Sojern has launched a new interactive dashboard providing real-time Covid-19 travel insights that will empower travel marketers to forecast travel demand and make informed decisions about market recovery.
The dashboard, updated daily at 10.30 (UTC), will provide market-level details on future searching and booking trends indexed to pre-Covid levels to provide visibility into timing for a recovery in specific destinations.
Sojern collects and analyses travel intent data from thousands of airline and hotel partners from around the world to use as the foundation of its travel insights. This data provides an unparalleled view of travel demand by looking at online travellers’ path to purchase.
Travel providers can use these insights to help determine when to reopen or when to accelerate marketing to power recovery. Dashboard users will also be able to compare different regions to see when travel is likely to recover in each market.
Sojern director of travel insights Amber Kuo said: “Normally, weekly or even monthly data updates about how consumers are travelling would be acceptable to inform marketing campaigns. However, in Covid times, travel marketers are feeling stressed and uncertain about the future. Providing daily updates gives marketers more control because they can see how the situation is evolving, and when is the right time to act.”
This week’s insights on Covid-19’s travel impact in Asia-Pacific, which are based on data collected on May 4, 2020, showed signs of positive momentum in domestic travel, and revealed that destination markets can expect an uptick in travel in February 2021.
Following the WHO declaring that Covid-19 was officially a pandemic, from March 12 onwards, Asia-Pacific was seen to have a 40 per cent decrease in search volume. Following which, the individual countries within the region saw a further decrease in search intent as stricter travel restrictions came into play.
All Regions Year-To-Date Index in Searches
While Mainland China outbound travel started declining in December, it has since reached a plateau. Trends show that domestic travel took a sharp drop in mid-January when China imposed a lockdown, but continues to improve since mid-February, showing positive upticks.
This trend comes amid China’s prominence in the news, where a lengthy rebuttal of allegations was submitted over its handling of the Covid-19 outbreak, as well as the reopening of Shanghai Disneyland on May 11 to a reduced number of visitors, ending a three-month closure.
Source Market: China – Domestic Travel
Hong Kong domestic travel was on a decline, but is showing clear signs of recovery since mid-February. Hong Kong outbound travel declined until the end of January, but has started to show signs of recovery at the end of April. Sojern noted that this uptick is coming from Hong Kong to China specifically. While Hong Kong has been celebrating progress of the containment of the virus, it remains to be seem if flash mobs that broke out over the Mother’s Day weekend will dent demand.
Source Market: Hong Kong – Domestic Travel
South Korean domestic and outbound travel has seen a general decline since mid-December, but Sojern’s data showed a slight improvement in April. Following positive news of containment of the virus, over the weekend, South Korea warned of a second wave of cases as a new cluster formed around a number of nightclubs. Since then, the capital Seoul has shut down all nightclubs, bars, and discos.
Source Market: South Korea – Domestic Travel
Taiwan domestic travel has a slower decline than average and showed signs of recovery in the second week of April. Additionally, Taiwan outbound has been on a decline since mid-January, but has reached a plateau. Taiwan reported over the weekend that they had no new cases of Covid-19, meaning the country has gone 28 days without reporting a single local transmission. This could reflect positively on travel trends in the near future, said Sojern.
Source Market: Taiwan – Domestic Travel
Looking at its flight data and the flight searches conducted across Asia in the last 28 days, Sojern noted that travellers are searching for potential destinations to visit during some specific months ahead. February 2021 has the highest search volume intent, presumably due to the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays. Additionally, Sojern also saw a high search volume for September and November this year, which could be due to the Mid-Autumn Festival in China.
Future Flight Departure Date Searches from East Asia, Oceania and South-east Asia
Hong Kong seems to have the highest search volume in November and this could be due to two anticipated events happening – The Airline Economic Growth and Fintech Conference. As for Singapore and Australia, February 2021 is the highest search month.
Even though the numbers are still lower than last year’s volume, it is a positive sign that travellers are “dreaming” of and planning their next trip, said Sojern.
Australia and New Zealand largely avoided high casualty cases by introducing strict nationwide stay-at-home orders and border closures, including travelling between states.
Positive signs coming out of Australia indicate that students of New South Wales and Queensland began returning to school this week on a limited basis, as the country’s rate of new infections continue to slow.
Future Flight Departure Date Searches to Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore