Recently Westwin, a digital marketing and consulting firm that focuses on cross-boarder business in and out of China, released a fascinating report on Chinese consumer cross-border purchasing behaviour. For this week’s podcast, I caught up with Larry You the marketing manager of Westwin for overseas businesses, to learn more.
The following is an abridged version of that conversation. You speaks:
Westwin’s background Westwin provides brand strategies and digital marketing solutions to help clients achieve success in China and globally, formerly known as MSN China until 2004. We help our clients with online marketing; in 2010 we launched Bing ads in China to help Chinese companies such as Alibaba and jd.com to it to achieve success abroad. In 2016 through a management buyout the company was renamed as Westwin.
Westwin;s collaboration with BingRight now we are partnering with Chinese search engines and social platforms to offer foreign brands China-dedicated marketing and advertising solutions.
On one hand we are helping national brands to come to China, helping them with brand exposure and presence; on the other hand, we are helping Chinese companies to go abroad to do the same thing.
The report A of foreign successful companies fail in China. 10 or 15 years ago, the early age of modern age of cross border businesses, foreign companies trying to come to China were making a lot of mistakes.
It became a huge lesson and learning experience – especially for companies nowadays. I think the real wave of countries companies going abroad started in the last two or three years; both global and Chinese companies are learning a lot from the mistakes made by the foreign companies.
Digital trends in China Chinese consumers are tech savvy and are using their mobile phone all the time. You have to keep up with trends then you have to know what’s going on in the ‘digital jungle’.
There are three key trends in outbound tourism; first, the numbers and growth. The number of outbound Chinese tourists has grown rapidly to 130 million. Keep in mind that this is not just about the travellers but the consumers: in 2017, China’s
outbound purchasing reached USD 115 billion – the highest number in the world. That’s a 5% increase from 2016.
[The report shows 7.5% growth – this is 7.5% growth on 130 million people; 10 million new outbound travellers are entering the space every year. We’ve never seen a growth curve like this in terms of outbound volume and I don’t think we will again.]
Travel type Second, type of travel. Now, more customers are choosing a self-guided tour or semi-self-guided tour compared to a travel agency tour, which was more popular 5 or 10 years ago. Semi-self-guided means a mix of self-guided and agency travel; for example, I book the air ticket and hotel by myself, but when I arrive at the hotel I sign up for a guided tour.
85% of the outbound traveller volume self-guided or semi self-guided. Only 15% is being reported as guided or managed tours.
Chinese tourists themselves are changing. Before, there were more senior citizens who had a language barrier so they were more reliant on the travel agencies. These days, Chinese tourists are younger and more educated so the language barrier has gone.
“A golden opportunity for tour operators”
Nowadays, Chinese people also have easy access to more information so they can do their homework and plan the trip themselves, for example via social media.
Scenic spots in Europe used to be famous for being filled with Chinese tourists but this stereotype is gone and replaced by individual Chinese travellers who are spending a lot of money on food, hotels and souvenirs – this is a golden opportunity for tour operators.
Capturing the market Japan, Korea, and the United States are the top key markets these days; plus Australia, United Kingdom Singapore, Canada are also drawing a lot of attention for outbound tourism.
The average traveller is no longer a senior citizen. From our research, they are aged 35 to 44 – they are younger than you might think. They are spending more, the average expenditure for an outbound tourists in the past 12 months is RMB 20000 or about USD 3000.
Tourists with children are spending more than those without children, so, if your brand is targeting families and young parents there are a lot of marketing opportunities.
Female travellers are spending more and the most popular items are cosmetics, apparel and footwear. Also, females make up the vast majority of frequent travellers. With the change of lifestyle, more females are embracing travel around the world.
However, men also buy a lot of cosmetics, perhaps for their families or loved ones.
If I am going abroad, my colleagues and my family will know and they will say, ‘Can buy me some souvenirs?’. I have a shopping list of gifts for my parents, for my girlfriend for my colleagues. I’m going there with a mission to shop.
