23 November 2016

Affluent Southeast Asians sticking to regional travel

According to the UOB Affluent Consumer Survey 2016*, travel is a significant part of the lifestyle s of affluent Southeast Asians. On average, more than nine in 10 of the respondents from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand go overseas on holiday at least once a year.

Yet, in the light of slow global economic growth and as their financial considerations grow more pronounced, well-heeled travellers are opting to holiday within the region. The survey found that more than six in 10 polled have chosen Asian destinations for their vacations. In fact, Asian countries, with the exception of Australia, have been the top five travel destinations in the past 12 months.

Francis Tan, UOB Economist, noted that Asian countries benefit from Southeast Asian travellers who are looking to keep within a travel budget as well as increased intra-regional air connectivity. “Given the weak regional currencies, Southeast Asians with a yen for travel could be choosing Asian destinations to maximise their purchasing power. This is aided by the increasing number of flights within the region, resulting in more competitively-priced flights to these destinations,” he said.

The survey also found that travel expenses are a top consideration for respondents when planning their next holiday destination. Jacquelyn Tan, Managing Director and Regional Head of Cards and Payments, UOB, said that to stay relevant in serving the affluent Southeast Asian population, businesses must provide cost-efficient products and solutions that suit travellers' needs today. “From credit cards such as the UOB PRVI Miles that help customers earn frequent flyer miles faster to travel deals, wealthy customers in the region want products and services that can meet their lifestyle needs and this includes their travel habits.

“To match the travel expectations of the affluent in Southeast Asia, we have embarked on regional partnerships with strategic travel-related brands to strengthen our offers to these customers. These partnerships continue to enhance our suite of offerings as we increase our market share in this segment,” said Ms Tan.

To meet its regional cards growth ambitions, UOB has partnered established names in the travel sector such as Singapore Airlines and Kaligo, a booking site, for the Bank’s first-ever region-wide travel campaign. The campaign aims to help customers stretch their vacation dollar. With Singapore Airlines, UOB cardmembers across the region stand a chance to receive up to 60,000 KrisFlyer miles** which can be redeemed for a round-trip ticket to London or Los Angeles by spending S$300 in a single receipt***.

UOB is also giving away a n equivalent of 10 million KrisFlyer miles in total until 31 January 2017 which can also be redeemed for SilkAir, Scoot and Tigerair flights. This means that customers will be able to derive more value out of their year-end shopping and travelling, which is traditionally when they spend the most****.

Earlier this year, UOB also introduced the UOB Privileges Passport, a regional rewards programme that offers cardmembers access to exclusive local benefits while travelling in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. For example, through partnerships with premier shopping malls such as Bangkok’s Siam Paragon, Siam Centre, The Emporium Thailand and EmQuartier, a Singapore cardmember can enjoy the same suite of benefits and rewards available to a Thai-issued UOB credit card.

Ms Tan added, “As Southeast Asia’s affluent continue to strike a balance between their wanderlust and their economic sensibilities, we anticipate that intra-regional travels will continue to grow among this segment. As such, we will continue to explore partnerships with relevant brands to ensure a robust suite of regional offerings that are relevant to our customers.”

*The UOB Affluent Consumer Survey 2016 polled 2,030 respondents aged 25 years and above with a minimum assets under management of S$150,000 from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. 

**Customers will be given the equivalent of KrisFlyer miles won in UNI$, a type of bonus point used for UOB credit cards.

***This is part of UOB’s first-ever regional year-end campaign. From November to January 2017, customers can win over 10 million Krisflyer miles that are up for grabs as well as more than 500,000 prizes, including flights to popular destinations like Bali and Tokyo.

****Source: UOB card data