Tourism is a big business in Indonesia and the rapid growth has spurred a swatch of new travel companies or tourism operators both offline and online, formal and informal. The country aims to host nine million tourists this year and Nielsen Global Consumer Survey in Q1 2013 said that traveling has become a second preference to savings in how people choose to allocate their income. With more travelers heading online for references, travel operators are being driven to establish stronger online presence to highlight and promote their destinations and services.
With a greater percentage of Indonesians entering the middle class income bracket, the propensity to spend has increased and traveling is a major beneficiary of that growth. According to the Nielsen survey, 37 percent of respondents choose to travel or go on vacations. A McKinsey survey says that by 2030, spending on traveling will reach US$105 billion, a four times increase from USD 26 billion in 2011. As a side note, the Indonesian government’s target of nine million foreign visitors for 2013 though, pales in comparison to Malaysia’s target of 26 to 28 million visitors in 2013/2014.
HotelsTonight offered a range of data today and said that the number of tourists to Indonesia will see 154 percent more travelers this year. Among global travelers intending to travel to or across Indonesia, HotelsTonight said 33 percent was made up of Australians and New Zealanders with other Asians making up 30 percent, domestic travelers 20 percent, and Europeans 14 percent.
In terms of growth, according to HotelsTonight, interest from Asia Pacific countries are among the fastest with China rising 534 percent, Australia (385), Japan (283), Singapore (289) and Malaysia (287). These numbers should act as a guidance for travel companies and trip operators in planning their packages and marketing efforts.
Wego recently released its findings with regards to the trend in domestic traveling. Over the Lebaran holiday in August, Wego recorded 101 percent increase in flight searches and 230 percent increase in hotel searches. Wego’s managing director for Indonesia Graham Hills said back in August, “this growth reflects a growing trend of Indonesians to plan their travels online”.
As another sign of growth in the tourism industry, earlier this month Indonesian travel site Traveloka announced an investment from Global Founders Capital, which is the investment company run by the famous Samwer brothers of Rocket Internet. The investment is the firm’s first ever in Asia.
During the Indonesia E-tourism Summit held in Bali earlier this month, managing director of Fortune PR, Indira Abidin said, “Tourism practitioners must build brands with a strong positioning strategy to then develop a globally winning online reputation based on their intended markets.”
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She also said that 65 percent of tourists look for travel ideas through social media, with 52 percent of Facebook users being highly influenced by the photos and stories shared by their friends and contacts on their timeline. Apparently, 33 percent of travelers change their minds based on those shared experiences, so travel service operators “must be able to build a reputation in social media to attract them to use the services or destinations that we run and tell interesting stories through photos and videos”.
Leo Tonidandel, country manager for Lufthansa in Indonesia, told DailySocial that the company “sees Indonesia as big and promising market for travelling, considering its position as the World 11th biggest market for air travel.”
Tonidandel also believes that the growth of the middle class and rise in spending ability will further drive the demand for International travel. “The salaries adjustment in Indonesia these days empowering the population to consume more, thus travel abroad is an affordable thing to do. The middle-class growth and the curiosity to see the world, make us confident on the growing of our business, to bring more Indonesians to Europe and vise versa, due to the fact that international passenger numbers tripled, between 2005 to 2012, with total of 10 Million passengers/year.”
In line with what Abidin said about travelers being highly influenced by social media, Tonidandel said, “we’re aware of social media huge influences for most Indonesian. That’s why you can find postings on Lufthansa Facebook fan page in Bahasa. Lufthansa Facebook fans from Indonesia is the 2nd largest worldwide, after Germany. Social media is one of our important channels as we’re focusing on online sales through our website’s Indonesia page, together with other, yet targeted online and mobile activities”.
This trend in going online to seek travel information plays significantly into the strategies for travel companies to properly set up their web presence if they haven’t already. The more information is being made online about travel destinations, the greater the likelihood that travelers, both foreign and domestic, will discover about them and make decisions to visit those places.
Companies in the tourism industry with inadequate and poorly maintained websites and social media presence will receive far fewer businesses from potential new customers. On top of that, with social media posts serving as a major influence towards how people decide their travel plans, operators of travel destinations and services have no choice but to be on top of their game in getting travelers’ attention online. Sites like JakPost Travel, Burufly, Wego, TripTrus, Indonesia Travel, and others play an important role in promoting the country’s destinations and informing the world that Indonesia is not just Bali, Bandung, Jakarta, and Jogjakarta.
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