Payment methods Before we always assumed Chinese outbound tourists were paying with cash or credit card. According to our report bank cards are still very important at 77%; however, mobile payment options Alipay and WeChat are very strong. 69% of tourists chose to use Alipay when abroad and WeChat Pay accounted for 46%.
These payment apps are easy and really popular, especially in first tier and second tier cities. These are widely accepted; you can go out in China and not need any cash – make sure you have battery on and you’re covered.
“Even though I have cash when I travel, it helps to use WeChat pay”
Furthermore, these apps are becoming very popular in foreign countries such as the famous cities for travelers, such as New York, Sydney, Bangkok and Singapore. In Bangkok every 7-Eleven accepts WeChat pay. Even though I have cash when I travel, it helps to use WeChat pay as it’s connected to my bank account at home.
The Singapore changi airport has covered wechat pay in every store so that’s good news for Chinese consumers and better news for the airport itself.
Payment tools as media providers ‘Scan the QR code and pay’ is the main function for these payment apps, but they can do more than that. Let’s say you want to go to New York City and you want to pay with Alipay. You open the app to pay and it also shows more information about the neighbourhood – a bit like TripAdvisor.
You can find great restaurants, shops and coffee houses around the area. Other users can share their experiences so you can not only pay but find information around you -which can trigger consumption.
The main source of information, for outbound travel, are the e-commerce platforms, search engines and social media. And they are all domestic platforms, for example Weibo and WeChat, which have become important to search for information overseas. You might assume that they would use local platforms like Yelp or TripAdvisor but ]we prefer to use] the Chinese platforms that we are used to. Indeed, TripAdvisor only has 5% of market share.
Crip is no doubt the number one for travel information and you can do this pre-booking so it operates more like an OTA. Fliggy is becoming more popular; it was launched by Alibaba and Alipay is of course helping their business. These channels are very effective if you want to look into a marketing campaign or advertising as the average Chinese tourist is very mobile-centric.
Denping-Meituan is also very popular. It started as a restaurant recommendation platform, similar to Yelp. As its popularity increased it grew from restaurants to hotels, to shops and bars, and now tourism.
“You are almost definitely going to use Denping”
If you go to a new city and you are looking for a famous place to visit, you are almost definitely going to use Denping. You can see other people’s comments, with pictures and videos, and now Denping is working with the merchants to provide Groupon-style deals. That was mainly in China but is now growing to foreign countries such as London Sydney, and New York.
You can find restaurant listings, recommendations and comments from similar Chinese tourists. This is a really smart channel for local businesses to market themselves to Chinese people digitally, and to convert them from just a viewer to a purchaser.
Converting to purchase The main drivers to purchase are opinion leaders – friends, relatives, colleagues, or KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) such as internet celebrities – who take 61% of market share.
The next is discounts at 54%; we had assumed that discounts was the key reason for outbound tourists to buy. Third is brand story or brand culture, at 42%. This is particularly attractive for cross-border tourists and overseas residents.
“If your brand has a great story or culture make sure that you translate it into Chinese”
This is also for individuals with a higher education who play attention to the cultural and creativity of a certain product. If your brand has a great story or culture make sure that you translate it into Chinese and make full use of it.
Social commerce Get your story out via Chinese social media platforms. The two giants, Weibo and WeChat, are not just social platforms for people to contact each other, but they are a great way to search for a product or brand information even for overseas companies. We check Weibo with a very high frequency so if you’re present there, there’s no way we can miss it.
Chinese consumers want to see real opinions and want to see how these places interact with people. Chinese people are still highly reliant on the word of mouth and the opinions of fellow Chinese tourists. Let’s say we go to a restaurant in London; even though it’s widely popular for London citizens, Chinese visitors feel like they have a link to other fellow Chinese tourists so we rely on their opinion.
Social commerce is simply e-commerce with a social flavour. If you see a brand talking about their product on WeChat, it’s just one click to the e-commerce platform, also within WeChat. It’s useful for brand presence and popularity but also you can change them from a follower to a consumer.
