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SEA Insights

The four types of Asian travellers

Vicki Lai

Senior Consultant, APAC

Leisure 13.02.2017 / 03:00

Traveller 2 col

Each traveller type pursues experiences in a unique way

As the number of Asian travellers is on the rise, there is a greater need to better understand the consumer mind set and pursuit of experiences. However, there is a polarisation of Asian travellers due to the region’s diversity and myriad developments. Add to that technology, the influencer that shapes and expands the customer journey (or travel experience).

A Kantar Futures white paper created in collaboration with Sabre Corporation reveals the polarisation has given rise to four distinct types of travellers in Asia: the Explorer; the Connector; the Follower; and the Opportunist.

Traveller types - Kantar Futures

The Explorer

Four in 10 Asian travellers are Explorers, which is the largest share out of the four traveller types. Explorers place high value on discovery and self-actualisation. Travel is about helping them grow as individuals. Explorers travel to connect with themselves, and are more likely to travel solo. Explorers navigate the customer journey as masters of their own destiny.The key takeaway for the industry: though personalisation of options is becoming increasingly feasible with the growing ease in capturing data about preferences, the majority of Explorers (85%) would rather invest their own time in finding their ideal option.

While independent and ready to embrace local customs, not all Explorers would have worked out every detail of their itinerary before departure. Out of the four traveller types, they are most likely to plan on the go, perhaps driven by a desire to avoid being bound by plans so as to be pleasantly surprised at the location. This suggests travel providers are best placed to support Explorers in planning with on-demand services and platforms.

Explorers will share their experiences on social media, but are more likely to use blogs and travel community networks, thus reflecting their desire for more niche and self-interest driven experiences.

Kantar Futures _Explorer Type

The Connector

Though less prevalent than Explorers, one in five Asian travellers are Connectors. Think of them as individuals with a preference for taking control while travelling with friends and family. Almost 75% of Connectors do the planning for trips themselves, instead of relying on travel agencies or friends and family, compared to an average of 63% across all traveller types. To Connectors, travelling is about establishing status and sharing experiences. Indonesia sees Connectors as the dominant type, which fits well with the country’s high engagement with social media.

Travel is not a novelty to Connectors: over half have travelled more than 20 times and a similar proportion began assuming the role of “travel planner” in their late teens and early twenties. This makes them keen and adept travel planners: almost seven in 10 prefer to plan their itineraries ahead of their trips. Doing so is not simply about good organisation; it is a way of ensuring a great experience, being able to explore different options and working out a unique itinerary.

Sharing is a critical component to their travel experience. Connectors share the most and across multiple platforms, often motivated by a desire to engage those back at home and help them get a sense of what the trip is like. They are also inspiring and influential: 61% of Connectors agree that their sharing has inspired someone to take a trip, the highest across all the traveller types.

Kantar Futures _connector Type

The Follower

Followers are polar opposites of Explorers, but are in fact the second-largest group and represent almost one in four Asian travellers. Followers think of travel as opportunities to spend time with their loved ones. 75% of them agree they travel to bond with their families and friends, compared to an average of 54% across all Asian travellers. In comparison to the other traveller types, Followers are relatively “selfless” and a majority (66%) prioritise their travelling companions’ interests ahead of their own.

Traits of Followers can be best observed in the way they plan for travel. Followers are the most likely type of travellers to allow travel agents to play a key role in planning trips, and this is clearly an established pattern of behaviour with 72% expecting to travel with an agency for their next trip.

Four in 10 Followers prefer to travel in a tour group, an indication that older travellers and their preferences are reflected in this traveller type. Followers are focused on family and friends, both during travel and in terms of representing the driving motivation behind sharing travel experiences – barely one in 10 would claim to share experiences for self-fulfilment.

Kantar Futures _follower Type

The Opportunist

Opportunists represent the smallest group with only 18% of Asian travellers. However, they are potentially the typology with the most potential for high travel expenditure, given their enthusiasm for self-indulgence. 62% of Opportunists travel to pamper themselves, compared to an average of 55% across all Asian travellers.

Opportunists are spontaneous in their travel. 65% of Opportunists spend a week or less planning for their trips, the highest proportion across all the traveller types. This stems from their desire to be taken care of. A third of Opportunists typically travel with a tour group, and using travel agencies appears to be an ingrained habit as over two-thirds would use an agency for their next trips.

A key point to note: Given the spontaneous nature of which they travel, Opportunists are most likely out of all the traveller types to be influenced by a good deal. A third put this as one of the top factors that motivate them to travel. Additionally, a larger proportion of Opportunists are comfortable travelling without doing any planning, particularly if travelling with a tour group.

This is also the traveller type to engage with technology, as Opportunists are the type that is most open to trying new technologies to support them on trips, such as augmented reality. And while they do share their travel experiences, they are – unlike other traveller types – motivated primarily by the idea of contributing their perspective, feelings and observations. It is less about connecting with their loved ones, and more about recording their progress on the path of self-discovery.

Kantar Futures _opportunist Type

Source : Kantar Futures

Editor's Notes

This article forms part of “The Polarisation of Asian Travellers” whitepaper, based on proprietary research conducted by Kantar Futures for Sabre Corporation between June and August 2016. It is first publicly released in January 2017.

A broad range of inputs were consulted, which included interviews with industry experts, Sabre leadership and their clients. Kantar Futures’ streetscaper missions were also conducted in three markets – China, India and Indonesia – to uncover local insights and cultural commentary from the ground.

A key input into the report was a quantitative survey of over 3,000 business and leisure travellers from 10 markets in Asia Pacific: Australia and New Zealand, China, Hong Kong. India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, with a sample size of approximately 300 travellers in each country.

In total, 3,233 online surveys were completed with a representative sample of travellers who have at least travelled in the past 12 months and have initiated or planned for a trip before.

To speak to Vicki or for more information and data on traveller preferences in Southeast Asia, please contact us.

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