In our recent trends survey, we asked more than a thousand Malaysians about their leisure or personal travelling behaviours. In the survey, we try to identify the journey of these Malaysians. Starting from what inspires those that travel at least once in the last year to travel, consider and plan, up to their behaviors during and after the travel. In the survey, it was found that most Malaysians travel at least once a year within the country (54%) whilst 18% travel outside of Malaysia and 27% of Malaysians travel both outside and within Malaysia. This provides an abundance of opportunities for the hospitality and travelling industry.
It has been clear that in present days, the internet plays a central role in every stage of the journey. In fact, the internet has become one of the largest sources of information for most of our respondents. 90% of them use the internet for at least 60% of their total process in travelling.
To make the insights clear and actionable, this article will be divided into four parts, a linear process that explain the whole customer journey:
(3) Action/During the travel
We believe that the complete and integrated user journey for Malaysians’ behaviour in travelling will provide you with much more actionable insights.
So how are Malaysians inspired to travel? We already know that Malaysians spend multiple hours of their day browsing the internet (source) through various ways such as mobile devices (source) and desktops (source).
Therefore, it is no surprise that we have found that the Internet is leading the way as a source of travel inspiration amongst 71% of Malaysians. This inspiration may have crossed paths with them when browsing the internet on an individual’s multiple devices, such as their smartphones (79%), laptop (62%), dekstop (24%) and tablet (21%). Countless amount of content spread can be found throughout blog websites, online news media, social media and even travel website/apps that are able to influence Malaysians to travel.
In an online context, social media networks such as Facebook or Instagram play a huge role in inspiring fellow Malaysians to travel. 81% of respondents agree that social media are one of their major sources of online travel inspirations. This finding is supported by the fact that Malaysians spend an average of 4.5 hours a day on social media (source).
Other sources of inspirations include travel reviews and booking sites (Trip Advisor, Booking, AirBnb etc.), sitting in the second place & third place (53% & 40%). It seems as though people are gradually moving away from the online travel agency and destination specific siteapps, as only 20% and 30% of them acknowledge it as a source of inspiration. One interesting finding is that even though Malaysians are cost-conscious (source), only 23% of them are inspired by deal-based websites and price comparison sites. That does not mean that the price is not important, but in inspiring Malaysians to travel, it is not the most important factor.
When ads and inspiring contents influence Malaysians to travel, they will start searching for more information about travelling. These are what people do in this stage:
In the planning process, 81% of the people surveyed rely heavily on the internet (81%) in exposing themselves to plan their travel. However, friends, family and colleagues also play a huge role in this process, whether it be online (43%) or offline 63%). Travel promotions (40%) and informational brochures (26%) seem to influence the planning process as well.
In the present days, we have seen evidence of people shifting away from offline to online sources. Offline medias such as television (23%), travel exhibitions (22%), magazines & newspapers (21%), travel agents (17%), travel groups (12%), books (9%) and radio (5%) have a much lesser impact in this stage as compared to online media.
Malaysians spend their research and planning stage across multiple devices, even showing that smartphones (79%) and laptops (55%) are much more favored over desktops (29%) and tablets (19%).
If we dig deeper into the types of content that Malaysians use in the planning stage, social media sites (81%) top search engines (63%). This shows that Malaysians spend a lot of time on social media, from gathering inspirations to the planning process. Not only that, travel reviews (53%), hotel sites/apps (41%) and video sites (40%) are the other types of content that Malaysians also consume in the planning stage.
Interestingly enough, even in the planning stage, not many of them use price comparison sites (13.29%) or deal-based websites (12.64%). This might suggest that Malaysians are inspired to travel, not by discounted prices, but instead on how marketers are able to bring the experiences to life through social media or travel review sites/apps, amazing them before even booking the ticket.
Consider videos, because they are more valuable than you think.
A number of 70% of Malaysians view videos online when they are planning for any upcoming trips, consuming content related to their vacation needs. This should be another reason for content marketers to leverage video content both on social media platforms and in-house websites.
The types of content that Malaysians consume in these video websites are those that are built on identifying and relating with the content, someone who is similar to them and shares the experiences, good or bad (65%), expertise with trip tips (57%), travel-related channel videos (56%) or travel videos from businesses (46%). They also consume travel-related content from people like them (42%) or their friends and family’s videos (43%). Though as we know, brand centrality and narcissism will not work in the UGC. It has been proven by evidence that only a number of 27% prefer ad content in the researching and planning stage.
73% of Malaysians in the planning stage search for videos for more information. We have summarized what kind of online content that Malaysians consume in the planning process.
So, if we know in which stage they search for videos, our next question to concern ourselves with is: who is the most preferred content publisher?
However, despite the high consumption of content from multiple sources such as social media, video sites and search engines in the planning/research stage by fellow Malaysians, the final call for decision comes from other sources. As displayed below:
Content in social medias are considered to be the most influential sources only by 52% of respondents. 63% of Malaysians agree that review websites and online forums are much more convincing whilst most respondents (66%) agree that recommendations from friends and family are the most influential source for them in this stage. This proves that despite of all the creativity poured into the content created to convince these people, the word-of-mouth from close-relatives and experts remain as the highest form of persuasion.
Purchase/Activities they do during and after travelling
The decision to travel is unlike any common purchasing decision, which usually takes shorter. When someone decides to travel, it usually includes taking lengthy roads, up to a year prior, which makes it difficult for those who works in the travelling industry. Fear not as our recent findings from travel research presents actionable evidence. This stage will be divided into two different parts, the first part is purchasing behaviour and the second part is the activities they do when they are travelling.
In the past year, 84% of respondents purchase items related to traveling, making these purchasers the decision makers. Within that 84% of people, these are among the purchases they perform in relation to travelling in the past year:
Individual Travel Activities
Full travel package
Activities During The Travel
While travelling, most Malaysians prefer the easiest or simplest way to find interesting activities. They decide the activities as they go, while walking around (42%), through destination sites/apps (41%) or accommodations sites/apps (32%). In-house hotel/hostels brochures are also significant as 32% of people use it to book the activities while they are travelling.
The travel itself is now finished, the long process of researching, planning and travelling after they got inspired, comes to an end. Here are the list of what Malaysians do after they have travelled
So, what’s to do next? There are a lot of interesting findings in this survey. To know more, read up on our next blog about practical implications of these findings for businesses.