Conclusion The report has a lot of interesting themes if you are looking to target Chinese travellers; especially buying habits and age groups, and preferred advertising platforms.
“Find your tone and have the localisation mindset”
Above all, if you want to win this market, you have to keep up with digital trends including social advertising. Our company is trying to help with localisation which is very important for brands and Chinese travellers. Make sure you find your tone and have the localisation mindset; that will be the key for success.
Recently Westwin, a digital marketing and consulting firm that focuses on cross-boarder business in and out of China, released a fascinating report on Chinese consumer cross-border purchasing behaviour. For this week’s podcast, I caught up with Larry You the marketing manager of Westwin for overseas businesses, to learn more.
According to a study by the independent accountants and business consultants Moore Stephens, there has been marked decline in the number of travel agencies going into insolvency, due to the effects of online trading, in the last five years.
Falling 30% since 2013, which translates to a drop of 47 travel agency closures a year to 33, Moore Stephens cited that “the internet revolution of the last two decades has thinned out the less financially stable businesses, leaving those whose business models are better insulated against the threat of consumers buying DIY holidays.”
Aside from agencies learning how to better respond to the threat of OTAs, the current trend for specialist holidays and experience-driven vacations, whether bespoke luxury trips in far-flung destinations or guided treks across the glaciers of Iceland, has seen British customers require and value the expertise and knowledge of TA’s more than ever before.
As Chris Marsden, the restructuring & insolvency partner at Moore Stephens, pointed out: “Travel agencies are performing better than they have been in recent years. New technology platforms and the evolving expectations of travellers have revolutionised the way the sector works.
“Successful travel operators are those that have moved away from standard package holidays”
Marsden went on to add: “More travellers, especially from the younger generation, increasingly want an ‘experience’ rather than just a holiday – that gives travel agents and tour operators a real opportunity.
“It is harder to piece together those more complex, once-in-a-lifetime holidays from the internet, and that is where travel agents can still compete really well. The successful travel operators are those that have moved away from standard package holidays to more boutique and bespoke products.
“High-quality customer services is one of the keys to success in the market alongside the adoption and effective use of technology. However, travel agencies are also often able to offer better rates and upgrades than those that can be found online, as they are likely to have a relationship with their suppliers which allows them to negotiate prices.
“The market is both challenging and continually evolving, and agencies must fight to stay relevant”
Despite this optimistic outlook Marsden closed his comments with a warning that agencies should not take anything for granted: “The market is both challenging and continually evolving, and agencies must fight to stay relevant against online-only competitors.
“Building customer loyalty by creating a bespoke experience through knowledgeable staff face to face is of paramount importance.”
Medical travel insurance provider, AllClear, has found that Brits are more likely to speak the local language and eat the local cuisine when travelling abroad.
Just in time for the summer holidays, AllClear revealed data on how Brits actually behave when travelling to other countries. According to a survey of 2,124 respondents, 40% regularly speak the local dialect abroad, with only 8% not giving it a try. These figures are in contrast to the stereotype for Brits, who tend to speak loudly and slowly, rather than to attempt another language.
“We’re better than we might think at embracing foreign cultures”
Chris Rolland, CEO of AllClear, said the overall results show that the stereotype may not be deserved: “Brits get a bad reputation abroad, and it is good to see we’re better than we might think at embracing foreign cultures.”
In breaking this stereotype, millennials (25-34 years old) are leading the charge with only 4% saying they never try to speak the local language abroad. This number is similar to Londoners with also just 4% claiming they never try.
However, respondents from Yorkshire, the Humber and West Midlands are found to be least likely to adapt to a foreign tongue.
In terms of eating the local delicacy, the survey showed that 69% usually eat local cuisine when on holiday, with only 2% going for what they’re familiar with. Again, millennials lead the way when it comes to taking culinary adventures, with 75% eating local cuisine when on holiday.
The West Midlands is the region that shies away from foreign cuisine most with 7% admitting to never sampling the local cuisine. On the other hand, 76% from the South East favour eating local food when abroad. Respondents from the Welsh are also more adventurous, with 73% eating locally abroad and 0% from Wales claiming to never eat the local cuisine.
The Louvre, Paris, FranceAs the world’s top tourist attractions compete to grab our attention, MyVoucherCodes has compiled data to give us an idea of how much attractions are trying to get out of our pockets. The survey included some of the most coveted attractions from all over the world, with entry prices obtained through historical data from official websites or through news and announcements between 2008 and 2018.
UK In the UK, a thousand British families were included in the survey. It showed that 9 out of 10 feel they are being priced out of visitor attractions both at home and while on holiday abroad, with 46% of the respondents planning only one day out this summer.
Key findings found that Chessington World of Adventures has had the highest price increase with 165%, followed by Blackpool Tower which comes in at second with a 160% difference. Overall, the average price increase for attractions in the UK is at 81%.
USA Popular for its Disney and Universal Studios franchises, the US holds some of the world’s most profitable theme parks. In Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, the current average entry prices for a family of four is at USD 670, which used to be USD 291.96 in 2008, total increase of 129.48%. The Alcatraz Island came in second, followed by the Empire State Building. The average price increase in the US is at 70%.
Europe Travelling to Europe is a common entry on bucket lists, but unfortunately for some, it remains a dream given the high costs of attractions. The world-famous Louvre in Paris came out on top with a 161% increase, followed by La Sagrada Familia in Spain with 115%. In Europe, the average price increase is 63%.
Asia Among the four regions, Asia took the bottom spot for having the least amount of increase in entry prices, with an average increase of only 44%. Although Disneyland Hong Kong had an increase of 109% during the past decade, other popular attractions showed a lesser increase compared to other regions.
International data and analytics group YouGov has reported, in a recent study, that married people in India travel more than singles, with 39% of them taking a vacation at least once a year. Single people mostly travel less than once a year with a limited budget – but the study also reveals that around a third of Indians take a vacation every year.
Customarily, Indians marry anywhere between early twenties to early thirties. Of what is being seen as a common trend thanks to the rise of social media and higher disposable incomes, young married couples travelling for leisure is on the rise.
According to the survey, a quarter (25%) of the respondents prefer adventurous holidays, followed by spiritual trips, romantic breaks and wildlife safaris.The mountain versus beach dispute is finally settled with 64% of the respondents saying they prefer hills and mountains over beaches.
Indians tend to be planned travellers with 80% preferring some kind of plan or itinerary though 40% like some flexibility in the schedule. 63% like to plan their holidays themselves with only 9% preferring the planned tours from global tour operators.
Once there, Indians tend to be active travellers with 79% seeking to explore all that the destination offers and only 20% wanting to use the holiday to relax or chill out.
Men travel more than women in a year with 28% of them travelling twice a year. While men like to go with a planned itinerary, women like having one too but are willing to explore the place outside the schedule.
Money is an important factor in deciding the location and length of the stay. Most Indians prefer budget holidays within INR 50,000 (USD 850), especially the singles, lasting up to a week.
Percentage of Indians who like…A sizeable number of married people in this group chose popular tourist destinations over offbeat ones, but 42% singles prefer going for unconventional picks over the usual ones.
Influences driving travel decisions Close to two-third vacationers are driven by famous sites and history when selecting where to travel next.
Indians love entertainment and there is no surprise that 41% believe the influence of films and TV and social media inspires them to go on a holiday. Countries welcoming Bollywood with open arms has been the norm for quite some years now.
Europe is by far the most popular holiday destination and preferred continent, closely followed by Asia. One in six Indian travellers voted Switzerland as their ultimate favourite European travel destination, followed by France (42%). However, one-third women travellers fancy a vacation in Italy.
After India, Singapore (46%) is a clear favourite Asian destination for travellers. Malaysia is also a popular choice with 31% holiday lovers wanting to visit the country.
When it comes to the most preferred countries for holiday in North America, US and Canada are the preferred choices. Although only 2% of travellers want to visit Oceania, most of these would love to visit Australia.
