Excuse Me, What’s Your Discomfort Zone?
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Monday, 20th March 2023

You couldn’t ask for a more comfortable start to the year than the one Booking-com just had – in January 2023, room nights booked hit 95 million, surpassing the previous record set in May by more than 10 million.

The 95 million room nights was 16% higher than January 2019.

That came on top of a strong fourth quarter 2022 in which room nights were up 10%, with the improvement largely driven by Asia. That helped the company achieve 900m room nights booked, an improvement of 52% versus 2021 and 6% higher than in 2019.

Laura Houldsworth: “We went from zero to revenge.”

That glowing report card was shared by Laura Houldsworth, managing director, Asia Pacific, Booking.com at a media event in Singapore this week in which she said, “We went from zero to revenge.”

And while there are uncertainties out there – socio-economic, political, climate change – Booking.com is certainly in the very comfortable position of calling out future traveller trends as it seeks to reimagine travel in 2023.

The company commissioned extensive research with more than 24,000 travellers across 32 countries and territories, to reveal seven emerging travel predictions in what it calls the creative reimagination of travel.

At the event, Houldsworth called out three trends she said were of particular interest in Asia Pacific.

Delight in the Discomfort zone – Kota Kinabalu trending, along with alien spotting
“Fifty seven percent want to go fully out of their comfort zone, to be fully immersive, perhaps in a different language or setting,” she said.

As for what would be her discomfort zone, she said, “I’m not sure I’m one who wants to delight in discomfort but for culture shock I would like to experience more of Africa, I’ve only been to South Africa and would love to see and feel more.”

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