Can’t Read Won’t Buy – Online Travel Con­sumer In­sights

Travel Daily Asia - - Front Page -

With an av­er­age of 52% of the online pop­u­la­tion fall­ing within the “Not Likely” or “Won’t Buy” cat­e­gory for English-only travel and tick­et­ing web­sites, that po­ten­tially leaves over US$1 tril­lion on the US$2.2 tril­lion ta­ble in the US$2.2 tril­lion global travel mar­ket. In this se­ries of three ar­ti­cles I will share some strate­gies and tac­tics you can de­ploy to con­vert in­ter­na­tional visi­tors into loyal, long-term clients, but in this first ar­ti­cle I thought I’d share some in­sights into the be­hav­iors and pref­er­ences of in­ter­na­tional online con­sumers. Given the Asian fo­cus of TBM I thought I would be­gin with Ja­pan, China and In­done­sia.

Ac­cord­ing to Com­mon Sense Ad­vi­sory (CSA), an in­de­pen­dent re­search com­pany fo­cus­ing on the trans­la­tion and lo­cal­iza­tion in­dus­try, Ja­pan leads the “Can’t Read Won’t Buy” pack, with 87% of Ja­panese online con­sumers claim­ing they would not pur­chase from an English-only web­site. Now con­sider this: over 80% of Ja­pan’s pop­u­la­tion is online (105 mil­lion peo­ple) and the Ja­panese dig­i­tal econ­omy ac­counts for US$4.7 tril­lion, which means Ja­pan ac­counts for 4.2% of the world’s online pop­u­la­tion and rep­re­sents 10.5% of the planet’s web-in­flu­enced spend­ing power. It’s not much dif­fer­ent in China where 80% of Chi­nese online con­sumers re­port that Man­darin user re­views are es­sen­tial to guide them to a pur­chas­ing de­ci­sion. China cur­rently ranks 37th out of 63 coun­tries in the EF Lan­guage English Lan­guage Pro­fi­ciency In­dex so this it’s hardly sur­pris­ing that Man­darin takes cen­ter stage in any pur­chas­ing de­ci­sion. In­done­sia is the ano­maly. It ranks 28th in the EF Lan­guage in­dex, but be­cause of the low vol­umes of Ba­hasa In­done­sian web con­tent, In­done­sian’s are much more tol­er­ant of An­glo-cen­tric web­sites.

So the com­pa­nies that recog­nise these facts are the ones that are reap­ing the re­wards. For­rester Re­search state that the com­pa­nies that de­liver a lo­calised ex­pe­ri­ence are 400% more likely to con­vert visi­tors to cus­tomers, and site stick­i­ness is dou­bled. So just what is needed to reach these not-so-cash-strapped con­sumers? To en­gage with 90% of the online pop­u­la­tion you will need of­fer your ser­vices in 13 lan­guages. But when you con­sider only 34% of global travel com­pa­nies have a de­fined mul­ti­lin­gual strat­egy, lan­guage re­mains a bar­rier to serv­ing in­ter­na­tional clients. In my next ar­ti­cle I will cover the dif­fer­ent strate­gies, tools and best prac­tices that travel com­pa­nies have adopted to reach this global au­di­ence. I will also share what strate­gies and tac­tics de­liver the best re­turn on in­vest­ment, and why. Un­til then we have de­vel­oped some re­sources that you can ac­cess as part of our se­ries of ar­ti­cles with TBM which I hope will give you more con­text and can sup­port your mul­ti­lin­gual strat­egy.

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