Data collected online by YouGov Omnibus among 1,000 respondents in India in July, 2018 using YouGov’s panel of over 6 million people worldwide. Data is broadly representative of the adult online population in the country.
Airbnb has reported a sizable increase in bookings via its corporate travel platform proving that companies are turning to shared homes for business trip accommodation.
In the span of year, the company touted that Airbnb for Work bookings tripled and more than 700,000 companies have signed up and are using the platform to manage their accommodations. About 275,000 of those companies directly engage with Airbnb to manage their travel.
“18,000 new companies sign on per month”
“Business travel is a significant growth driver for Airbnb and more than 10% of trips on Airbnb are for work. In 2016, the number of business trips on Airbnb tripled with more than 250,000 companies using Airbnb for business travel and 18,000 new companies sign on per month,” Alvan Yong, regional lead of Airbnb for Work in APAC and EMEA, told me in an exclusive interview.
“Airbnb for Work makes it easier to travel for work without sacrificing the comforts of home, with features like WiFi, workstations and all the essentials for business travel. Business travellers are now incentivised to stay the weekend exploring local neighbourhoods as shown by an increase in nights booked (average of six nights versus four nights) where more than 50% of extended stays included a Saturday night,” Yong added.
The homesharing company also saw interesting trends in how people conduct their business travel.
Bleisure Corporate travellers tend to extend their business trips for leisure. Often extending their trips on weekends to explore the cities they’re travelling to. More than 30% of Airbnb for Work bookings in the past year include at least one weekend night.
Shorter stays The average stay in Airbnb for Work is about five days, but corporate travellers are opting for shorter stays, which they may have booked hotels for in the past.
Travel in packs Almost 60% of Airbnb for Work bookings last year had more than one guest, and 40% of them had three or more guests. Teams are travelling together to bond and collaborate.
Mobility Airbnb sees extended stays and relocations being booked on Airbnb for many different reasons and lengths of time – ranging from long business trips or training sessions that require several weeks away, to on-site projects that can last several months to a year.
In the past year alone, stays of 14 days or longer with Airbnb for Work have grown nearly three times.
Globetrotters San FranciscoIn the past year, the top-10 Airbnb for Work destinations were:
London Paris Los Angeles New York South Bay, CA (Silicon Valley) Toronto San Francisco Boston Sydney Washington, D.C. Airbnb launched the corporate segment of the platform in 2014 dubbed as Airbnb for Business. The company rebranded the business as Airbnb for Work to better encompass the unique benefits only Airbnb can offer today’s modern workforce.
The sharing platform provides economic solutions to companies who are looking for a cheaper alternative when it comes to accommodations. Moreover, it appeal to a workforce looking for flexible travel policies.
“A lot of compression about having more choice and more options”
“Business travel costs on the lodging side continue to increase typically about 4 to 6% globally every year on average. If you look at major urban markets where there is a lot of compression about having more choice and more options, travel managers and companies are coming to us and saying it’s getting increasingly hard to keep costs down,” David Holyoke, Airbnb for Work’s global head, said.
However, there are still some valid concerns haunting the sharing economy, especially when it comes to safety. Airbnb for Work continues to improve its safety net.
“Our community’s safety, both online and offline, is our priority…As a technology-driven company, to help prevent bad actors from ever accessing our platform in the first place, we use machine learning and predictive analytics to deter suspicious activity. Some of our existing measures include our global customer support team standing by to help 24/7, secure payments, on-platform messaging, online profiles, reviews and more,” Yong said in our interview.
Karbala OasisAccording to data from BMI Research, a provider of global market analysis, the Iraqi economy is projected to expand 1.5% this year before picking up in 2019 with an estimated growth of 4.5%. Reconstruction efforts will boost spending on infrastructure in the years ahead, stimulating Iraq’s non-oil economy and enhancing consumer spending.
