SINGAPORE, 3 May 2017: With one in five online travel transactions already made on mobile in 2016, mobile travel sales will continue to grow and present the biggest opportunity for travel companies, according to Criteo, a performance marketing technology company.
It released its latest findings, last week based on a Criteo-commissioned study by Euromonitor International on mobile use in travel.
Euromonitor International surveyed 150 Singaporeans to analyse the online travel landscape, as well as browsing and purchase behaviours in Singapore to help travel businesses and online travel agents (OTAs) identify digital strategies to engage travellers throughout their purchase journey.
The research revealed that travel remains a priority for Singaporeans. In 2016, Singaporeans took 21.9 million outbound trips. Expenditure on leisure and recreation is expected to grow 3.2% CAGR from 2017 to 2020. Online travel sales have grown at 7.1% CAGR in the period 2011 to 2016, and totalled SGD6 billion in 2016 and mobile travel sales has accelerated, outpacing the growth of online travel sales, and will see a double-digit growth of 19.6% CAGR from 2017 to 2020.
“Singaporeans are tech savvy travellers who are browsing seamlessly across multiple devices to find the best deal before making their purchase,” said Criteo Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan general manager, Alban Villani.
“Travel websites and OTAs need to focus on providing a mobile experience that is user-friendly, easy to navigate, has add-on features and secure payment methods. To drive transactions, they need to engage with shoppers during the discovery, search and booking phases.”
While browsing online, all shoppers used a combination of OTAs, vendors’ own website, or app and online travel price aggregators. Across all age groups, laptops are the most preferred device for online browsing of travel products and services at 42%, followed by smartphones at 33% and desktops at 18%. Of those who choose to browse with their smartphones, instead of laptops/desktops, over half say it is more convenient, and 78% said it allowed them to do so on-the-go.
Laptops are also the preferred device used for booking, with half of all online travel sales made on laptops, compared with 21% on smartphones and 23% on desktops.
Most shoppers still choose to book with laptops as they “prefer to use a larger screen when making purchases” (57%) and “typing a lot of personal information is difficult on a small screen” (43%).
The key drivers for booking via smartphones are the ability to book anywhere (58%) and convenience when compared with laptops/desktops (33%).
According to the research, Singaporeans took an average of 5.2 trips in the last 12 months, with 63% taking five or fewer trips; almost half were mid-length stays of between three to six days.
52% of Singaporeans booked their trip between one to four months before departure, and they are most likely to do so while at home (79%) on a weekend, although they would already have browsed on weekdays (56%).
Other key findings:
The biggest driver for online booking is convenience – 88% chose a combination of factors such as time-saving (54%) and being more convenient than a phone or physical booking (54%).
Price also plays a big part in the shift towards online travel purchases, with 44% of respondents believing that online travel providers and OTAs offer a better deal.
Half of all online travel purchases are of accommodation and air travel.
When purchasing online, Singaporeans are most likely to directly book via websites or apps of the airlines and/or lodging (52%) as it would be easier to change or cancel their booking (47%).
They also make direct purchases through OTAs (37%), as the website is easy to use (45%).
Online and mobile strategies are crucial for retailers and OTAs to engage with shoppers, while they browse and book travel and ancillaries – 85% of shoppers have seen retargeted ads and 52% have clicked on them.