Holidays are the most valued things in terms of how people spend their time and money, with some 39% of people in Asia Pacific saying they enjoy exploring other cultures overseas, according to research conducted by YouGov for the global Priority Pass airport experience programme. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

Surveying over 3,000 people in Australia, China and South Korea, and more than 10,000 globally, the data shows that respondents in APAC all overwhelmingly value shared experiences - which manifests most clearly in the form of holidays. For example, the study found that:

  • When it comes to their favourite activities, most people in APAC enjoy long-stay holiday overseas, with 39% enjoy exploring other cultures abroad
  • Additionally, 18% enjoy solo travel, 15% enjoy overseas wellness and spa holidays, and 11% enjoy overseas sporting trips
  • In the average year, 51% of Australians enjoy taking cultural holiday overseas, higher than 38% of South Koreans and 26% of Chinese
  • 44% of people like to holiday at home and enjoy domestic short breaks
  • Only 18% enjoy buying luxury items
  • People like taking domestic short breaks, with nearly half of South Koreans and Australians particularly enjoying them at 47% and 49% respectively.

In fact, travel topped the table of their favourite activities with near a fifth (17%) of people in APAC saying they most enjoyed a cultural trip abroad. This was reflected in spending, with people splashing out an average of US$1,437 a year on getting away from it all. This was higher than any other activity and almost more than 50% on what they spent on luxury items, which rung up an average of US$942 annually.

"Globalisation and increased competition in the travel industry had propelled consumer demand for domestic and international travel experiences," said Kevin Goldmintz, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific at Collinson, the operator of Priority Pass. "I have not been surprised by the rise of experiential travel and people wanting to travel better, on a deeper emotional level. One of the biggest shifts has been the demand from travellers for a more personalised and customer-centric experience, and they expect that experience starts even before they get to their holiday destination."

This has also involved increasing demand for exclusive airport lounge facilities, access to quality restaurants within the airport precinct and luxury services such as massage and gym facilities. The statistics suggest that experience is definitely king, particularly where experiences can be shared.

"Consumer behaviour is changing. Those companies that are able to offer products and services which respond to the growing investment in the currency of experience will reap the rewards when it comes to customer loyalty," added Goldmintz.

When it comes to having the ability to share experiences:

  • Eating out was the most popular activity regionally (56%)
  • 52% enjoy trips to the cinema
  • 22% enjoy watching live sports events while 19% enjoy health and beauty services (massages, manicures etc.)

While they are certainly popular experiences, holidays are not the only experiences consumers said they enjoy. Around one-fifth of respondents in APAC said they enjoy indulging in health and beauty services (19%) and watching live sports events (22%), while 52% said they like going to the cinema. And at the top of the experiences table, 56% of people across the Asia-Pacific region said they enjoy going out for a meal.

The results suggest that a shared social experience is key to people's enjoyment, and social media use also adds to the perception of value of an experience. For example, travel for leisure and a trip to the cinema are the activities that were most likely to post about on social media (37% and 33%, respectively) compared to more solitary activities like a fitness session at the gym (13%) or buying luxury items (11%).

And when asked what they'd spend a US$300 cash gift on, almost a quarter of people (23%) in APAC would put it towards a trip away, which is the same percentage globally, while 16% regionally would pay for a special meal with friends and family - in fact, this was the most popular answer in South Korea (24%).

Age really is just a number
More than one-third of APAC respondents across all the surveyed age groups said they value 'cultural holidays' overseas - specifically:

  • 25-34s enjoy city breaks abroad the most (28%) closely followed by 35-44s (26%)
  • Almost one-fifth (18%) enjoy solo travel abroad across the surveyed age group
  • More than one-fifth (22%) of 25-34s enjoy attending live events, which is the same as the over 55s (22%)

The study found that holidays focusing on cultural activities, in particular, are valued across the board regionally: 36% of 18-24s, 34% of 25-34s, 38% of 35-44s, and 37% of 45-54s say going on a cultural holiday abroad is their favourite activity, compared to 45% of over-55-year-olds, which is the highest percentage across the surveyed age groups.

According to the results, 25-34s were most likely to enjoy an international city break (28%), and nearly a quarter of 18-24s (24%) and a fifth of over-55s (18%) were fond of them too. Almost a fifth (18%) of people enjoy travelling alone and this was reflected in spending, with people splashing out an average of US$1,200 a year on solo travel. This was a third more than what they spend on luxury items, which rung up an average of US$900 annually.