At the Smart Stores Expo trade show happening in September, Karbala Oasis is set to showcase its more than 222,000 sqm of total build area and more than 71,000 sqm of leasable area to premium brands looking to capitalise on Iraq’s improving economy.
“compelling new landmark for shoppers in this region”
“Karbala Oasis is a catalytic project in Iraq that promises an enormous breakthrough in the revitalisation of the country’s economy. It is about to emerge as a compelling new landmark for shoppers in this region and from across the globe. Keeping in mind the bright future ahead for Iraq, its oil wealth and young population with increasing spending power; Karbala Oasis is indeed an interesting venue where retail players should establish their presence,” said Jayaraman Nair, chairman, VIS Exhibitions and Conferences.
Located 56 miles from Baghdad, Karbala City is one of the most strategically important cities in Iraq. With this status, Karbala Oasis has the potential to become the retail centrepiece of the city with its blend of commercial, entertainment and tourism attractions.
Nair added: “We are proud to play an integral role in shaping this new retail development and we look forward to forming strategic partnerships with other mall developers and property firms. Smart Stores Expo is the definitive platform for your space to be discovered by top local and international retailers.”
Karbala Oasis is a USD 65 million project that includes the construction of a four-level shopping mall featuring five main areas: Shopping Oasis, Food Oasis, Fun Oasis, History Oasis and Residence Oasis. Furthermore, the property will offer a 12-storey 5-star hotel with 12 suites and 98 rooms.
Yas Island, self-billed as “the UAE’s premier leisure and entertainment destination”, has announced an extensive line-up of Eid Al Adha celebrations taking place over the course of the holiday from 21-26 August 2018.
Yas Island has continued to push its tourism sector further this year, with big promotions and an array of events. In July, it announced more than 40 events on the calendar and a summer promo that gives away AED 100,000 (USD 27,200) each week. Now, in addition to the parties and fireworks, Yas Island is ramping up a range of activities, events and celebrations for an Eid Al Adha to remember.
Yas Mall From 21-25 August, visitors to Yas Mall and Cascade Dining will be treated with five days of family entertainment including live shows. The capital’s largest shopping mall will also bring video game aficionados to its grounds with the Yas Gaming Festival which will kick off on 22 August.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Aside from showing off the fastest cars in the world, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi will be hosting a cook-off between the island’s best chefs. The Black Box Chef Competition will take place on 23 August.
Other events include a set of culturally-inspired celebrations like the Cultural Maze, encounters with the park’s perfume maker and fishermen in the Heritage Village, and a theatrical storytelling experience – all happening from 22-26 August.
Yas Waterworld During the Eid Al Adha celebrations, Yas Waterworld will entertain guests with authentic Emirati culture, featuring performances from local drummers and Ayalah dancers in addition to all-day play on more than 40 rides, slides and attractions.
These include the region’s first 5D water adventure, Cinesplash, and the return of Yas Waterworld’s Neon Nights on 24 August where celebrations will light up the night with glowing entertainment.
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi Guests celebrating Eid at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi can join iconic DC Super Heroes including Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, as well as favourite animation characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Scooby-Doo.
With 29 rides, attractions and live entertainment shows across six lands, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Yas Island’s newest theme park.
Finally, Yas Marina will be having fireworks shows at 9 pm every night for the first three days of Eid. The fireworks display is best enjoyed from the Yas Marina promenade or onboard Captain Tony’s Eid Fireworks Fun Cruise.
Each hotel night booked through Yas Island’s website includes tickets to one of the island’s theme parks. Families can choose between Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld and the newly opened Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi.
Furthermore, each purchase of AED 300 at participating attractions will give visitors a chance to enter the island’s weekly draw of AED 100,000.
Late in July, Hilton launched a new platform, dedicated to offering bespoke experiences across its luxury brands – and it has something to do with the human senses. On the webpage, experiences are filtered by the senses, with an aim of giving guests a unique access to the local feel of the surrounding environment. Naturally, this has aroused our curiosity and so went ahead and checked what it’s all about.
