How Southeast Asia Travel Businesses can Capitalise on 2016 Travel Trends


As we are in the belly of 2016, it is evident that travel is at the forefront of young people’s agenda with 69% of travellers saying they want to travel somewhere new this year. These experienced explores know what they want and it’s anything from the norm. Below is a look at the trends that you should be aware of as a tourism or hospitality-related business in Southeast Asia, and what you can use to attract customers to your business.

Trend 1: Living like a local

The young, adventurous traveller out there is looking for authentic and real cultural immersion. This does not happen at the main tourist attractions with boxed-up cultural memorabilia and queues upon queues to take a quick snap of a famous building. Hidden far from these places are the real, less travelled spots that this particular crowd crave.

You may be wondering what attracts them away – food is apparently fundamental with 85 percent of respondents saying they love to visit a food market when in a foreign city and they like to ‘live like a local’ and discover cool activities that local youth do.

How to take advantage of this trend? Why not implement images of local traditional meals that you serve and share unique cultural information daily as part of your social media strategy? This will attract this specific group of travellers who are more inclined to come to obscure places. Daily interaction through photographic and informative communication will keep them interested and updated.

The search for genuine food, language and customary exchanges of local people are the things they demand in order to compile their stories and photos to pass on along the road less travelled.

Trend 2: Spending more on “once-in-a-lifetime experiences”

One-third of 3 travellers (33%) are planning to spend more on travel in 2016 than they did the previous year. The younger generation are more concerned with experience than building homes and paying off the mortgage. They save hard to spend it on the thrill of going somewhere new to learn, grow and adapt to a different culture.

Being part of their once-in-a-lifetime experience means a lot for your business. If you have something to offer that is different and unique, like an epic view of sunset or of some ancient buildings, start promoting it on social media and get your name out there. Take care of your online presence and make sure you have reviews and lots of social media activity that highlight the unique elements you have to offer. Upload short videos and photos or even hire a professional to create a sleek online portfolios of ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ places and things to do around your business.

Trend 3: WiFi is now a necessary amenity

Having strong WiFi will make you a desirable place for this cool crowd as they Instagram pictures from your hotspot or a quick Facebook check-in helps to put your place on the map. It is their life line and will increase your business’s popularity. Invest in boosters to put around the place so that the connection doesn’t weaken.

Take note that 46% said free in – room WiFi is a must-have amenity – meaning that, if an accommodation did not provide it, they would look elsewhere. With this knowledge, it would be insanity for any clever hotel, resort, or restaurant to charge for their WiFi – think of it like this: your guests are giving you free promotion, so give them the tools to make that as easy as possible for them.

State it boldly on your website and other social platforms to make the public aware of your free WiFi, and plaster your hashtag and social media handles right alongside it for maximum effect.

Trend 4: Wellness and eco-travel increasingly important values

With the demands of society still in place and old, perhaps outdated ways of living still dominating the western world many people need to escape to recharge, de stress and recuperate. Travelling for wellness is a really important amongst travellers in 2016. Ecotourism is on the rise, helping to promote a greater understanding and admiration for nature and local societies. Supporting conservation efforts and observing wildlife are at the core of this new age tourist genre.

Online promotional packages work well with this crowd and having relevant, daily social media content such as inspirational advice will attract and keep a solid client base.

Trend 5: The rise of the #TravelInfluencers

This group of people are the ultimate trendsetters in the travel industry with huge followings of their blogs and social media. It’s important to stay up-to-date with these online celebrities as their influence on what is hot or not is highly regarded amongst the go getters of this community.

People with followings in the tens, sometimes hundred of thousands, are paving the way and discovering obscure destinations with deeply hidden treasures on this earth. Take a look at Gareth Leonard for example, who created, guiding people off the worn-out travel trail in search for something deeper. Conjuring up his own hashtag – #traveldeeper to allow people to accompany him on his journey and stay connected has cleverly positioned him high in the rankings of the travel influencers.

Reach out to travel influencers – offer them a free stay or a free meal, or if they have a massive amount of influence, both! Be sure to negotiate their deliverables beforehand so that everything is clear ahead of their arrival. Send them all of your social media handles, hashtags, and agree on an expected output per day. To amplify their visit, engage your social media team to interact with them online throughout their stay, thereby creating a conversation. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Are you ready to take your social media to the next level, build your tribe and increase your sales? Work with the same team that handles big brands like the Shangri-La Hotel group, for less than what you’d pay a full-time staff member. Get in touch with us today:, or download our FREE guide to creating your online marketing plan by signing up for our newsletter:



About Author

Kaila Krayewski is a writer, editor, and founder of Archipelago Communcations (link:, specialising in social media and content marketing for the luxury travel market. Having lived on Koh Phangan for over four years now, she prides herself on her ability to maintain a professional demeanour while sporting a sun-kissed tan and flip flops.

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