Japanese Travel Trends

As we start to settle into 2016, looking at the year ahead and start daydreaming of our next holiday, it’s worth noting, or at least anticipating, which consumer trends will affect the travel market in 2016. It’s something that travel and tourism companies should definitely be considering in order to serve a truly global market. Given that Japan is the 3rd largest economy in the world and represents the 6th largest language group on the internet, let’s look in detail at travel trends in the Japanese market.

What to consider when marketing to Japanese travellers


computer mouse in miniature shopping trolleyThe Japanese e-Commerce market is known for being one of the largest in the world– in 2015 retail e-Commerce purchases amounted to just shy of $80 billion (source: Statista) and 40% of Japanese travellers have completed travel bookings solely on the Internet. So when entering a market as mature as this one, it pays to do some research.

It’s also worthwhile considering which payment method is most appropriate for your customers. In Japan, credit cards are the most common forms of payment. Your website might not be compatible with international card payments, so many foreign merchants in the Japanese market also accept payment via local convenience stores.

“Segment, Target, Position”…as the old marketing mantra goes

As many marketers will know, STP is a key aspect of any decent marketing strategy as it allows you to define your audience and sets you in good stead for targeting your products/services effectively and positioning your brand well in the eye of the consumer.

There’s been much said about the ageing population of Japan, also known as the Dankai generation, but what some travel companies haven’t realised is that this has also led to an increase in travel spend amongst this segment. The older generation is less likely to use the internet, and mainly use traditional channels to book travel –so one thing to consider is localising your offline marketing material too, not just your website. A growing number of young, unmarried Japanese men and women are shunning the traditional roles expected of them, and choosing to live with their parents and spend their disposable income on technology, travel and luxury brands.

Research carried out by Tourism Australia suggested that the top factor that Japanese tourists looked for in a holiday was “a safe a secure destination”, so there’s no point advertising an extreme sporting holiday to your Japanese market! It’s worth looking into cultural preferences to ensure that you’re marketing what your customers want to see, especially if you expect to compete with local competition.

Social media

mobile-friendly websiteNext steps, where do you market your brand? Social media is a good place to start. However, it’s worth remembering that the social networks that have brought you success and engagement in one language won’t necessarily yield the same results elsewhere. Whilst channels such as Facebook and Twitter are gaining popularity in the Japanese social media market, other platforms such as Line, an instant messaging network, and Google + have gained more traffic than other sites.

According to the ITB World Travel Trends report, Japan saw a large increase in travel bookings made via smartphone and tablet in 2015, with travellers referring to social media, review sites, and forums to plan their trips. It’s also worth remembering that Japanese mobile users spend more on app downloads than any other country, so if you’re serious about entering this market, make sure you optimise your site for mobile use.

If you’re in the travel sector or looking to expand into the Japanese market, or both, get in touch using the form below and we’ll get started on your localisation journey.

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As well as being a self-confessed language geek and baking fanatic, Fiona is the Digital Marketing Manager at Capita Translation and Interpreting. When she's not writing blogs, she often dreams of touring France one patisserie at a time.

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