New study reveals Thailand is No. 1 travel destination for Filipinos

GrabAds data shows surge in Pinoys’ overseas travel bookings.

GrabAds, the advertising arm of Southeast Asian (SEA) superapp Grab, recently released its latest SEA Travel Insights 2023 report, showing that intent to travel remains strong among Grab users from across the region.

With almost 2,000 respondents from the Philippines, the report reveals that 7 out of 10 Filipinos plan to go abroad at least once in the next 12 months. The travel bug is truly back as the report also shows that 82% of these Filipino leisure travelers intend to take more than two trips.

The report highlights the diversity of preferences, habits, and behaviors among Filipino travelers. Some of the key insights on Filipino travelers include:

1. Family first

Filipino Travelers
47% of Filipino respondents plan to travel with their spouse, while 38% are keen on traveling with their close friends.

Filipinos are eager to travel with their loved ones, with 66% of GrabAds’ respondents saying they prefer to travel with their families and relatives. This is no surprise given the close-knit nature of Filipino families—a hallmark of the country’s culture.

The study also found that 47% of respondents plan to travel with their spouse, while 38% are keen on traveling with their close friends. This suggests that Filipinos are looking to create special memories with other loved ones during their travels.

2. Traveling around Southeast Asia and beyond

Singapore as second destination of Filipino travelers
Singapore follows Thailand as the second destination Filipinos prefer.

As 7 out of 10 Filipinos eye leisure travel outside the country, certain Southeast Asian nations seem to have a distinct allure for Pinoys. At the forefront of their preferences within the SEA region is the Land of Smiles, Thailand. Singapore follows closely behind in the second spot, while Malaysia and Vietnam share the third spot, showcasing their growing appeal to Filipinos.

However, Filipinos aren’t limiting their travel plans to just SEA. East Asian neighbors Japan and South Korea emerge as the top two destinations of choice of Filipino travelers outside of SEA, securing the first and second spots, respectively. Remarkably, the United States clinches the third spot among non-SEA countries in the hearts of Filipinos.

3. Filipino travelers plan ahead

Filipinos travel ahead for their trips abroad
54% of Filipino respondents not only set a travel budget, but are also determined to stick to it.

Not one to miss a beat, Filipinos take holiday planning seriously. A majority of respondents to the GrabAds study (59%) said they typically plan international trips that take three hours or less at least one to three months in advance. This includes designing an itinerary, selecting hotels, applying for visas, and finalizing other travel essentials.

Additionally, the study found that a significant 54% of Filipino respondents not only set a travel budget, but are also determined to stick to it. This highlights the meticulous planning and financial prudence of Filipino travelers.

Amid the surging travel demand, GrabAds emphasizes that brands should seize this moment as an opportunity to transition from short-term “revenge travel” campaigns and instead focus on developing enduring strategies that cultivate long-term relationships with repeat customers.

Tapping into GrabAds’ hyperlocal insights to appeal to  Southeast Asian travelers, GrabAds can help travel brands stay ahead of these evolving travel preferences by connecting advertisers to Grab’s extensive first-party data. For example, GrabAds recently partnered with Mediabank Inc. to build a campaign for the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) to create awareness for travellers to “Discover Another Side of Japan” beyond the traditional tourist spots.

Utilizing Grab’s online-to-offline ecosystem and deep understanding of the Southeast Asian consumer, the campaign connected JTA to the user base of Grab who ranks Japan as a top international destination.

“Millions of Southeast Asians use Grab every day, creating a wealth of hyperlocal insights that enable brands and advertisers to build deep and meaningful connections with their consumers,” said Jennie Johnson, Head of Marketing at GrabAds.

“GrabAds data revealed a massive increase of 84% in international travel intent among SEA Grab users compared to just one year ago.  Last year, brands may have focused on short-term impulse campaigns based on pent-up lockdown FOMO (fear of missing out), but they now need to shift towards developing long-term relationships with savvy Southeast Asian travelers as they dream, plan, book and experience travel.”

She added: “It could be as simple as maintaining year-round communication with consumers or utilizing online to offline channels to promote the latest offers. For example, the campaign we’ve built with Media Bank Inc. for the Japan Tourism Agency utilizes our Grab fleet and app to creatively target users of our platform. At GrabAds, we look forward to working closely with travel and tourism brands to innovate and provide an exciting, dynamic travel experience for Southeast Asian jetsetters.”

The new lifestyle.