The State of Travel in APAC: Identifying Trends to Prepare for the Road Ahead

By ITB Asia News

Paired with insightful data and analysis, Hermione Joye, Sector Lead, Travel and Vertical Search, Google, shared in the first keynote of ITB Asia 2020Virtual emerging trends that travel companies should consider to navigate the road ahead.

“We just need to be resilient, adapt, persevere, innovate, and test and learn,” says Joye, adding, “Some of the biggest travel success stories have come out of similar crises, like the economic crisis of 2008 when Airbnb was founded.”

Joye says the good news is that despite the pandemic, there is pent-up demand, with one in two APAC consumers now actually eager to travel—a real shift in attitude from the earlier mode of “wait-and-see” to “I want to travel now, despite the border restrictions”.

Leisure travel is, she says, currently driving demand, with the number one motivation being the “family getaway”. She says that when Google asked travellers what’s important for them, they said that “safety is the new brand and flexibility and price is the new loyalty”.

When it comes to bookings, Joye says Google has witnessed an acceleration towards OTAs: “If we look at a market like China, for example, we saw a huge increase in the desire to book on OTAs during COVID-19.”

To conclude, Joye notes that it’s critical to monitor trends and be up to date with the current situation when it comes to COVID-19 and restrictions, and the way governments are responding to it. Secondly, she underlines the importance for stakeholders to improve their digital presence. Finally, she says stakeholders need to communicate extensively, making it clear to the customer “what lengths they are going to and what steps they’re taking to ensure safety”.

Watch the Keynote on replay here:

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