About the platform First off, the platform is dedicated only to its luxury brands, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotel & Resorts. It promises unique experiences such as seeing the world’s largest private collection of Louis Vuitton suitcases in Amsterdam, to booking seats at the Chef’s Table at Gordon Ramsay au Trianon restaurant.
The luxury experiences platform lets guests choose from 26 authentic cultural experiences and adventures in destinations all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“Diverse experiences and undiscovered gems”
Dominique Piquemal, VP, luxury operations, EMEA at Hilton, said: “Now more than ever, luxury consumers are looking for unique experiences and unparalleled access. Our newly launched Luxury Experiences platform enables guests to browse the breadth of diverse experiences and undiscovered gems, available exclusively through our Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties, offering exceptional experiences, every hotel, every guest, every time.”
The interface Enter the website, and you’ll immediately see a dramatic video (below), showing what the brand has to offer. Scroll down, and you’ll find tick boxes of the five senses including touch, taste, smell, sight and hear. Ticking the boxes would filter the experiences by the ‘sense’ you choose to explore. The interface then lets you see the filtered experiences, or you can also view them all as a gallery.
For example, when you click on the ‘smell’ tick box, the platform will show you experiences like a three-hour wine tour of the Quinta dos Vales Wine Estate while staying at the Conrad Algarve Resort in Portugal. Click on the specific experience, and the platform shows how to book, what to expect during the trip, and details about the hotel including a location map:
Conclusion The platform is simple to use and offers non-traditional itineraries. As a traveller, this would convince me to book, knowing I’ll be hitting two birds with one stone; getting a nice luxury hotel and an instagrammable itinerary to match.
Moreover, if I were to stay someplace unfamiliar, I’d love my itinerary to be taken care of by the hotel while I’m still in the planning stage of my trip. And Hilton does that through the platform. Although not a full-blown website, the ‘sense filter’ idea has potential and I wouldn’t be surprised if other brands caught up to it.
Brits are hungry for exotic adventures as long as they remain connected to the internet.
A nationwide survey of 2,000 adults by Piper, the leading specialist investor in consumer brands, found that 37% of travellers are adventurous with their travel choices. 45% of these travellers are millennials.
The survey also reflected that UK travellers are seeking exciting experiences from less explored destinations. They also tend to go to attractions visited by fewer tourists.
While Brits desire unusual escapades, they will not go so far that they will have no access to internet. 69% of these travellers check their mobile devices at least once a day and 25% of millennials check their devices “at least every hour”. 12% of travellers are unable to switch off at all, demanding ‘24/7 connectivity’.
Travellers want connectivity while on holiday too. Millennials want Wi-Fi access for their social media accounts to post updates from their travel. A different survey revealed that 97% of millennial travellers post on social networks and share experiences while travelling.
Studies claimed that millennials are more willing to spend on experiences than buying souvenirs or luxury items. These experiences are treated as social currency. Therefore, the more unusual the experience, the better.
Moreover, Millennials are more adept in using the technology on the different segments of their journey. Millennials tend to ditch travel agents and book their flights and accommodations online, they search for itineraries online, as well as for transportation – either for booking rides or using the GPS and online maps.
Meanwhile, the older generation also want internet connection but for checking and answering work emails. After doing so, they tend to ignore or even turn off their devices unless necessary.
Natalie Thwaites, associate partner at Piper, said: “Despite the economic uncertainty, these findings have shown that holidays remain essential for UK consumers. The appetite for adventure is particularly interesting and consistent with the rise of the experiential consumer in other sectors.”
“People crave more memorable, social media-friendly experiences, which may partly explain the need for connectivity even in the middle of nowhere. Holidaymakers are clearly more impatient than ever to post a digital ‘wish you were here’,” she added.
What do we make out of these travel trends? Travel companies can benefit greatly if they offer Wi-Fi as a perk, especially if they want to attract UK travellers and millennials, in general. Mobile connectivity, such as portable Wi-Fi or roaming service, is an essential tool for travel and communication companies can start thinking of deals to attract consumers.