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Facebook key to Asian travellers

News, 09 December 2015

SINGAPORE: Facebook is the most efficient channel for targeting travellers in Asian countries, industry experts believe.

According to a panel at a recent Interactive Advertising Bureau event in Singapore, Facebook is now the world's biggest "travel experiences" platform. And as the most popular social media brand in Asia, it offers a lucrative opportunity to target the regional travel market.

Travel is a fast-grow sector as increasing numbers of holiday-makers from China, Indonesia and India head abroad. The most researched destinations in Q3 2015 were Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, and Bali. Australia and New Zealand were also popular holiday destinations, with booming tourist growth from China in particular.

A proliferation of low cost airlines and accommodation options, such as Airbnb, has seen an explosion in visitor numbers as international travel becomes more financially accessible. Hyper-connected millennials with increasing disposable income are an increasingly covetable demographic, and also a valuable social media marketing tool.

In Asia, 42% of stories shared to users' Facebook timelines are travel experiences – more than double that of the next category.

For travel marketers in Asia, the amplification effect of Facebook among target demographics is clear. Social media is a key information resource for travellers – 40% of online travellers use it to influence destination selection – and the power of social recommendation works. More than half of Facebook users in Asia – 52% – said seeing friends' vacation pictures inspired them to book a trip to the same place, according to Justin Halim, Head of Agencies at Facebook in Singapore.

And after travellers arrive at their destination, 70% of them post about it on Facebook to share their experience with friends.

Facebook has also been used successfully by tourism marketing brands to carve out entirely new travel categories. For example, Tourism New Zealand promoted New Zealand as an LGBT wedding and honeymoon destination, following the legalization of gay marriage in the country in 2012.

A Facebook campaign organically reached over 99,000 Australians and led to a 513% increase in gay foreign residents getting married in New Zealand. The honeymooners also spent a large amount of money in New Zealand's tourism sector.

Data sourced from IAB Singapore; additional content by Warc staff