The year was marked by several external challenges to the tourism and travel industry in Asia Pacific, including the Southeast Asian haze, MERS in South Korea, a bomb blast in Bangkok, and of course the currency fluctuation that still grips countries such as Japan, Korea, and Australia. Even with all of the negative events of 2015, tourism in Asia Pacific continued to grow steadily, according to UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.
The Top 10 Travel Trends in 2016:
1. Hotel Booking in Your Palm:
Travel is inherently an on-the-go experience. Travelers can get everything they need through the devices in their hand. Hotels.com saw the demand for hotel bookings on mobile phones increasing rapidly. During the first nine months of 2015, more than one in three bookings on Hotels.com were made on smartphones.
2. Value-Added Services:
Visa application discount, travel insurance, a Wi-Fi egg and a one-day local tour are some of the value-added services that travelers receive when booking rooms through Hotels.com – making it easier for them plan their trips in advance. It thinks these value-added services will continue to be attractive to customers in 2016.
3. Be the Hotel Expert:
Savvy travelers are reading and writing reviews, and have become an integral part of the hotel booking process. With 17 million genuine guest reviews on the Hotels.com site,
travelers can choose properties based on their ranking in categories such as convenience, service, comfort and cleanliness. Customers will get savvier about reviews in 2016 and value genuine reviews a lot more, Hotels.com says.
4. Make use of loyalty programs:
Signing up for rewards programs is a great way to save on travel. A recent survey reveals that over 50 percent of respondents in Asia enrolled in loyalty programs valued free products, gift certificates or cash rebates. More than 20 million members of Hotels.com Rewards Program can redeem one free night after spending 10 nights in a hotel booked on its site.
5. On-the-go Itinerary:
Travelers may not have enough time to make hotel room bookings in advance. Over 25 percent of travelers across the globe tend to book their trip with last minute deals at Hotels.com to enjoy the best hotel discounts in the first nine months of 2015. Again last minute travel will continue to grow in 2016.
6. Top Travel Destinations for 2016:
Rio, Kuala Lumpur (KL), Hong Kong, and Bangkok: At a global level, Brazil is expected to be a favored destination as the biggest sporting event on the planet is going to Rio de Janeiro in August 2016 — the Olympic Games. From an Asia perspective we think KL, Hong Kong, and Bangkok will continue to be big for travelers’ accommodation in hotels was markedly cheaper according to the latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index™ (HPI™). For the first half of 2015, it showed that KL had a 13 percent decrease in room rates to THB 2,026 per night for Thai travelers. Hong Kong and Thailand, especially Bangkok, are still among the top destinations for travelers across Asia Pacific, according to the HPI.
7. “Bleisure” on the Rise:
Business travel in Asia, in general, is on the rise. The Global Business Travel Association expects that by 2018, Asia Pacific will have gained another 5 percent in market share, while the U.S. and Western Europe will lose 3 percent and 2 percent respectively. Business travel is expected to continue to grow, along with the trend of more corporate travelers extending their business trips to add leisure travel with their families.
8. Millennial Matters:
Millennials, a generation who is more affluent, savvier with technology and more socially connected than any other generation past. This segment of travelers will continue to become bigger and more important. Driven by income growth, the Asian Millennials spend on international travel is expected to increase by 1.6 times to US$340 billion1 by 2020.
9. Increase in Travel Spending:
Many destinations benefitted from more favorable exchange rates, while others became more expensive, but saw their purchasing power abroad increase. According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, China continued to report double-digit growth in outbound travel, benefitting Japan, Thailand, the U.S., and various European destinations. India, reported double-digit growth in tourism expenditure.
10. Personalized Travel Experiences:
Travelers are using every tool out there to customize their journeys. For example, at Hotels.com, they are delivering practical tools through the mobile app, which will further enhance the traveler’s hotel stay. This includes adding local services such as transportation options, providing walking or driving directions, ways to purchase events tickets and tools for sharing personal experiences, such as pictures and real time reviews.