How OTAs can meet changing demands as international travel takes off
Boon Sian Chai, Trip.com Group’s Managing Director and Vice President (International Markets) discussed how OTAs can adapt and evolve with the return of international travel at yesterday’s Travel Tech Asia.
He shared some in-depth insights by Trip.com in an exclusive interview with ITB Asia News.
What has changed in the behaviour and expectations of Asian travellers compared to the pre-pandemic period? Do you see new trends emerging in consumption habits?
We effectively see new trends. People have gradually adapted to living, working and travelling during the pandemic; travellers prefer non-urban destinations, and the length of stay has increased; Gen Z and Gen Y are leading the travel and tourism transformation with a focus on the convenience of technology. To reply to this, Trip.com launched Trip.Best, which curates a vast range of hotels to provide great options to travellers looking for a break. We also introduced Trip Moments, where our users engage with other travellers, have more fun and earn Trip coins. Those can be used to offset costs when purchasing Trip.com products.
What are currently the main trends in Asian markets?
Asia’s vacation hotspots have seen a huge surge in bookings, with an increased appetite for luxury hotels. Trip.com data points to a significant rise in bookings in Indonesia, with a July year-on-year increase of 595% and the average booking value up by 184%. Likewise 5-star hotel bookings in Indonesia recorded a 5.4% increase between the second half of 2021 and the first half of 2022. We even experienced 453% YOY growth of 4- and 5-star hotel bookings in Jakarta in August 2022, while Bali’s 4- and 5-star hotel saw bookings up 1,515% in the same month.
In Japan, hotel bookings for July are up 108% YOY, despite a slight decline of 7.9% on average booking value. However, Japan saw the highest jump in 5-star hotel bookings across the destinations we analysed, with a 7% increase between bookings made in the latter half of 2021 and the first half of 2022.
Do you see further changes in travel consumption over the next years to come?
At Trip.com, we are always anticipating changing consumer preferences and adapting accordingly. One of the changes relates to consumers’ attitudes towards sustainable tourism. Trip.com Group released its “Sustainable Travel Consumer Report 2022” in September. This report sheds light on the increased demand for sustainable travel and its implications for the travel industry and the wider world. Across the globe, sustainable travel as a concept and practice has moved from the back of travellers’ minds to claim a dominant position in the decision-making process, with close to eight in 10 travellers (78.7%) acknowledging its importance and 67.7% of travellers being open to paying more for sustainable options.
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