The Year of the Dog: Digging into China’s Booking Trends

As a Taiwanese immigrant now residing in the US, I personally get into the “holiday spirit” during this time of the year. If you’ve heard that 2018 is the “Year of the Dog,” you may already know that another side of the globe is currently celebrating Chinese New Year, which is also called “春节” (Chūn Jié): a week-long traditional holiday for families to welcome prosperity, fortune, and happiness for the lunar new year together. In fact, it is one of the world’s most prominent and celebrated holidays, and a major holiday in China and its geographic neighbours, such as Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and many more.

Since more than a quarter of the world’s population is currently celebrating Chinese New Year, you might be wondering how this traditional holiday affects the metasearch space and what advertisers can expect to see in their metasearch campaigns. Therefore, I’d like to share some interesting trends on metasearch during the Chinese New Year holiday based on the data we’ve seen so far.

Metasearch Trends for Chinese New Year

Decreased Demand for Long-distance Travel

Similar to the holiday season in the US, Chinese New Year is known for family reunions, quality time with relatives, and planned-ahead itineraries designed for “traveling back home.” Therefore, the majority of the travel demand is for short-distance destinations, where people travel to spend time with families on one of the most important days of the year. The need for long-distance travel then is quite limited, and the total opportunities for international travel gradually decline as the Chinese New Year holiday approaches.

Low Traffic and Volume While Travelers Reunite with Families

Spending exclusive time with families and honoring ancestors are the foundations of Chinese New Year, especially within a culture where the concept of “family” has been a prominent component for thousands of years. Advertisers can expect the overall traffic and booking volume for a given metasearch campaign targeting APAC (Asian-Pacific) users to run at a low level, given that users are simply enjoying the holiday with their loved ones.

Leisure Travel to Nearby International Destinations

Although most users dedicate the Chinese New Year time to families, it doesn’t mean that leisure travel is not an option. In fact, since Chinese New Year is the only time of the year when travelers get to enjoy a week-long break from work and school, there is high demand for leisure travel to nearby international destinations. According to a 2018 study published by Airbnb China, more than 70% of leisure travel during the Chinese New Year holiday is for international destinations, and the top five cities Chinese users travel to are Tokyo, Kyoto, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Bangkok — all of which are within a few hours flight time. It indicates that users are taking the advantage of this week-long break to indulge in fun adventures with families in nearby international destinations.

These are just three of the early booking trends that we’ve noticed with metasearch campaigns in the days leading up to the Chinese New Year. If you are interested in APAC travel trends, there is more to come! Enter your email below to receive the latest articles and updates from us directly in your inbox.