Top 10 travel trends

Economy January 13, 2016 13:55

By The Nation

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Bangkok, Rio, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong are expected to be top destinations for 2016, according to Hotels.com's top 10 travel trends released yesterday.



The online booking company said that at a global level, 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. 
From an Asia perspective, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Bangkok will continue to draw travellers due mainly to cheap hotel room rates.
According to its latest hotel price index, in the first half of 2015, the average room rates paid by Thais travelling to Kuala Lumpur dropped by 13 per cent from the same period a year earlier. In Hong Kong, hotel room rates paid by Singaporean travellers were also cut by 6 per cent from the same period a year earlier to $192 due to the return of the pro-democracy demonstrations which deterred visitors, particularly from the Chinese mainland. Singaporean travellers to Thailand, especially Bangkok, also saw a 5 per cent decrease in average room rates to $124. 
The top destination is one of top 10 travel trends recently released by Hotels.com. Others involve changing behaviours among travellers which prompt all operators in the travel industry to come up with new business strategies.
“These are the top ten travel trends for 2016.” said Abhiram Chowdhry, Vice President and Managing Director for the Hotels.com Asia Pacific brand. “We have noticed customer preferences changing constantly; right across the shopping spectrum and the pace of change is perhaps strongest in Asia Pacific.”
 
Here are the rest of the top 10 travel trends:
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 hand.  At Hotels.com, we saw the demand for hotel bookings on mobile phones increasing rapidly. During the first nine months of 2015, more than 1 in 3 bookings on Hotels.com were made on smartphones.
2. Value-Added Services:  Visa application discount, travel insurance, a Wi-Fi egg and a 1-day local tour are some of the value-added services that travellers receive when booking their hotel room through Hotels.com – making it easier for them plan their trips in advance. We think these value-added services will continue to be attractive to 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 17 million genuine guest reviews on the Hotels.com site, travellers can choose properties based on their ranking in categories such as convenience, service, comfort and cleanliness. We think 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 percent of respondents in Asia enrolled in loyalty programs valued free products, gift certificates or cash rebates. More than 20 million members of Hotels.com Rewards Programme can redeem one free* night after spending 10 nights in a hotel booked on Hotels.com.
5. On-the-go Itinerary: Travellers may not have enough time to make the hotel room booking in advance.  Over 25 percent of travellers across the globe tend to book their trip with last minute deals at Hotels.com to enjoy the best hotel discounts in the first nine months of 2015. Again last minute travel will continue to grow in 2016.
6. “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.  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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Personalised Travel Experiences:  Travellers are using every tool out there to customise their journeys. For example, at Hotels.com, we are delivering practical tools through our 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. 

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