We all know Japan has a very unusual tourist market compared to the rest of the developed world, but how different in terms of technology?
A panel at WebinTravel, featuring country representatives from Venture Republic, Pegasus Solutions, OHTA Publications and Expedia, brought to light some very significant – and intriguing – differences.
Surprisingly, maybe, but Japanese youths are travelling digitally rather than physically.
It may sound odd, but young adults would rather travel virtually through games than actually leave their homes.
As highlighted by the panel, this actually presents an opportunity for travel brands to link digital gaming with physical travel in a bid to stimulate revenue.
But, still, there needs to be entertainment value beyond the journey.
When it comes to mobile bookings, Japan is actually "over" mobile, as the panel put it.
When we look at the demographics and the prolific use of mobile, the comment actually makes a lot of sense:
- 70% of the population research travel via mobile
- 20% purchase travel inventory via mobile
- Majority of mobile bookers are males over the age of 45
Anyone involved with mobile in the travel space will know these numbers are nearly unheard of in conventional markets.
Having consumers complete bookings using a mobile (app or mobile site) is a huge challenge, getting the 45+ age group to do so, sounds almost impossible.
So what is happening over there in Japan?
Are we looking at a market that is more mature and simply further along the industry’s evolutionary path, or are we seeing a unique market that has taken a different route from the rest of the world?
In some respects, elements of consumer behaviour in Japan can be applied to other markets through the likes of Foursquare endorsements by DMOs and the rise of the tablet and its positive effect on mobile booking stats.
But does the industry look on enviously at Japan’s technological achievements or let country get on with its rather unique path.