Big brand hotels to benefit as demand for travel builds across Asia Pacific

Travel software and technology provider Sabre Corporation has released the results of its Asia Pacific-wide travel sentiment survey, with nearly half of respondents looking to travel within six months.

“As travel restrictions start to lift and pockets of the industry begin to recover, we are seeing traveller behaviour adapt to the new normal,” said Todd Arthur, vice president, Asia Pacific, agency sales travel solutions, Sabre.

“Our findings show that, while consumer confidence in the safety of travelling is mixed, there is also a clear pent-up demand for travel among many people across APAC, as well as strong opportunities to be seized by all sectors of the travel ecosystem as we move forward.”

The Sabre survey into APAC traveller sentiment found that 45 per cent of respondents expect to travel within the next six months, with Millennials set to travel first.

But more than a third of travellers (35 per cent) said they wouldn’t be travelling anytime soon, or until a Covid-19 vaccine is available.

Out of the regions in APAC, South Asia has the highest percentage of travellers who indicated that they are keen to travel within a year at 73 per cent.

Of the respondents who said they had no plans to travel anytime soon, or until a Covid-19 vaccine is available, the majority said that they would not be swayed by price once they do think about booking their next trip.

Only 10 per cent said the main factor they would consider would be competitively priced deals such as airfares or package holiday deals, while the majority (41 per cent) said their main consideration was a relaxation of safety measures and protocols at a destination, such as a lack of 14-day quarantine or contact-tracing measures.

Of those respondents who stated they would travel within six months, 28 per cent said they would be extremely likely to travel to a destination which implemented temperature screening before entering places or interest, tourism spots and all venues including hotels and restaurants.

Meanwhile, a quarter of respondents who will travel within six months said they would be more likely to travel to a destination where mask-wearing is enforced, 26 per cent said they would be more likely to travel where safe distancing measures were strictly enforced and 21 per cent said they would be more likely to travel to a destination with contact tracing measures in place.

The survey revealed good news for international branded chain hotels, with 57 per cent of respondents saying they had previously preferred to stay in international branded chain hotels, and 86 per cent of those indicating that this will remain their top choice post Covid-19.

Meanwhile, 64 per cent of respondents whose choice before Covid-19 were home stays, boutique hotels, motels or other forms of accommodation and who said they would now change their preferred type of stay indicated their new choice would be international branded chain hotels.

The biggest reasons for sticking to, or making a switch to, branded chain hotels were assurances of enhanced sanitation and cleaning as well as the use of new cleaning technologies.

More than a third (37 per cent) of respondents said they believed air travel posed the highest risk of infection when travelling during the current Covid-19 pandemic, with cruise ships deemed to be the next riskiest mode of transport for travellers in APAC (34 per cent).

However, even though respondents said they thought air travel posed the highest risk, more than half (52 per cent) said they would still travel via air, provided that certain safety measures were put in place.

While travellers across APAC remain cautious about travelling, of the 44 per cent who indicated they will travel within the next six months, 41 per cent said they would opt for short-haul travel (below eight hours travel time), while 33 per cent said they would choose domestic travel, with the remaining 26 per cent saying they would be travelling long haul or had no preference.