At a summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, of 160 leading figures in the Asian hotel industry, 90% said they expect direct online bookings to increase 20% in the next two years.
The Driving Hotel Revenue Malaysia Summit organised by IDeaS Revenue Solutions, one of the leading software providers to the hotel industry, proved a useful insight into the way the hotels sector in the Asia - Pacific region are handling the ongoing digital transformation.
Those attending also acknowledged the importance of a hotel's online reputation, with 66% stating that this can have a ‘‘large’ impact on how it can price its rooms and services.’ Most also said they think business travel will grow at a faster pace than leisure tourism.
Reasons for Confidence?
Globally the tourism industry is recovering from the recession. Generally speaking business travel recovers more quickly as firms send executives overseas to explore new opportunities, win new clients and seek to benefit from more buoyant foreign markets.
At the same time there is a noticeable shift towards Asia taking place. According to the World Economic Journal this will be an ongoing trend which will impact the entire leisure sector. Europe currently receives 51% of global tourism. Asia only gets 25%. If trends continue unhindered then come 2030 Europe will only receive 40%, whilst Asia will get 37%. In 2012 the numbers going to Asia-Pacific grew 7%, South East Asia grew 9%, whereas Europe only increased 3%.
Euromonitor International Analyst, Angelo Rossini pointed out that Asia - Pacific “countries have doubled their tourist numbers in the past ten years,” and that “we can’t forget that 90% of global tourism is intra-regional, meaning trips to China and India will continue to gain popularity among tourists from Asian countries.”
This is due to the fact that many Asian tourists prefer and can only afford to travel short distances. Asia to Europe or North America, and the reverse is still a long-distance luxury form of travel. Thailand, for example, a popular destination for Westerners, is banking on tourist from other Asian countries to overtake European visitors in the next few years.
Digital Will Drive Revenue
Rossini also highlighted the fact that “Online travel is very popular in developed countries, but this segment has huge growth potential in developing countries too.” A Cornell School of Hotel Administration Study, found a high correlation between online reputation and prices, occupancy rates and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR).
How hotels operate across digital channels will have a significant impact as to who benefits and who loses out on this anticipated growth in hotel bookings across Asia. Now is the time to invest in strategies and tools which will have a lasting and meaningful returns.