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Asians ‘will claim 33pc of global travel spend’
Dubai, March 11, 2013
Asian travellers will account for one third of the world’s travel spend by 2020, a report said, identifying the trends in the next 10 years of travel as well as the new categories of traveller that are emerging.
The new report by IHG, one of the world’s largest hotel companies, in collaboration with The Futures Company, identifies groups including ‘new global explorers’ - travellers from high-growth countries such as China, Egypt, Turkey and Africa.
They follow well-trodden paths, wanting to visit all the must-see sights and are high-spenders, said the report “The new kinship economy: from travel experiences to travel relationships”.
The report also cites the likely increase in city breaks to as yet ‘unknown’ cities that few people have yet heard of, or cities that haven’t even been built. Some 400 largely unknown midsize cities in emerging markets – predominantly China and India – will generate 40 per cent of global economic growth over the next decade and beyond.
“This report shows how the world of travel is constantly evolving and identifies the trends that are set to influence the industry over the next ten years,” said Richard Solomons, IHG chief executive.
“IHG is well-placed in the world’s developing markets. As new destinations and groups of traveller emerge we will ensure we are meeting the changing needs of those at the heart of our business – our guests.”
Jan Smits, IHG chief executive Asia, Middle East and Africa said: “The Middle East gives us great scope to expand the IHG footprint across our brands. The region understands luxury well and this is reflected in our portfolio mix, where one third of our hotels are InterContinental hotels.
“We are confident of our long term growth with the addition of 26 hotels (6,630 rooms) that are in our development pipeline. This represents a 40 per cent growth and points to the headroom we’re still seeing in this market. We’ve been in the Middle East for over 50 years and we intend to continue growing our brands and people in this region well into the future.”
Fifty per cent of the hotels IHG plans to develop in the future now come from emerging markets such as Greater China. IHG has more than 50,000 rooms under development in this region.
IHG is seeing some of its strongest growth in secondary and tertiary cities that aren’t yet on the hot lists of the world’s travelling population such as Chengdu, Hainan, Xian and Nanjing in China, and Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad in India.
In the Middle East, IHG’s hotel development pipeline includes city locations like Jeddah, Riyadh Ras Al Khaimah, Kuwait, and Bahrain, among others.
As other infrastructure in these new cities is planned and built, such as transport links, shops, hospitals and schools so too are IHG’s hotels – forming part of the fabric of the area from the outset.
Other emerging categories of travellers identified in the report include:
• Evolving families, who represent the changing shape of the family traveller today. At one end of the spectrum the industry is seeing multi-generational families taking over whole floors in hotels whereas at the other end of the scale, the growth of the single person household is driving the need for stimulating independent travel.
• Laptop and latte workers, a new breed of business traveller. Often young, the typical 9-5 working environment and business centre atmosphere is alien to them. They prefer creative coffeehouse-style environments where they can be inspired by meeting other travellers while they work on their own laptops and smart phones
• And, Expansive mid-lifers, the growing numbers of adventurous over 50s travellers – currently and for the first time the fastest growing and most affluent age group. These travellers seek new experiences yet demand services that respect their needs without labeling them as old.
The report also highlights the challenge for the travel industry of paradoxically balancing an increased guest preference for independence on the one hand with a desire for hyper-personalisation for other guests, including:
• The Invisible Traveller, a new phenomenon highlighted in the report, describes a guest who could potentially travel without touching the sides, and may never interact with hotel staff. From planning to booking, check-in at the airport to check-in at the hotel, room service and even concierge services, some travellers are already opting for an entirely independent, human-free travel experience.
• Conversely, Predictive Service describes the response to meeting the need for personalised and customised service. From service staff who can speak multiple languages through to chefs who can provide vegan meals at short notice, the industry will need to keep evolving the ways they create customer loyalty, in order to build long lasting relationships.
IHG is already responding to these challenges, the report said. Crowne Plaza is rolling out mobile check-in from December. The service will eventually become a brand standard, giving guests what they want and enabling staff to handle fewer transactions so they can focus on more meaningful guest interactions.
In China, IHG has responded to the need for a bespoke, customised service among travellers by launching a new international hotel brand catering specifically for the needs of Chinese travellers, Hualuxe Hotels & Resorts. – TradeArabia News Service