travel

Four in five in Japan complete their int'l travel booking at least two months in advance: survey

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When it comes to traveling for leisure, Japanese travelers are appearing more eager than some others to plan and finalize their holiday plans. Even in this current digital age where online bookings can be made within minutes at just the click of a button, 79% of Japanese travelers surveyed said they have already booked their international travel at least two months in advance, and as many as over half (57%) even said they have completed their reservations more than three months ahead of their actual travel date.

GfK recently conducted the Consumer Travel Tracker online survey in Japan among over 500 respondents on the process of booking they made for their own leisure international travel. According to the survey findings, 13% of respondents even said they made their reservations more than seven months ahead of their travel date.

“The survey results yielded some interesting findings which helped characterized the purchasing behavior of Japanese travelers, such as the fact that they would make and confirm their holiday plans early in order to secure their bookings, especially for popular tourist spots such as Hawaii,” highlighted Lawrence Liew, North Asia Director for Travel & Hospitality at GfK. “A quarter of travelers who picked Hawaii as a vacation destination said their bookings had been confirmed seven months before the actual trip.”

Nearly two in five (39%) Japanese travelers based their international travel planning on information researched solely from the internet and 34% said they utilize both online and offline platforms. The remaining 28% used only offline platforms for the same purpose.

“The high dependency level by over 70% of travelers demonstrate the heavy reliance of Japanese travelers’ on the Internet in the travel planning process, but on the other hand, there is also a notable proportion of consumers in this advanced economy who totally bypass the online channel and are depending solely on physical platforms,” observed Liew. “This means that brick and mortar travel agencies are still very relevant and essential for nearly three in ten travelers in the country!”

The top three sources of travel information used as references by travelers were all online. Way ahead in the first place with a significant margin from the second and third ranking sources was online travel agency’s website/app, browsed by nearly half (47%) of all travelers. Airline websites/apps, followed by brick-and-mortar travel agency websites/apps are the other two popular platforms used by 25% and 23% of travelers respectively.

However, when it comes to making the actual flight, hotel or package holiday bookings, over half (54%) of all respondents said they used brick-and-mortar travel agency websites instead. The usage of the top ranking source of information—online travel agency websites for actual booking remained low, used by 20% only.

“In today’s highly developed society, the consumer travel purchase journey has not only spread across multi-channels but also has a high tendency to switch across multiple connected devices,” commented Liew. “Travel suppliers and intermediaries with the ability to deliver consistently good customer experience across the different channels and devices would have a higher chance to remain relevant to consumers for a longer time,” he concluded.

The most popular destinations among Japanese consumers, according to the research were Taiwan, Hawaii and Korea.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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A travel agent has a different terminal than we do with our computers. They can see so much more with blocked seats etc. I prefer to use an agent.

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I visited Japan twice in 2004

I spent 6 months researching where i would go in Japan and then booked the flights etc 6 months before the first flight.

2nd time i spent less time researching but still had the flight etc booked 3 months before the flight.

.

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It isn't necessary to book that far ahead in most cases; 45-50 days is generally the optimum time. In some cases you may pay more by booking too far in advance.

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I guess this is related to people getting time off work and all the school and club stuff their kids may do. Most people travel at peak periods.

It's noticeable though that there are no last minute type deals in Japan. In the past, I've noticed that any package tours to Okinawa etc. have to be bought at least three days in advance. Not only are there no last minute specials, dates for what would be last minute bookings are simply blacked out. This matters because packages, especially off season ones, to Hokkaido and Okinawa can be much cheaper than booking the flight and hotel separately. On some of them, staying at a fairly good hotel makes the flights essentially free.

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I study plane prices from about three months out before booking my flights to Japan, and watch both Japanese and American carriers to note trends. The last two times I have booked flights about 5 weeks out - when I found some anomalies that caused lower prices for only a day or two. In the case of American, on Sundays only it was offering some JAL flights on code sharing that were significantly cheaper. I noticed these flights two weekends in a row, and bought on the second one. For United, I got a cheaper flight five weeks out, but noticed that the normal cheap flights seemed to have a steady price even as few as three days before the flights if you didn't mind your flight route.

Booking.com and other groups seem to offer pretty cheap hotel prices in some cities, not so in others. I am curious as to how others book stays in Japanese hotels/minshuku/hostels. Some of the best prices seem to be negotiable on the telephone once I get to Japan.

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