Hailing from a country that’s tropical, where natural snowfall isn’t a typical occurrence, it comes as no surprise that Malaysians enjoy going on “snow holidays” in colder countries.
Malaysia was among seven Asia Pacific (APAC) markets, which also included China Mainland, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, that were recently studied by Club Med about their travel motivation for snow holidays.
The survey, involving over 3,500 respondents across the seven markets, took a look at key considerations and trends that drove the demand for holidays in snowy destinations.
“Besides providing valuable data and proof points that define preferences of travellers while planning their snow holidays, this study validated our Mountain strategy and how premium all-inclusive experiences perfectly align with travellers’ needs for a memorable winter holiday,” said Rachael Harding, CEO of Club Med in East, South Asia and Pacific Markets, in a statement.
Through the survey, six key findings on APAC travellers’ snow holidays preferences were identified.
The first is what they want out of their trips. Winter sports and snow-covered landscapes are cited as primary motivators by more than half of respondents. As many as 45% seek to escape their monotonous daily lives, while 30% wish to explore new cuisines and cultures.
Snow holiday enthusiasts also look forward to additional services such as local excursions, spa treatments, local delicacies and convenient ski gear rentals.
The expected travel duration for their snow holidays is, on average, eight days when staying at APAC resorts and 12 days when spending time in Europe.
Secondly, destination plays an important role. Japan takes the top spot as the most popular snow holiday destination; 40% of respondents chose the country as one of their top two. Placing a close second is Switzerland (39%), and third is Canada (27%). In fourth place is China Mainland (24%), driven largely by the domestic market, along with Hong Kong and Taiwan markets.
How travellers determine their chosen destination is by identifying whether it boasts a wide range of winter activities. Looking for appropriate accommodation and taking into account the current weather conditions are also crucial.
Thirdly, thrilling snow sports are a primary appeal, as confirmed by 54% of the respondents. Travellers aged 25 to 44 additionally believe that snow sports enhance their projection of a successful image.
Travellers from Japan (95%) and South Korea (90%) showed high levels of experience in skiing and/or snowboarding. Skiing largely is the more popular winter sport between the two, though three in four respondents surveyed have indicated experience in either, or both.
The fourth key finding is the planning and booking of accommodations. Over 68% of the respondents prefer to stay in hotels and resorts, with higher preference for the latter among families with kids.
APAC travellers typically start planning three to four months ahead, except for travellers from Malaysia and Singapore who plan between four and six months in advance, and China Mainland and South Korea who plan in less than a month’s time. Almost half of their bookings are done directly on branded websites.
Inspirations for their travels are largely obtained through digital channels, social media (48%) and online travel agencies (44%), as well as family and friends’ recommendations (38%), offline travel agencies (31%), TV travel shows and channels (29%), online blogs and communities (26%) and travel/lifestyle publications (24%).
The fifth key finding is travellers’ preference for all-inclusive packages. Awareness for the “all-inclusive” term is higher among travellers with kids and is the most prominent in Hong Kong and Taiwan, with Singapore and Malaysia following closely behind.
As many as 80% of respondents agree that all-inclusive packages are more appealing. Since these packages also tend to include dining experiences, return airfares and airport pick-up service, this makes travellers value them more.
Last but not least, families appreciate the easy planning and peace of mind offered by all-inclusive packages, which translates into a stress-free snow holiday.
As for family respondents, 86% agree that they offer more convenience than buying and organising different holiday elements separately, while allowing the opportunity to enjoy different types of activities for one price.
They also offer better value than ala carte holidays, 82% of family respondents state, while 83% agree that they reduce the risk of ill-planning.
Spouse and children are the top two choices by respondents as their travel companions, illustrating the importance of family-friendly amenities and activities when it comes to snow holidays.
From this Club Med Asia Snow Report, it can be concluded that today’s travellers seek more than just access to skiing and snowboarding on their snow holidays.
They look for complete holiday packages comprising multiple facets, from comfortable accommodation to family-friendly activities. This is nothing foreign to the hospitality brand, whose 70% of clientele consists of families, thanks to its unique family-friendly approach.