Published on : Wednesday, September 19, 2018
When traveling for work, employees from Singapore want local leisure activities to be part of their travel experience too. 40% of Singaporean business travelers find recommendations that help them plan their itinerary the most useful, and one in four (25%) value sightseeing recommendations, according to new data on the growing ‘bleisure’ travel segment from Amadeus’ Journey of Me report.
Business travel within Asia is growing at twice the pace of the rest of the world and looks set to overtake the top-spending Americas within the next 10 years.
To help tap this growth opportunity and get inside the mind of the business traveler, Amadeus’ research looks at the needs, habits and motivations of the Asia Pacific business traveler.
The research was conducted in collaboration with YouGov, surveyed a total of 6,870 respondents across 14 markets in Asia Pacific.
The research found that while employees do not need to bear the cost of their business travel, Asia Pacific business travelers are just as cost conscious as their leisure travel counterparts, and are most interested in receiving recommendations that help them save money (34%).
The rise in ‘bleisure’ travel – combining business and leisure activities into one travel experience – is undoubtedly a contributing factor; with more than 60% of business trips now including a leisure portion many business travelers are shopping around for the best deal.
However, not all Asia Pacific business travelers are the same.
While employees from Singapore find recommendations that help them save money and plan their itinerary the most useful (both 40%), business travelers from China, India and Vietnam prefer recommendations that ensure their safety (37%, 34%, and 37% respectively), Japanese employees prefer recommendations that make their travel more comfortable (39%) and Koreans prefer recommendations for sightseeing (35%).
The focus on cost has seen the sharing economy – specifically ride-sharing services like Uber and Grab, and home-sharing services like Airbnb and Couch Surfing – become widely accepted for business travel, even more so than for leisure.
Almost half (46%) of business travelers use ride-sharing services to get around during their trip, compared to 31% of leisure travelers.
Alongside cost saving, the top reasons business travelers use the ride-sharing and home-sharing services is for ease and convenience (59% for ride-sharing, 50% for home-sharing) and better quality and service (43% for ride-sharing, 39% for home-sharing). However, for Australian (47%) and Hong Kong (36%) business travelers, the flexibility of the sharing economy is the top reason that they choose to home-share.
Renaud Nicolle, Vice President, Travel Channels, Business Travel Asia Pacific, Amadeus said that the rise of ‘bleisure’ means that business travel behaviors are becoming more aligned to leisure travel, including cost consciousness.
Sharing economy providers benefit from this trend thanks to the competitive products, flexibility and convenience they are able to offer and deliver. Business travel agencies in Asia Pacific need to enhance their product and service offering to be able to cater for the experience their travelers expect.
While business travelers are cost conscious, there is one creature comfort they will happily pay for – connectivity. While leisure travelers rely mainly on Wi-Fi, business travelers are open to multiple options to stay connected, and are happy to invest. Wi-Fi remains the popular choice, but purchasing a local sim card at the destination is a close second for business travelers from Indonesia (54%), Singapore (52%), Philippines (51%), Hong Kong (47%), New Zealand (45%), Vietnam (45%) and Malaysia (44%).
On the other hand, Korean (64%) and Japanese (40%) business travelers prefer to use international roam-as-you-go services, while those from India (56%), Thailand (51%), Australia (43%) and Taiwan (42%) prefer to buy an international phone or data package before they leave home.
Other interesting findings on the Asia Pacific business traveler include: