There has been a change in the main decision-making process for traveling. 'When' is becoming more important than 'Where' in both domestic and overseas travels, and this is particularly prominent for the domestic travel. While domestic travelers decided upon accommodation and transportation 6 days after they made up their mind on 'when' and 'where', outbound travelers tended to spend a much longer searching period of 1 month.
■ Domestic travel: In the 2018 survey, among the respondents who planned overnight trips within next 3 months, 37% of them answered that they had booked their accommodation and transportation, 25% of them had decided only on 'when' to travel, 24% on both When & Where to travel, and 13% of them on destinations only[Image 1-1].
Notably, the importance of 'When' is growing. In 2016, 18% of the respondents said they decided only on 'When' to travel, but after 2 years it increased by 7% points to 25%. On the other hand, respondents who booked accommodation/transportation and decided when&where to travel declined by 4% points, respectively. This shows that the decision on 'When' is more preferential than 'Where'. The decision point of 'When' and 'Where' to travel was made at a similar time, before 43 days and 42 days after the survey, respectively, and accommodation/transportation booking was made 32 days prior to the travel departure. There was about 10 days of researching time between decisions on When/Where and bookings[Image 1-2].
■ Overseas travel: Overseas travel may seem similar to the domestic travel but is somewhat different when it is looked into in detail. In the 2018 study, among the respondents who planned overseas trip within next 6 months, 40% of them had booked both accommodation and transportation, 22% decided on When & Where and only on When to travel, respectively, and 17% of them decided just Where to travel[Image 2-1]. Compared to the domestic travel, the importance of destination was higher, but deciding When to go increased by 5% points over the past couple of years, showing that its importance is growing.
The departure time was long 86 days after the survey on average but it was reduced by 10 days from the 2016 average(96 days) [Image 2-2]. In 2016, there was a big difference in the points of decisions made on where and both where & when in 113 days and 102 days after the survey taken, but the gap between the same narrowed down to 99 days and 97 days, respectively, in 2018. 'When' and 'Where' which had a gap in deciding time seems to be done almost simultaneously now. Travelers who booked accommodation/transportation departed for their trips after 68 days on average, having around 1 month of time to search for their travel services/products.
It is hard to make a fair comparison between domestic and overseas travel because the survey asked about 3 months and 6 months for respective trips, but for both travels, When to travel is becoming more important than Where to travel, and the research time is reducing. As travelers' experience is growing and travel product/service purchasing is becoming easier, this change is likely to continue. Therefore, strategies to market travelers in a timely manner need to be in place, considering consumers' changing travel behaviors.
[Image1] Domestic travel planning level and the preparation period
[Image2] Overseas travel planning level and the preparation period