Huge shift to online bookings in APAC travel industry

  • 1/4 of total APAC travel market booked online in 2013, expected to be 1/3 by 2016
  • Mobile growing even faster, travel suppliers prepping for smartphone bookings

Huge shift to online bookings in APAC travel industryTHE Asia Pacific (APAC) travel market is in the midst of a huge and rapid shift from offline to online and mobile channels.
 
Although online travel penetration is increasing at a slower pace than in prior years, a new PhoCusWright study shows that Asia Pacific’s online bookings are increasing at twice the rate of the overall market.
 
PhoCusWright is a US-based research firm that focuses on the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.

One-quarter of the total Asia Pacific travel market was booked online in 2013, up from one-fifth in 2012, according to PhoCusWright's Asia Pacific Online Travel Overview Seventh Edition.
 
This growth rate is expected to continue through 2016, when nearly one-third of Asia Pacific travel will be booked online, the company said in a statement.

Suppliers and online intermediaries across the region are driving this adoption as they tap pent-up demand in the underpenetrated, emerging online travel markets of China, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan.
 
Additionally, online travel agencies (OTAs) are creating incentives for travellers to book online with discounts and promotional offers.

Mobile bookings are growing even faster, and travel suppliers are adapting their distribution strategies to compete for smartphone bookings.
 
“Mobile is a quickly emerging key channel in the region,” said PhoCusWright research analyst Maggie Rauch.
 
“Aggregate Asia Pacific mobile travel gross bookings doubled from US$3.2 billion in 2012 to US$6.4 billion in 2013. And there are plentiful opportunities ahead – 30% of the region's population is expected to have a smartphone by 2016, a sharp increase from 19% in 2013,” she said.
 
Most of Asia Pacific’s travel markets grew in local currency terms, but weakened exchange rates had a dampening effect across the region, PhoCusWright said.
 
Asia Pacific total travel gross bookings shrunk 1% from US$325.9 billion in 2012 to US$322.6 billion in 2013, slipping one spot behind Europe's travel market.
 
However, assuming stable foreign exchange conditions, the region is expected to bypass Europe in 2014 to reclaim its title as the world's largest regional travel market.
 
The Asia Pacific Online Travel Overview Seventh Edition report provides travel companies and marketers with a comprehensive view of the region's travel market performance from 2012 to 2016, PhoCusWright claimed.
 
The US$1,995 report provides market sizing and aggregate gross travel bookings of Asia Pacific-based travel suppliers, covering 13 countries' leisure and unmanaged business travel.
 
It delves into trends, individual market dynamics, projections through 2016, and key findings from various segments and countries.

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