Hotels

EXCLUSIVE: Travel habits of international travellers

Tara Harrison

Where are they going, what time and in what style, and with what lead time. Big data from Expedia is here to deliver the answers.

The Brits are sun seekers, New Zealanders are forward planners, Americans are luxury long stayers, while the Japanese are partial to spending more than ever.

Stereotypes are enforced and questioned in this exclusive release of Expedia’s hotel booking data.

The top five inbound markets are the US, New Zealand, UK, Japan and Hong Kong.

The data is drawn from a diverse range of travellers from more than 75 countries, with more than 600 million site visits per month, over 2016.

“Insights about traveller behaviour can help its Australian hotel partners to optimise revenue by knowing when and where to target the right travellers at the right time with the right offer to help boost incremental demand,” Expedia group market management senior director Drew Bowering said.

And who do our domestic travellers have to compete with? The Americans, with demand that has grown 1.5 times year on year. They’re also the ones paying the most, with the highest average daily room rate clocking in at $213.

A quarter of them are staying at five star properties. They have shorter booking windows too, so tailoring to last minute demand is crucial for Australian hoteliers.

Our New Zealand neighbours are staying the longest, with three day stays an average. They’re an organized lot too, with bookings occurring 48 days beforehand.

Sydney is a perennial favourite across international markets, but some surprising second cities have emerged as well. Newcastle and Launceston recorded the highest growth of 120% demand from the US compared to 2015.

Further insights, on a country per country basis, below:

United States:

  • US travellers enjoyed the high life in 2016, with almost one quarter of them opting to stay at 5 star properties.
  • Despite a shorter booking window (31 days) and length of stay (2 days) than other nationalities from the top inbound markets, US travellers represent the most valuable market with the highest average daily rate at a generous AUD$213.
  • Although Sydney was the top destination for US travellers (with over one third of them staying in hotels in Sydney), Newcastle and Launceston saw the highest y-o-y growth of 120% from 2015.

New Zealand:

  • Kiwis had the longest length of stay, leading the pack with an average 3 days at a hotel.
  • With an average booking window in excess of one and a half months (48 days), it’s clear that New Zealand travellers like to be organised and secure their rooms well in advance.
  • Almost three-quarters of all NZ hotel demand through Expedia group were in the 4-5 star range. In particular, New Zealanders led the 4-star market at almost two-thirds of total demand.
  • While top destinations included expected cities like Melbourne and Sydney, Townsville saw the highest growth in travellers from New Zealand, growing over 110%, followed by over 95% for the Gold Coast.

United Kingdom:

  • UK travellers planned their trips farthest in advance with an average booking window of over two months (64 days). Coupled with the lowest cancellation rates, the British customer is a key target to secure bookings far in advance.
  • British travellers were also key package customers, booking the farthest out at almost three months (86 days) and staying the longest, averaging almost one week (6.6 days) per trip.
  • UK travellers represent the second most valuable market after the US, with an average daily rate of AUD$198.

Japan:

  • Australia saw the highest growth in Average Daily Rate from Japanese travellers, up by 5%, averaging AUD$193.
  • Japan was one of the fastest-growing inbound markets for Australia, averaging 30% y-o-y.
  • Perth and Brisbane saw a healthy rise in Japanese visitors with a y-o-y increase of 60% and 40% respectively, becoming two of the fastest-growing destinations in Australia for travellers from Japan.

Hong Kong:

  • Together with the United States, Hong Kong generated the highest average growth with 1.5X increase in travellers visiting Australia.
  • They tended to travel to Australia in and around school holidays however February and March were also strong travel periods due to Lunar New Year celebrations.
  • Hong Kong travellers had a 1.5 month booking window (44 days), similar to that of Japanese visitors.
  • They also showed increased interest in the Gold Coast, Brisbane, and Hobart, with exceptionally high growth of almost 90%, over 70%, and nearly 70% respectively.

 

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