WebBed insights on China and Korea travel
11/11/2020|6:15:15 PM|TTR Weekly

WebBeds, a global B2B accommodation provider, reveals the first in-depth insights into the travel landscape in China and South Korea, in the wake of the worldwide pandemic.

Based on extensive research including focus groups, expert insights, interviews with travel experts, and its own in-house data, WebBeds unveil the latest trends that are being felt by travel companies in these two important Asian markets.

China outlook

Uncertainty impacts domestic rebound in China, according to WebBeds. It found that the country relied on the rebound of its large domestic tourism sector, although uncertainty is still having a major effect.

DerbySoft co-founder & CEO Ted Zhang revealed that the booking window has shortened to just two to three days in advance, as customers lack information on when hotels and facilities will be fully operational. This assertion was supported by Tongcheng Elong vice president of brand marketing Zhiwei Bai, who noted that the share of online hotel bookings had significantly increased. But walk-ins have become almost impossible as travellers don’t know if a hotel is still operational.

China’s Ministry of Culture & Tourism has forecast that domestic tourism will decline 43% to 3.43 billion trips this year, while domestic tourism revenue is expected to slump by 52% to CNY2.76 trillion (USD394 billion) in 2020.

South Korea

Spending power and independent travel drive holiday revival. The closure of international borders has had a significant impact on South Korea, which experienced an 80.2% plunge in international visitor arrivals in the first eight months of 2020. But while the country has a much smaller population than China, it still ranks as the ninth biggest outbound tourism market in the world – a fact that reflects South Korea’s affluence. This local spending power has the potential to fuel a domestic rebound.

WebBeds research found that, as in China, booking lead times in South Korea have been severely shortened, which has also reduced the popularity of early bird rates. Flexible booking conditions are now the top priority for customers when making a travel or hotel reservation. Interestingly, Interpark general manager overseas, Youngmi Jung, noted that travellers are now booking either ultra-short breaks or very long holidays, with a preference for self-contained stays.

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