SINGAPORE, 25 September 2018: Business travel within Asia is growing at twice the pace of the rest of the world and looks set to overtake the top-spending Americas within the next 10 years according to the latest Amadeus Journey and Me research.
To help tap this growth opportunity and get inside the mind of the business traveller, Amadeus’ research looks at the needs, habits and motivations of the Asia Pacific business traveller. The research, conducted in collaboration with YouGov, surveyed 6,870 respondents across 14 markets in Asia Pacific.
The research found that while employees don’t need to bear the cost of their business travel, Asia Pacific business travellers are remain as cost conscious as their leisure travel counterparts, and are most interested in receiving recommendations that help them save money (34%).
The prevalent trend is to mix business with pleasure when on a company expense-paid trip. The company pays for the basic trip costs, while the traveller merges some leisure activities for added value. More than 60% of business trips now include a leisure portion and many business travellers are shopping around for the best deal even though the basic costs of hotels and air ticket are covered by the company.
However, not all Asia Pacific business travellers are the same. While employees from Singapore source recommendations that help them save money and make their itinerary more useful (both 40%), business travellers from China, India and Vietnam prefer recommendations that ensure their safety (37%, 34%, and 37% respectively). Japanese employees prefer recommendations that make their travel more comfortable (39%) and Koreans prefer recommendations for sightseeing (35%).
The focus on cost has seen the sharing economy – specifically ride-sharing services like Uber and Grab, and home-sharing services like Airbnb and Couch Surfing – become widely accepted for business travel, even more so than for leisure.
Almost half (46%) of business travellers use ride-sharing services to get around during their trip, compared to 31% of leisure travelers.
Alongside cost saving, the top reasons business travellers use the ride-sharing and home-sharing services is for ease and convenience (59% for ride-sharing, 50% for home-sharing) and better quality and service (43% for ride-sharing, 39% for home-sharing). However, for Australian (47%) and Hong Kong (36%) business travellers, the flexibility of the sharing economy is the top reason that they choose to home-share.
Access to maps is more important than work emails. While business travellers are cost conscious, there is one creature comfort they will happily pay for – connectivity. While leisure travellers rely mainly on Wi-Fi, business travellers are open to multiple options to stay connected, and are happy to invest.
Wi-Fi remains the popular choice, but purchasing a local sim card at the destination is a close second for business travellers from Indonesia (54%), Singapore (52%), Philippines (51%), Hong Kong (47%), New Zealand (45%), Vietnam (45%) and Malaysia (44%). On the other hand, Korean (64%) and Japanese (40%) business travellers prefer to use international roam-as-you-go services, while those from India (56%), Thailand (51%), Australia (43%) and Taiwan (42%) prefer to buy an international phone or data package before they leave home.
While it would make sense that these employees choose to stay connected to keep up-to-date with work, this is not listed as the highest priority by any Asia Pacific business travellers, except those from Korea (56%). Instead, access to maps and location information is rated as the top priority for staying connected (53%), followed by letting people know they’re safe (50%).
Business travellers from Singapore are mostly aligned with their regional counterparts, however they place a greater priority on local leisure activities. While access to maps and location information is their top priority (67%), researching things to do at the destination is a close second (63%), on par with letting people know they’re safe (63%).
Travel providers have a unique opportunity to engage business travellers. In contrast to leisure travellers, they believe recommendations from various platforms are more relevant. Specifically, recommendations that helped them save money (34%), ensured their safety (31%) and made their travel more comfortable (29%) were deemed the most useful. The top three sources they listed for relevant recommendations were online booking websites (51%), social networks (49%) and travel review sites (47%). However, in Korea and Taiwan, travel agents are still rated as the top source (56% and 52% respectively). Even post-trip, two-thirds (66%) of business travellers are open to receiving recommendations, most likely because they will return to that destination in the future.
It’s rather difficult to find high value revenue tourism markets, even the business travel market, as business travellers are looking for cheap products too. The evaluation of tourism income by public tourism organisations must be done carefully to ensure the estimates are accurate. Don’t over estimate.
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