Google searches reveal the most important time for travel businesses to reach Singaporeans

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It’s no secret that most Singaporeans love travelling, and with 9.5 million overseas trips reported in 2016, we’re one of the most well-travelled in the world.

We get it. Travelling out of your bubble and having the chance to experience another culture is a glorious feeling.

So when it comes to planning our holidays, most of us turn to search engines for the answers. Not only do we need instant answers on flight and accommodation options, we also need the Internet for recommendations on the best things to eat, see and do.

Today (Aug 24), Google updated its Asia-Pacific Travel Dashboard and revealed the top search trends in Singapore over the last year.

 

Singaporean travellers are open to trying new brands

In 2016, travel-related searches within Singapore increased by 5% and unsurprisingly, searches peaked during the June and December school-holiday seasons, while the first quarter of 2017 saw a 4% dip in travel queries.

Travel related search in Singapore [Jan 2014 – Mar 2017].
Google

During the initial planning stage of holidays, searches on Google showed that 67% of people in Singapore do not have particular brands in mind when they search for travel-related queries.

Only when they are narrowing down their choices or when they are ready to book, will people start searching for preferred brands.

For travel advertisers, this means that the planning phase is the golden time to capture people’s attention because that’s when they are still open to brand suggestions.

Shorter travels are preferred

Singaporeans prefer affordable and accessible getaways rather than having to take a long-haul flight.

Out of the 10 top destinations Singapore users searched for, a total of nine were located in Asia – with London being the sole exception. Not surprisingly, Bangkok was the most search-for destination.

Interest in Vietnam increased 14% YoY and within the country, top choices included Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang.

Interest in Phú Quốc Island also surged by 40% in 2016, with more people lured by the promise of pristine beaches and luxury resorts development.

The top ten overseas destinations Singaporeans Google-searched in 2016 are:

  1. Bangkok
  2. Bali
  3. Kuala Lumpur
  4. Johor Bahru
  5. Batam
  6. London
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Taipei
  9. Tokyo
  10. Seoul

If you’ve crossed out all the destinations on the list already, other up-and-coming destinations searched for in Singapore include:

  • Luang Prabang
  • Hanoi
  • Lisbon
  • Munich
  • Da Nang
  • Prague; and
  • Yogyakarta

A holiday doesn’t have to be overseas

While overseas travel still made up the bulk of travel-related searches (61%), a significant 39% of searches in Singapore were related to local attractions – an indicator that Singaporeans don’t just consider overseas destinations for a quick getaway.

Compared to other countries in the region, the concept of staycations – where people stay at a hotel or vacation rental in their own home – is highly popular in Singapore.

Interest in domestic travel even surpassed that of other countries such as Philippines and Malaysia, and are particularly popular when there are many long weekends in a year, Google said.

 

“Staycation” Search Query Trend.
Google

Compared to overseas vacations which required more in-depth planning, the decision to book a local hotel is usually a spur-of-the-moment one as people tend to look for staycation options on the Monday immediately before a long weekend.

Search for “Staycation” term in Singapore (Apr-May 2016).
Google

Aside from staycations, Singaporeans also researched other interesting venues to visit during the weekends.

The local attractions most searched for on Google include:

  1. Gardens by the Bay
  2. Universal Studios Singapore
  3. Singapore Zoo
  4. Art Science Museum
  5. National Gallery Singapore
  6. Singapore Flyer
  7. S.E.A. Aquarium
  8. Adventure Cove
  9. River Safari
  10. Singapore Art Museum

The rising trend of Singaporeans choosing to be tourists in their own backyard shows that local audiences remain an important consumer group for the tourism and attractions industry here.

To local attractions and travel businesses, this highlights the need to deepen engagement with consumers closer to home and to continue improving and keep attractions relevant.

More people in Asia-Pacific are “travelling” with their phones 

The travel business is serious in Asia Pacific, going by Google’s latest statistics.

Ryan Ferguson, Google’s travel lead for Asia-Pacific said: “We’ve seen travellers in Asia turn to Google search at various stages of their holiday planning, driving a 26% increase in searches for hotels year-on-year, while searches for the air sector grew 13%. ”

Overall, travel searches in the Asia-Pacific region grew 11% year on year, with strong growth from emerging markets such as India (+40% YoY) and Vietnam (+26% YoY).

Searches for Travel Products in 13 Asia-Pacific Countries.
Google

Additionally, with a 26% increase in mobile searches across travel categories such as destinations, travel packages and activities, it seems people are relying more on their mobile phones for travel-related inquiries on-the-go.