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COVID-19: Insights on Travel Impact, APAC


In this blog series, we’ll take a look at the data in order to aid travel marketers in their assessment of this worldwide event. They can use these trends to inform their marketing strategies during this period and be prepared for the recovery once the situation stabilises.

Since the last edition of our APAC findings, we continue to see significant impact across all industries around the world, including the travel industry. With our access to real-time traveller audiences and unmatched visibility into global travel demand, Sojern is in a unique position to share current travel trends at the forefront of marketers’ minds. Our data can provide some insight into how travellers are responding to the current situation, the impact that COVID-19 will have on destinations, and when the first signs of recovery start to appear.

This week’s APAC trends include – information of what is happening in the Little Red Dot – Singapore, certain months within APAC where travel will pick up and a focus into significant improvements for China, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand.  

These insights are based on data collected on 11 April, 2020. We will be reviewing our data on a weekly basis in order to provide a regular view of trends and patterns in consumer behaviour. Sojern’s insights are based on over 350 million traveller profiles and billions of travel intent signals, however it does not capture one hundred percent of the travel market.

For a deeper understanding of this week’s trends read more:

What is happening in The Little Red Dot?

As of April of 2020, flight searches to Singapore have declined by 92%.  Considering that airlines have been grounded and almost all countries, including Singapore, have gone into lockdown or a ‘circuit breaker’ period, the severe decline in flight searches is obviously expected.  Nonetheless, the travel market has historically been huge, so despite the decline there is still a huge pool of people searching, which provides us with insights regarding current sentiment about travelling.

Year over year % change in flight searches to Singapore

Given the travel restrictions, the pool of people who are still searching for travel to Singapore are all shifting their plans to the end of the year. But if we slice the information some more, we can see that certain types of travellers are far more eager. The chart below shows a dotted line which represents the average decline in searches (-92%).

It’s pretty clear that sentiment experiences a sudden turning point for all traveler types by September.  In fact, for solo travelers and families who are planning long trips, we see that the turning point happens as early as June.  The most noticeable lift starts from September onwards from solo travelers and families who are planning long trips.  Digging into it a little more, we saw that the majority of this lift comes from travelers who are traveling longer distances, specifically from Europe, United States, and Australia.

Singapore in April 2020 and APAC travelers

So far, most of the lift in flight searches is coming from overseas travellers.  However, every part of the world is recovering from the virus at its own pace, so we know that travel recovery this year will be fragmented across regional boundaries. Thus, it will be critical for the industry to focus on growing the domestic and intra-regional travel markets early on.  We took a look at the travellers within 4800 km of Singapore, and also saw improved sentiment in the later part of the year (particularly the December holiday period) across all traveller types.  Most of this early planning is attributed to travellers from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, and South Korea.