COVID-19: Insights on Travel Impact, APAC #75

November 5, 2020

With our access to real-time traveller audiences and unmatched visibility into global travel demand, we’re in a unique position to share the current travel trends at the forefront of marketers’ minds. In this blog series, we’ll take a look at the data in order to aid travel marketers in their assessment of this worldwide event. They can use these trends to inform their marketing strategies during this period, as the industry stabilises. 

These insights are based on data collected for the week ending 31st October, 2020. We are reviewing our data on a regular basis in order to provide an accurate view of trends and patterns in consumer behaviour. Sojern’s insights are based on over 350 million traveller profiles and billions of travel intent signals, however it does not capture one hundred percent of the travel market.

Analysis On The Hong Kong And Singapore Travel Bubble Announcement   

Hong Kong And Singapore Hotel Searches Since June 

Please note – as per the ‘key’ in the charts through this article, Domestic (blue) refers to searches within the country and Non-Domestic (orange) is searches between the travel bubble countries.  

When the news of the travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was announced in October, interest in hotel searches in Hong Kong from Singapore increased dramatically. As such, a 400% spike in intent was observed in the last three weeks indexed to June, as seen in the chart above. When looking at search intent from Singapore to Hong Kong, we saw a 200% increase in intent. 

However, quickly after the 15th of October , we saw a drop in searches between Hong Kong and Singapore perhaps due to both governments working together to finalise the details of travel between the two countries. It is expected that the travel bubble will officially kick start at the end of November.

When looking at our data for domestic hotel searches within Singapore and Hong Kong, it is clear that the staycation trend is still running strong. In Singapore, hotels and attractions are pushing hard to attract locals as Singaporeans (adults) plan to use their S$100 digital tourism vouchers to offset ticket purchases and hotel stays until the end of June next year. 

 

Hong Kong – Singapore Travel Bubble Future Travel Dates 

When looking at future dates of travel between the two countries, we observe some interesting flight trends. We saw a spike in flight searches the week of 11th October when the travel bubble was announced and continued higher interest since the announcement. 

For the people searching in October, many are looking for immediate travel (as soon as travel opens in November) and also for December. We also see interest in travel post-New Years and for Chinese New Year, which is in February 2021.

Analysis On The Australia And New Zealand Travel Bubble Status

Australia and New Zealand Flight Searches Since June

Australia and New Zealand were among the first countries in Asia Pacific to open up international travel (Trans-Tasman only) since the COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of travel earlier this year. In early October, the Australian Government announced its plan to establish a Safe Travel Zone with New Zealand, allowing travellers from New Zealand to enter the country quarantine-free. However, upon their return, New Zealanders have to quarantine and bear the financial cost. 

The world has taken lessons from the New Zealand government on how to successfully handle the pandemic so it is not surprising that this bubble opened up between New Zealand and Australia. What is interesting is that even though the bubble is one-sided (New Zealand to Australia), our data shows a peak in flight searches starting in September and going into October between both countries. 

New Zealand – Australia Travel Bubble Future Travel Dates 

When looking at future dates of travel between the two countries there is an increase in flight searches between October and December in New Zealand and Australia. 

It is said that approximately 568,000 New Zealanders live in Australia which could be a reason as to why there is a peak in flight searches where citizens could be looking to return to New Zealand for the upcoming festive season, particularly in November and December. Additionally, in November, we see a notable spike in travel searches from New Zealand to Australia. 

However, 2021 searches remain lower given the uncertainty of travel due to the pandemic, there are shorter lead times as travellers wait to see what countries remain safe. It is encouraging to see that there is some momentum of flight searches into 2021, and specifically the first quarter of 2021. Travellers are still looking to vacation, and even looking as far out as winter (increase in July 2021 searches), possibly for the ski season. 

Conclusion

The findings this month include an analysis of the travel bubbles between Hong Kong and Singapore, and Australia and New Zealand. As the guidelines between Hong Kong and Singapore finalise,  the travel intent trends are bound to change at the end of November. 

We will continue to share more insights as we monitor the situation. These forward looking insights will hopefully help travel marketers shape their strategies as the industry recovers. 

For the rest of the COVID-19 insights series click here.


About teesta.raha

Teesta is Sojern's Senior PR & Content Manager, EMEA and APAC and is based in Singapore. When not working, you will find her traveling, doing yoga, reading and occasionally, golfing.

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