On the back of the latest data haul from Expedia on booking patterns, Travel Weekly sat down and had a tête-à-tête with Expedia expert Drew Bowering.
Expedia’s data looked at where travellers are heading, when they’re going and what their lead times are, in some exclusive Expedia research that examined hotel booking data.
The data was drawn from a diverse range of travellers from more than 75 countries, with more than 600 million site visits per month, over 2016.
TW: How can travel agents in Australia leverage these insights?
DB: Any travel provider – whether that’s a hotelier or a travel agent – can use these insights to shape and refine their strategy for the year to come, and to drive revenue growth by targeting travelers from specific inbound markets at the right time throughout the year.
Strategic planning is essential for travel operators and hotels to capture more of the demand they want from around the world, and they can use Expedia’s data insights from 75 countries to understand the ebbs and flow of travelers from big markets like the US, UK, Hong Kong, Japan and New Zealand throughout the year.
We want to share this data to equip our partners with the insights to strategically manage dynamic demand throughout the year from various markets, which can have a big impact on their bottom line.
TW: Which statistics were you most surprised by?
DB: We were pleasantly surprised to see such explosive growth in cities and towns in regional areas – for example, a 120 per cent increase in American travellers visiting Newcastle and Launceston.
I was particularly happy to see these figures, as they demonstrate that Expedia is bringing in international travellers with money to spend, and we’re encouraging them to head off the beaten track and explore the beautiful regional areas Australia has to offer outside of the big cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
We’re pleased to provide great news for travel providers in regional centres, as visitors from the US are valuable travellers with the highest average daily spend.
We’re committed to supporting hoteliers and other operators in regional and rural areas, and a big part of our market strategy is focused on ensuring high-value travellers are coming to Australia in droves, and moving past the gateway cities into the rest of the country.
We were also interested to see that New Zealand travellers followed the same pattern of being a bit more adventurous and heading off to spots like Townsville, which saw a boom of over 110% growth in Kiwi visitors. Likewise, Hong Kong-based visitors to Hobart grew by 70 per cent.
It’s great to see visitors from these big inbound markets increasingly seeking travel experiences all over the country, and we want them to keep exploring some of Australia’s lesser-known destinations.
TW: What trend reinforced your anecdotal perspective of travel patterns?
DB: Definitely the big influx of Brits during Australia’s beautiful summer! They’re clearly looking forward to their Aussie holidays, booking more than two months out on average, rarely cancelling, and taking the longest trips. They’re also out here for a good time, based on their high average daily room rate – second only to the US.
Hotels and travel providers should factor all this in when aiming to capture more of the UK market, and should bear in mind that Brits are high-value travellers and love a package deal.
TW: Would this data contradict this? Should hoteliers aim instead for the American market? Or would the China influx be represented by the Hong Kong figures?
DB: Hoteliers should look to target visitors from a range of markets, including the US and China, to ensure they attract diverse travellers that can deliver global demand throughout the whole year.