2 in 5 S'poreans book trips at last minute: Survey

Two in five Singaporeans make their travel bookings four weeks or less before departure, according to a report.
Two in five Singaporeans make their travel bookings four weeks or less before departure, according to a report. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Hoping to enjoy the spring weather in Europe before the peak season in June, Mr Alvin Tan decided to book a flight to Germany in May, just less than a week before the trip.

"We were watching a travel series which featured Munich and my wife happened to have leave to clear, so we made the decision spontaneously," said the 48-year-old, who is pursuing a doctorate in theology.

But such an arrangement is not unusual anymore.

Two in five Singaporeans make their travel bookings four weeks or less before departure, according to the latest findings in Criteo's Asia-Pacific Digital Traveller Report released yesterday.

While Mr Tan had booked a trip to Europe, many of these last-minute bookings are usually made to short-haul regional destinations such as Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Dynasty Travel's director of marketing communications Alicia Seah said: "With more accessibility and frequency of flights offered by both low-cost carriers and full-service airlines, there's no urgency to book early."

She added that travellers also look out for special deals and last-minute bargains during the low season in the months of July to September.

Most of these trips also tend to be shorter, ranging from three days to a week.

Mr Todd Arthur, vice-president for sales and market development at Sabre Travel Network Asia-Pacific, a leading technology provider to the global travel industry, said: "People certainly don't make last-minute bookings simply to pay more - they do so because schedules are up in the air and there are an increasing number of options."

He has worked with online travel agents, including Expedia and Booking.com.

While just slightly more than half of bookings by Singaporeans are made up to half a year before departure (53 per cent), many of these trips are for peak-season travels in the June and December school holidays, and are typically to long-haul destinations such as Europe and the United States.

The 150 Singaporean respondents who were selected for Criteo's survey had either planned their travels online in the month before the survey was taken, or had made travel bookings in the three months prior to taking the survey.

The survey was conducted by Euromonitor International across the Asia-Pacific to investigate consumer patterns in online travel browsing and booking behaviour.

The report also revealed that about half of all travel-related bookings and purchases were made on weekends, and that 28 per cent of all bookings were made when people were out of home or in the office.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2017, with the headline '2 in 5 S'poreans book trips at last minute: Survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe