Hong Kongers now one of the world’s top 10 travel spenders
But where are they going? And what do they spend their money on!
Hong Kongers love to travel
Over the years, Hong Kong has built a formidable reputation as one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. But, did you know that the city is also one of the planet’s biggest overseas spenders?
It’s true. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization‘s most recent Tourism Barometer report, Hong Kong has joined the top 10 travel expenditure list, with local travellers spending a staggering US$24 billion last year (2016) exploring new lands.
That raises some interesting questions.
Like, what do Hong Kongers look for when they travel? And what does it take to get them to spend that hard-earned cash?
Data drawn from numerous surveys and Skyscanner’s own data suggests that Hong Kong people are increasingly looking to relax at the beach, with the number of seaside locations on the 2017 list of emerging travel destinations growing at a rapid rate.
But what else is going on? And what does it mean for the travel industry? Join us as we share the latest data on Hong Kong travel preferences and explore the implications of the latest travel trends.
Before the Trip
Some of the most important aspects of any trip take place before a bag is packed or a flight gets booked.
Hong Kong travellers are increasingly planning their trips in advance. According to Skyscanner search data, the average flight search takes place 72 days ahead of the expected travel date. That’s an increase from the 2014 average, when people started looking on average 66 days ahead of time.
This trend tallies neatly with the way Hong Kongers view themselves. Only 14% describe themselves as ‘spontaneous travellers’, which is 7% less than the regional average.
Indeed, very few people leave things to the last minute. Only 5% of men and a tiny 1.5% of women booked their last trip less than a week before travelling. Women prefer to book further in advance – over a third (36%) of female respondents booked their last trip 3 months early, compared with less than a quarter of men (23%).
So, what motivates Hong Kong travellers? Well, many (31%) claim to gain travel inspiration from photo galleries, and this figure is higher than the APAC average rate of 25%. A quarter of Hong Kong people gathered their info from travel articles, and 22% from city guides.
In fact, it looks like traditional media is having less of an impact on travel trends overall. Respondents revealed that their top three sources of travel inspiration are: Recommendations from family/friends – 22%, Social Media Posts – 18%, Magazine/newspaper articles – 17%.
Bedtime reading is deemed to be the preferred time to search for travel ideas, with over 40% of respondents consuming travel content before going to bed. A large number (28%) also said they do this kind of research during their daily commute.
Making travel choices
It looks like destinations dictate travel decisions for Hong Kongers. When asked about what they think about first when they book travel, 43% of respondents start by picking the destination. Fewer (35%) base their decisions on price, and 22% of people pick the time they want to travel first, and then look at what’s available.
Of course, Hong Kongers love a bargain. That’s why the majority of respondents book travel when they see the best deals (46%), with a lower number doing so when their work schedule allows (34%). Women are more concerned about snagging the best offer – 7% more women than men say that when they spot the best deal has the biggest impact on when they book. Meanwhile, men are more influenced by work – 5% more men say that work schedules have the biggest impact on when they book.
One thing is clear – price comparison is an important part of the booking experience. When asked to rank different aspects of the booking process, over a third of Hong Kong respondents (35%) ranked the ability to compare prices as the most important part of the booking process. This was followed by price clarity (33%), an easy and secure payment process (15%), and the ability to customize options/make special requests (10%) as critical considerations. Access to information on airline/hotel features was right at the bottom of the list (8%).
Bad weather and misleading hotel descriptions top the list of concerns for Hong Kong travellers.
When asked to pick the top two things they worry about the most when travelling, 60% of respondents cited concerns that the weather won’t be good. Over half (52%) expressed fears about the description and photos of their accommodation not being accurate.
Interestingly, men are more concerned about bad weather than women – 61% vs 58%. Women are more worried about misleading accommodation descriptions – 55% vs. 49%. (Travel persona)
Hong Kongers on holiday
They say that getting there is half the fun. But Hong Kong people put a lot of time and effort into enjoying themselves when they do arrive at their destination.
Like most APAC respondents, Hong Kong travellers share similar levels of interest in “experiencing the destination as a local” (27%), “getting close to nature” and “being adventurous” (24%). But their enthusiasm also stands out when it comes to “eating, drinking and sleeping” (20%) during their holiday. This figure is twice the APAC average (10%). Surprisingly, shopping appeared to be a fairly low priority, with only 9% saying they enjoy visiting malls and markets while on holiday.
Hong Kongers are probably the most chilled travellers in the region, with 27% of people surveyed saying they don’t plan an itinerary. This is way above the APAC average of 15%. Taiwanese travellers appear to be the most uptight, with only 8% of Taiwan respondents claiming to be ‘super chilled.’
Hong Kong men and women have significantly different approaches to currency when they travel. The majority of men (33%) prefer to split their travel costs between local currency and credit cards. However, most women (40%) prefer to take local currency with them, and try to avoid using credit cards.
Only 14% of respondents rely solely on credit cards for overseas payments. Men aged 18-24 prefer to take local currency and never use credit cards, while those aged between 25-34 and 45-54 tend to take currency and avoid credit cards. Only the 35-44 and 55+ male age groups were ok with using credit cards – but even here they prefer to split the costs.
Women are a bit more consistent. Those aged from 18-24, 25-34 and 55+ prefer to split the costs, while age groups 35-44 and 45-54 prefer to take currency and avoid using cards.
Men aged 35-44 appear to be the most open to using credit cards (23%), preferring to rely on them exclusively. Among all the women polled, it was those aged 55+ (18%) who actively preferred credit cards to local cash.
Once the trip is over
Nobody enjoys the post-holiday blues. It looks like many Hong Kongers avoid falling to this victim by sorting out photos and videos, reconciling budgets and social sharing after returning from a trip.
When asked what they typically do when they get home, the most popular answer among Hong Kong respondents was ‘sort out my pictures and videos’ (68%). This was followed by ‘reviewing travel expenses and costs’ (44%) and ‘sharing travel experiences on social channels’ (43%).
However, over a quarter (28%), said that they start planning their next trip after returning from a holiday!!
Time to book your next holiday?
Before you book your next adventure, it might be worth considering the below travel insights from Skyscanner to ensure you get the most for you money!
Fast Travel Facts
• Peak travel months from Hong Kong ($$$) – July, December, February
• Average travel months from Hong Kong ($$) – June, August, September, March, April
• Low travel months from Hong Kong ($) – May, October, November, January
Skyscanner Best Time to Book data 2017
To start booking your next holiday visit www.skyscanner.com.hk
Optimize your annual leave and find out how to save money traveling over major holidays with the Skyscanner Travel Smart Calendar
If you would like further insights from Skyscanner or to receive a or more information on how to reference any of these findings, then contact us here: SkyscannerHK@teamlewis.com