SINGAPORE, 27 January 2017: Travel that was perceived as a luxury by Asians is now considered a necessity, states a study released, Thursday, by Sabre Corporation.
The technology company serving the global travel industry, revealed a series of highly contrasting traveller preferences behind the growing Asian Pacific travel market.
Four out of five Asian travellers surveyed stated that travel was no longer a luxury for them. It’s a necessity.
“Barriers to travel in the region are breaking down – strong macro-economic performance, rising personal incomes, a surge in affordable travel options and increased government support are all driving growth – meaning traveller volumes are undisputedly on the rise. But traveller preferences are also evolving,” commented Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific vice president of sales and market development, Todd Arthur.
“Those who work in the industry are observing that serving travellers based on a traditional trip category alone, such as business or solo or senior travel, has limited value in today’s more dynamic market.”
Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, director general Andrew Herdman noted: “It’s hard to segment consumers across the markets, but you may be able to identify some common themes based on the values of travellers and psychographics. No one has approached it this way yet.”
Major polarisation of Asian travellers exists.
Using a psychographic assessment of travellers, the study found that major polarisation existed across two key dimensions around the region: ‘Motivation’ – whether a traveller is motivated by ‘self’ or ‘others’ in their travel choices – and ‘Behaviour’ – specifically the level of control a person wants to exert over their trip.
Self-oriented travel with a personal touch
However a small majority of travellers are more likely to be motivated to travel by self-oriented reasons (56%), seeking to build their own individuality and life experiences rather than the opportunity to gain experiences to share with others (44%).
When it comes to behaviour, more travellers would rather exert control over their trip (58%) over letting someone else take charge (42%).
This reflects a growing sense of consumer empowerment and willingness to invest more effort in personalising the travel experience; pre, mid or post trip.
Introducing four Asian traveller types
Mapping these polarisations across both behaviour and motivation gives rise to four distinct Asian traveller types. They are: the Explorer, Connector, Follower and Opportunist.
Taking more control of a trip does not come at the expense of external support and trip guidance offered by travel providers and agents. In fact the study found that over three in five Asians (64%) expect to use a travel agency for their next trip.
Sabre is working with travel companies in the region to introduce new technologies that help them adapt and respond to these changing traveller types.
“We’re encouraging our customers in the travel industry to ask, ‘how do I evolve my offering to connect with these travellers in the way they want?’ That’s how they’ll capture their attention, and credit cards,” said Todd.
“Take the Explorers, for example. They are the traveller type most likely to want to plan their trip on the go, so there’s a great opportunity today for the industry to provide consumers with technology platforms that offer on-demand trip planning and travel shopping services.”
‘Explorers’ take top spot
One in three Asian travellers fall into the ‘Explorer’ category, making this the most common traveller type around the region. Notably though, after this there is an almost even split of travellers, by volume, between the three remaining traveller types.
Geographic groupings of traveller types do exist around the region though. After Explorer, which is the top traveller type for all 11 Asian markets surveyed, the following groupings were recorded:
Connectors tend to be swaying their influence in Australia, Indonesia, Korea and New Zealand.
Followers are gathering together in Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.
Opportunists are ready to go in China and Taiwan.
Sabre Travel Network’s senior vice president for Asia Pacific, Roshan Mendis, concluded: “Not only are we the world’s largest travel market today but we are also one of the regions with the highest levels of projected growth. With this comes rapid evolution in the way people travel; their expectations, choices, likes and dislikes. We need to understand these changes to keep the travel industry players we serve at the forefront of this evolution.”
Footnote: The Futures Company conducted the report for Sabre Corporation between June and August 2016, based on a quantitative survey of 3,233 travellers from the Asia Pacific region, comprising both business and leisure travellers.