Google records spike in travel searches, strong interest in longer stays, sustainable options

Intra-regional travel in South-east Asia has gained momentum with travellers eager to make up for lost time, observes Google, as it shares new travel search trends at a virtual roundtable this week.

Hermione Joye, APAC travel lead, Google, said the revenge traveller is passionately exploring where to travel, with the technology company recording a 336 per cent year-on-year growth in “where to travel” searches in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam. These travellers are spending more as compared with pre-pandemic times, and Google has seen a 100 per cent click growth for accommodation priced at US$300 or more.

Google shares new travel search trends

Among travellers from the Philippines, searches for “luxury resorts” and “beach resorts” are up 60 per cent year-on-year.

Joye added that tourists were also keen to stay longer when they do travel, with interest in vacation rentals among South-east Asian travellers rising by more than 1,010 per cent year-on-year.

She also pointed out the growing consciousness of sustainability across the region, particularly in Singapore and the Philippines. Searches related to sustainability have grown by 45 per cent since 2019, while searches related to greenhouse gas emissions have increased by more than 163 per cent in Singapore and more than 156 per cent in the Philippines.

Google search trends also revealed emerging travel preferences among travellers from this region, such as using digital means to research for a trip, makings bookings, organising the trip itinerary and logistics, checking-in, and sharing travel experiences with family and friends.

Travel insurance searches saw a 523 per cent growth in March compared with a year ago from Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. In fact, Google search for travel insurance has seen a 165 per cent year-on-year growth from Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines collectively.

Singaporean travellers have shown a 321 per cent year-on-year growth in searches last month for beach resorts, indicating their preferences for seaside destinations such as Bali, Phuket, Langkawi and Koh Samui. Luxury resorts are also preferred, with a 1,962 per cent growth in searches, revealing that Singaporeans prefer big budget holidays.

According to Joye, search volumes show that inbound travel to South-east Asia has experienced the fastest upturn in the Philippines and Indonesia. In March, inbound demand for the Philippines had already surpassed pre-pandemic figures, hitting 104 per cent of pre-pandemic search volumes; Indonesia was close to a full rebound at 94 per cent. Both countries have also seen the fastest resurgence in outbound travel with search volumes bouncing back to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Singapore is in third place for both inbound and outbound travel demand.

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