How Will the Internet Revitalize Tourism and Travel Across Malaysia?
Tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in Malaysia. It has grown exponentially to become the third most crucial contributor to the Malaysian economy. The growing numbers of tourism receipts have turned out to be critical drivers for social-economic development in the country. Malaysia offers everything that travellers seek, including natural beauty, amusement parks, world-class shopping malls and accommodation, and historical sites.
Unfortunately, the pandemic caused adverse effects to the sector, halting travel and causing the closure of hotels. Besides, many governments put strict travel restrictions that saw tourists to Malaysia cancel their travel and holiday plans. In addition, the domestic tourism sector also plunged because of the Movement Control Orders.
Luckily, the tourism sector is on a path to recovery, thanks to the internet and technology. With the government encouraging tourism firms to embrace digital technology-based tourism to keep the industry competitive and vaccine rollouts seeing a return to the norm, companies will need to begin embracing new ways of reaching out to their target audiences, disaster proofing themselves for possible future incidents while maintaining steady revenue to keep afloat.
The Role of the Internet in Tourism in Malaysia
The internet has changed the face of communication and how companies conduct business. In the tourism sector specifically, it has brought unprecedented opportunities by allowing tourism companies to promote their services locally. For example, both the government and private sector can better communicate with the end-users who are potential tourists. On the other hand, tourists can access more travel information to help them plan their visits to different areas in the country.
Tourism promoters can market travel products and services online, reaching a large population than they previously could while using other forms of advertising. This is possible because there are currently approximately 29 million internet users in Malaysia. Besides, internet marketing is influenced by lower costs, value proposition, and ease of comparison among competitor sites.
In researching travel destinations, many travellers in Malaysia have turned to the internet instead of the traditional format of visiting a tour agency. As of August 2020, the most popular destination research platforms were Booking.com, Agoda, and Airbnb. Agoda took the lead, with 69% of internet users booking their travel accommodation through the channel.
A survey conducted by TNS Research in partnership with Google Malaysia shows that nine out of 10 Malaysian travellers search for hotel accommodation online. In addition, 50% of travellers are likely to book accommodation through online platforms.
The Internet Provides Accommodation Alternatives
Social media has played a significant role in influencing decision-making among consumers within the tourism industry. Consumer planning for accommodation and travel-related products is based on what is available on social media and other sites of influence. There is a lot of travel information being disseminated through these platforms and which shape travellers’ decisions. And with 90% of internet users in Malaysia having access to social media platforms, it’s clear why companies are embracing it for marketing their specialties.
One concept that has recently gained popularity as a result of social media influence is the Airbnb service. Airbnb is a platform that travellers looking for accommodation can access online and make reservations. They can use the available filters to find the accommodation that best suits their needs.
The service connects guests looking for a place to stay with hosts renting out their homes. It has a chat feature that allows the two parties to communicate in real-time. Airbnb is an invention that has provided an opportunity for homeowners with some free space to rent out to monetize their homes.
In Malaysia, Airbnb is a thriving sector that has already collaborated with the government on tax collection. The initial efforts are focused on discussing the tourism levy. As of November 2018, the listings on the platform stood at 44,000, presenting Airbnb as the fastest-growing market.
Ease of Making Travel Arrangements
Making travel arrangements can be a chore. It takes time to coordinate logistics and find the best prices through each step of the journey. Thankfully, the internet provides numerous resources where travellers can easily make simultaneous arrangements for flight bookings, desired activities, car rentals, and accommodation.
The Malaysian population of travellers has embraced online travel booking. The shift has been influenced by trustworthiness, credibility, perceived usefulness, and ease of use. Online reviews provide easily accessible information that affects travellers’ final decisions when making a booking.
It has become increasingly clear that holidaymakers are inclined to rely on the information provided by past customers on hotel services and products. This signifies the power and influence of reviews, as they can potentially be a robust marketing tool for service providers in the tourism sector.
As a result, many businesses are now starting to offer virtual spaces as online review platforms on their websites. Customers can share their experiences and opinion concerning services and products in the tourism sector. The trend is fast-growing in Malaysia, and as a result, Malaysians are more willing to spend on travel despite the economically challenging times.
The internet has revolutionized the tourism sector and made travelling across Malaysia possible at the touch of a button. Through the internet, service providers in the tourism industry can promote their products and services. They can better connect with potential clients by providing them with the information they need through various platforms. Tourism agents no longer have to wait for travellers to reach out to them. Instead, they can nudge local tourists to make a booking through effective online marketing strategies and offerings.
Additionally, travellers can look for travel destinations online without involving travelling agents or companies. Once they find a place they want to visit, they can complete their bookings online at the click of a button. Overall, there is now a better travelling experience, and people are no longer afraid to explore. Platforms like Google Maps are there to guide them and offer suggestions on the best places to visit.
As tourism starts returning to the forefront, there’s no doubt many of them will be looking to equip themselves with the latest digital innovations to recapture audiences and stay relevant in an increasingly digitized world. From the travel office to the beautiful shores of our local beaches and the bustle of the night markets of the local towns, Allo will be there for businesses and travellers alike. Contact us at Allo to learn more.