% of travelers surveyed.
When it comes to arranging their trips, they are cautious of COVID-19 and they plan and research meticulously while keeping an eye on costs. They are open to trying new travel brands and are 50% more likely than other traveler types to book with new accommodation providers.2
How to engage them: Show up on Search as a provider of classic tourist experiences. Promote your brand with assets that highlight tourist landmarks and activities, and position yourself as an enabler of such experiences. If you provide accommodation, use text ads and hotel ads to deliver relevant deals to them.
Win them over with online video content, which they rely on for research. Collaborate with popular travel content creators, known for their detailed recommendations and reviews, to feature your brand. In your video campaigns, use direct messages and an energetic vibe, which resonates with this archetype.
The Rhythm of K-Beauty video by the Korea Tourism Organization, for example, uses upbeat electronic music and bright colors to showcase Seoul’s famed beauty stores, which would appeal to “urban traditionalists.”
Nothing makes these budget-conscious travelers, who holiday as a family, happier than a vacation where they get to make memories with loved ones. They’re game for a wide range of activities, including culinary experiences, market jaunts, trips to historical sites and theme parks, and they especially enjoy sightseeing in nature.
They make up about 17% of travelers surveyed and they’re most likely, out of all the archetypes, to pay more for environmentally-conscious travel providers that align with their values.
How to engage them: Emphasize your sustainability initiatives in marketing materials. If you provide accommodation, highlight how your earth-friendly practices create a clean, welcoming second home for families on holiday.
Tap into the power of word of mouth. Partner with family-oriented content creators to feature your brand authentically in their online videos. Incentivize highly satisfied customers to share their reviews of your brand on popular travel research platforms like Search and YouTube.
The priority of these thrifty travelers is to unwind in a remote, domestic destination, exploring the great outdoors with family and friends. They are careful about their spending and will stick to budget options. Comprising about 32% of the travelers surveyed, they are the dominant type among the four categories of APAC travelers.
How to engage them: Provide them with an adventure on a budget. Price your offerings competitively and provide money-back guarantees for cancellations. In your Search ads, use keywords such as “cheapest in” or “best value in” so that you show up in searches for quality budget options.
Offer these value-seekers loyalty incentives. For instance, the InterContinental Hotels Group has a loyalty marketing program that allows members to earn reward points, beyond hotel stays, through meal orders on GrubHub and dining reservations on OpenTable.
After more than two years of a global travel standstill due to the pandemic, the behaviors of travelers have evolved. In this new period of travel rebound, brands that are able to cater to the priorities and motivations of the four new types of travelers in APAC will be well-positioned to win over customers, new and old.
Contributor: Aditi Bhattacharya, Industry Analytical Head, Travel and Finance