Marketers looking to engage today’s Singaporean digital traveller will have to focus on mobile and personalised ads, according to a Criteo-commissioned study by Euromonitor. The study reveals one in five travel transactions are made on mobile, presenting the biggest growth opportunity for travel businesses and online travel agents (OTA).
Singaporeans made 21.9 million outbound trips in 2016, according to the study. The majority of Singaporeans (63%) took five or fewer trips, with the average of 5.2 trips per Singaporean in 2016. The majority of trips was for leisure (72%) then business (28%), with most of the trips (46%) lasting three to six nights.
Expenditure for leisure and recreation is set to grow 3.2% on a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2017 to 2020.
Online travel sales have grown 7.1% CAGR in 2011 to 2016 hitting S$6bn in 2016, while mobile travel sales have throttled up, and set to outpace online travel sales growth at 19.6% CAGR from 2017-2020.
“Singaporeans are tech savvy travellers who are browsing seamlessly across multiple devices to find the best deal before making their purchase,” said Alban Villani, general manager, Criteo Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“Travel websites and OTAs need to focus on providing a mobile experience that is user-friendly, easy to navigate, has add-on features and secure payment methods. To drive transactions, they need to engage with shoppers during the discovery, search and booking phases,” said Villani.
Browsing across the generations
Singaporeans prefer to search for travel prices and products online, with only 15% making a call or physically visiting a travel agency and 10% doing the same to a airline or hotel office. Accessibility and convenience are the main factors driving Singaporeans to browse online, with 74% citing the flexibility of being able to browse anytime they want.
Browsing predominantly takes place at home (83%) rather than at work or school (33%), and mostly on the weekends (56%). However, 42% of the respondents browse on-the-go as well, browsing when they’re out, on their daily commute or when they were already travelling.
Laptops remain dominant as the medium of choice for browsing across all generations (42%). From baby boomers (60%) to Gen X (41%) and even millennials (40%). Smartphones only made up 33% of browsing across the board, with baby boomers dead last (18%), then Gen X (30%) and milllenials (37%).
Retargeted ads performed well in this sector, with 85% of respondents saying they saw retargeted ads and 52% clicking on the ads while browsing.
Booking across the generations
As for bookings, the top two travel components booked online are air tickets (25%) and hotels (25%), with the majority (52%) preferring to book directly on the hotel’s or airline’s website or app. Only 37% did their booking via OTAs.
The top three reasons for booking directly with providers were ease in changing or cancelling bookings (47%), providers’ websites have the best prices (44%) and that travellers were used to booking travel that way (43%). The top three reasons for booking via an OTA was the website’s ease of use (45%), OTA’s having the best price (41%) and ease of booking all their travels in one place (38%).
The laptop is also the key medium for booking as well, with 49% of all respondents using the laptop to book their travels, and 21% using mobile and 23% using a desktop. This is similarly reflected throughout the generations, with 66% of baby boomers, 42% of gen X and 48% of millennials using a laptop to book their travels. On the mobile front, there was a surprising blip from gen X (27%), which passed millennials (22%) in booking on mobile.
Lessons to learn
Travel businesses need to focus on the mobile strategies as the mobile continues its growth trajectory, according to Criteo. Breaking barriers such as small screen, difficult navigation and typing a lot of information on smartphone is difficult has to be overcome for businesses to reap the benefits of the digital traveller.
Personalisation is also key in getting Singaporean travellers’ attention, with top factors for choice of destination being the attractions of the destination, travel website reviews and word of mouth.
“As online and mobile purchases become more commonplace, travel businesses and OTAs need to invest more in personalised marketing. This means showing shoppers ads that are based on what they have been looking at and displaying recommendations that may complement what they have already purchased. This adds another element of discovery and up to 70 percent of online shoppers who are served ads in this way go on to view products they had not looked at previously. Retailers who get this right will be able to drive online conversions very effectively,” said Villani.
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