The year was marked by several external challenges to the tourism and travel industry in the 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 many countries such as Japan, Korea and Australia. Even with all of the negative events of 2015, tourism in the Asia Pacific continued to grow steadily, according to UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. It seems that travellers are looking for fast, innovative and easy ways to use hotel booking tools.
Here are the top ten travel trends for 2016 by Hotels.com.
1. Hotel Booking in Your Palm
Travel is inherently an on-the-go experience. Travellers can get everything they need through the devices in their hands. Booking accommodation has never been so convenient! Good news for tech-savvy and busy working parents who are looking for that short family getaway.
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2. Value-Added Services
To attract people to stay, visa application discount, travel insurance, a Wi-Fi egg and a 1-day local tour are some of the value-added services that hotels are offering to travellers, making it easier for them plan their trips in advance. We think these value-added services will continue to entice customers in 2016.
3. Be the Hotel Expert
Savvy travellers are reading and writing reviews, and have become an integral part of the hotel booking process. With genuine guest reviews, travellers 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.
4. Make use of loyalty programmes
Signing up for rewards programmes is a great way to save on travel. A recent survey reveals that over 50 per cent of respondents in Asia enrolled in loyalty programs valued free products, gift certificates or cash rebates.
5. On-the-go Itinerary
Travellers may not have enough time to make the hotel room booking in advance. Just in Hotel.com alone, over 25 per cent of travellers across the globe tend to book their trip with last-minute deals to enjoy the best hotel discounts in the first nine months of 2015.
6. Hot Travel Destinations for 2016
Rio, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Bangkok: At a global level we expect Brazil will be a favoured destination with the biggest sporting event on the planet going to Rio de Janeiro in August 2016. The Olympic Games in Rio shall be Brazil’s biggest draw for travellers – especially sports lovers.
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From an Asia perspective, we think Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Bangkok will continue to be big for travellers accommodation in hotels was markedly cheaper according to our latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index™ (HPI™). For the first half of 2015, it showed that Kuala Lumpur had a 14 per cent decrease in room rates to SGD118 per night for Singaporean travellers. Hong Kong and Thailand, especially Bangkok, are still amongst the top destinations for travellers across the 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 US and Western Europe will lose 3 percent and 2 percent respectively. Daddies who travel overseas for work, take note! We expect business travel will continue to grow, along with the trend of more corporate travellers 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 travellers 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 $340 billion by 2020.
9. Increase in Travel Spending
Many destinations benefitted from more favourable exchange rates, while others became more expensive, but saw their purchasing power abroad increase. According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, China continued to report double-digit growth in outbound travel, benefitting Japan, Thailand, the United States and various European destinations. One of the emerging markets, India, reported double-digit growth in tourism expenditure.
10. Personalised Travel Experiences
Travellers are using every tool out there to customise their journeys. One tool is a mobile app, which will further enhance the traveller’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.
Contributed by Hotels.com.
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