PhocusWright Highlights Online Travel Booking Rise in Southeast Asia

In a webinar sessions organised by Phocuswright, Phocuswright’s research analyst, Asia Pacific, Chetan Kapoor, and Criteo’s Joshua Koh, managing director, mid-markets sales, Asia Pacific, explored digital trends of key Southeast Asian travellers.

Asia Pacific is a growth engine of the global travel industry, especially when new technology are involved. According to studies, global online travel will generate &n estimated US$1.090 billion by 2022. Asia-Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth during the forecast period and would represent a third of this global market, the equivalent of US$400 billion/

“Although much attention has been focused on China and India with their large population, Southeast Asia is emerging as a key area of focus for online travel agencies (OTAs), investors, startups and suppliers”, said Chetan Kapoor.

“Southeast Asia today represents less than 10% of total online market. However with an expected average growth rate of 14% until 2020, online travel in Southeast Asia is progressing quick, especially as growing middle class and  young tech-savvy consumers dominate the travel market “, he added. to PhocusWright study, they are currently 39 million of online travel booking coming from Southeast Asia with the biggest players being Singapore (49%), Thailand (27.6%) followed by Malaysia (18.5%). For online booking, they are a dozen of online retailers serving the Southeast Asian market, pionners being Agoda, Expedia and AirAsia.

Looking at online purchase, travel and tourism generates the largest purchases for the four countries in PhocusWright case study (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand). Except for Thailand where electronics is on par with travel and tourism online consumption, the latter represents at least 40% of all online booking in Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia while it stands over 35% for Malaysia. The desire to get away or take a break is the main motivation for Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore while in Thailand, the largest travel segment is motivated by the available vacation time from work.

Online booking between domestic and international destinations varies according to the country. While in Singapore, this represents of course 100% of online booking, Southeast Asia takes a share of 41%. “The easy access, the absence of visa, the short flying time are the main factor to Southeast Asia choice”, told Kapoor. While Indonesia has the largest share of online booking for domestic destinations(60%), Thailand is not far behind with a share of 57% for domestic destinations while Malaysian travellers prefer to venture internationally (53%). ” Attractive prices of low cost airlines in Malaysia have been a determinant factor to travel outside the country”, commented Kapoor. at the electronic device for booking, few Southeast Asians use mobile apps. In Indonesia and Thailand, shopping and buying through mobile devices fluctuate between 75% and 80%, “essentially due to special promotions only available on mobile apps”, stressed PhocusWright research analyst. In Malaysia and Singapore, numbers fluctuate between 55% and 70%.

Desktop travel bookings remains dominant in all SE Asian markets except for Indonesia.

While search for a destination continues to be done on websites on computer more than on smartphones or tablets, some 40% of the research for a destination still come from friends or family recommendation in Indonesia.

Travel providers with online content will generate 99.6% of all searched information while 31.6% still placed a phone call to seek some travel information.