Asia Pacific one of the fastest growing online travel markets in 2017
Asia Pacific (APAC) is expected to be one of the fastest growth markets for online travel this year, with China a significant growth contributor particularly on mobile, according to Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) and Phocuswright’s ‘2017 Phocus Forward: The Year Ahead in Digital Travel’, a key insights travel report.
Based on report findings, global online travel bookings this year (2017) should reach USD$567B (versus USD$513bn in 2016). By 2020 APAC is likely to be the largest travel – and online travel – market globally, predicted to represent:
42% of total travel demand (vs 34% in the US and 24% in Europe) by 2020; and
37% of online travel demand by 2020.
The report predicts much of APAC’s online travel growth will be led by mobile bookings, particularly in China. China is already the second-largest individual travel market in the world and will become APAC’s most highly penetrated online market this year (2017). Based on 2016 data, more than half (53%) of online travel bookings in China are already made on mobiles (versus 21% in the US and 25% in the UK).
In the most mature online travel markets, including Europe and the US, travellers are searching and shopping on mobile but many are holding onto entrenched desktop habits. In places like India, Indonesia and Brazil where there are less-entrenched desktop habits, the research predicts it’s likely mobile will overtake desktop bookings more quickly there than in the US and Europe.
Ariane Gorin, Senior Vice President and General Manager, EAN brand, says: “For travel providers, this research underlines that it’s crucial to be present on mobile Asia Pacific, and particularly in China, from the early stages of the booking process– this is where young travellers will be inspired, do their research and most likely plan and book their trips. China continues to lead the world’s mobile travel market and EAN is uniquely placed there. EAN provides our affiliate partners access to Expedia’s vast range of global travel choices and a smart and fast way to tap into this growth opportunity on mobile and desktop.
“At EAN, we’ve invested significantly in research and development (R&D) to develop a seamless, end-to-end mobile-ready booking experience to keep our affiliate partners ahead of the curve. Messaging, voice search and artificial intelligence (AI) will drive a new wave of mobile innovation which could result in big mobile gains for those businesses which can tap into traveller mobile trends.”
Other key findings presented by Phocuswright and Expedia Affiliate Network in ‘2017 Phocus Forward: The Year Ahead in Digital Travel’ include:
A hypercompetitive online travel agent (OTA) environment with steep discounts for app-based hotel bookings helped spur the surge in China mobile demand.
China has become a startup hotbed second only to the US, but slowing economic growth and the dominance of individual players threatens to make funding harder to come by.
Noting both Brand Expedia and Hotels.com have desktop and mobile sites in mainland China as well as in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Airlines are showing renewed focus on online distribution and digital retailing for business and leisure travellers; the world’s fastest-growing travel – and online travel – region Asia Pacific remains underpenetrated for online bookings but they are gaining fast: half of air bookings are projected to be online by 2020 in Asia Pacific.
Younger travellers show a preference for booking Hotel & Lodging with OTAs, contributing to OTA performance in countries in the Middle East and Asia Pacific with high shares of young travellers.
In 2017, online travel will likely see the fastest growth in emerging markets: the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin America. Global online travel bookings in 2017 are predicted to be USD$567bn versus USD$513bn in 2016.
Chat and Voice are the new traveller medium, but book-by-chat is in its infancy; chat-powered customer service will become integral to travel planning in the future.
In-destination activities are a huge untapped opportunity; the long-tail of providers is finding its way into the global digital travel ecosystem and becoming a priority for travel’s biggest players. The value of travel activities in 2016 was USD$46 billion in Asia Pacific.