Personalization or privacy: The Southeast Asian travelers’ paradox to sharing their data?

Karun Budhraja

Vice President, Corporate Marketing & Communications, Amadeus Asia Pacific

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It’s easy to forget just how big Southeast Asia is when it sits next to behemoths like China and India. But as home to more than 641 million people, or 8.5% of the world’s population, it deserves its own place in the spotlight. Throw in rising disposable incomes and a growing appetite to explore the world, it’s about time travel players start paying close attention to them in this up and coming region.


We put several countries in Southeast Asia under the magnifying glass for our landmark Journey of Me Insights research. We looked at how they want to travel, and what drives their behaviors. We know that travelers today want personalized journeys, but are Southeast Asian travelers willing to trade data for greater personalization? Here’s what we found:


With a population of more than 261 million people, Indonesia is a powerhouse in its own right. Their travelers are tech-savvy and mobile-driven, and also incredibly open to sharing their data for greater personalization. In fact, Indonesian travelers are the most open in the region to sharing personal data for more relevant offers and personalized experiences, with 79% saying they would do so.


Malaysian travelers on the other hand, are more careful when it comes to sharing personal information. While 57% say they are open, only 8% of them would be ‘very open’.


The second most populous country and the fastest growing in Southeast Asia. Filipino travelers are slightly more cautious when it comes to sharing their personal information. We found that 61% of Filipino travelers would be open to sharing their personal data, slightly lower than the Asia Pacific average of 64%. They are also more likely to rely on their own friends and family to give them relevant recommendations, rather than travel service providers.


Amongst all Southeast Asian travelers, Singaporeans are the most cautious. Only 53% say they would be willing to share data with travel providers, but that’s still more than half. Interestingly, female travelers from Singapore tend to be more careful, with only 48% open to sharing compared to 59% of male Singaporean travelers.


Thailand has always been successful in drawing travelers from all over the world, but what do Thai travelers want when they travel? Like the Indonesians, Thai travelers (79%) are incredibly open to sharing their personal information with travel service providers. A fun fact: Almost half of all of Thai respondents said they prefer to receive updates and recommendations about their trip through social media.


With GDP per capita growth that has been among the fastestin the world, Vietnamese travelers are emerging as a force to be reckoned with. Interestingly, they are quite open to sharing their personal information with travel providers, with 71% described as ‘somewhat’ or ‘very open’.

What can we learn from these findings? No two countries in Southeast Asia are the same and when it comes to personalization and privacy, the mandate is clear – travel players will need to respect and protect personal data and the need for privacy at all times. And above and beyond adhering to legislation, they must be able to articulate ‘what’s the value?’ to get travelers to share their data.

These findings are just the tip of the iceberg and there’s plenty more to learn about Southeast Asian travelers. For more insights and to see the methodology behind the research – you can get all of the Journey of Me Insights reports here.


Asia Pacific, Research