For an events-led tourism destination like Singapore, the Taylor Swift concert has been music to the coffers, errr… ears!
Taylor Swift may be singing, “You Need to Calm Down,” but fans in Asia aren’t listening. The singer’s highly anticipated Singapore tour in March is stirring up a travel storm in Southeast Asia.
Data analysis by travel technology company Amadeus reveals a substantial increase in travel searches for Singapore, the singer’s only stop in the region.
Asians are now willing to pay top dollar to travel and attend such shows. “We saw over half a million fans in the queue spending more than $1,200 on bundles, including a pair of tickets and a hotel stay,” said Sarah Wan, Klook’s general manager for Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Surge in Searches
When the pre-sale went live in July, Agoda saw a surge in searches from Thailand for accommodations — more than 100 times the normal search volume. It made Thailand the top country searching for stays in Singapore that day, followed by Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, which all saw large increases.
Agoda CEO Omri Morgenshtern wrote on LinkedIn, “Taylor Swift has all but sold out her six Singapore shows. It’s quite the event.”
Another big show is Coldplay in January. CEO and founder of Zuzu Hospitality, Vikram Malhi, said his hotel partners in Singapore are experiencing four to five times higher booking numbers during those times.
According to Amadeus, Singapore experienced an 18% average week-over-week growth in travel searches, attributed to Taylor Swift and Coldplay concert announcements. Shorter trips and weekend getaways were preferred by travelers during this period.
Klook said that when tourists attend a concert or event, their incremental in-destination spending can range from 4 to 5 times the face value of the ticket.
One target demographic driving this demand are Millenials and Gen Zs, who crave big lifetime experiences. “Our Klook Travel Pulse survey found that experiences are now the first consideration factor when planning a holiday, and we’re seeing this translate to how people look at experiences to shape their travel plans and itineraries,” Wan said.
What’s Driving Demand?
The Singapore Tourism Board supported AEG Presents Asia in bringing Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour to Singapore as the only stop in Southeast Asia. It said it has been working closely with event organizers to bring in high-quality leisure events that appeal to locals and visitors.
“Singapore’s strategic location as the gateway to Southeast Asia and strong fundamentals — our infrastructure, connectivity to the region, business culture and track record in delivering high-quality events — make us a suitable destination for hosting events,” said Ashlynn Loo, director, attractions, entertainment & tourism concept development at the Singapore Tourism Board.
Malhi said Singapore’s world-class infrastructure, boasting of one of the best airports and an extensive public transport network, makes it easily accessible for both event organizers and attendees.
Upsell Tourism Products
According to Klook’s Wan, this is just scratching the surface. The tour opens up an entirely new growth segment beyond music tourism, into mega events including concerts, festivals, and major sporting events.
Wan noted that destinations have yet to effectively upsell tourism products with these mega events, and travelers have to purchase individual elements separately.
According to Wan, the bundling of offerings on a platform, rather than selling separate tickets, holds potential in providing a seamless booking and entertainment experience and increasing tourism spending within a destination.
Offering a package that comprises concert tickets and hotel accommodations attracted more than 600,000 fans from within the region to compete for packages that were eventually sold out, noted Malhi.
“Evidently, fans are willing to travel and spend on experiences, which include concerts and events. This is especially true for the younger generation as their travel planning is purpose-driven in search of great experiences,” Malhi said.
The Labor Problem
Singapore has witnessed a surge in music tourism, but the industry has a significant challenge — a labor shortage.
Dong Limin, responsible for tourism human capital and sustainability at the Singapore Tourism Board, said the board has been taking proactive measures to address this workforce scarcity by collaborating with industry stakeholders and key organizations, including the National Trades Union Congress, Employment and Employability Institute, Workforce Singapore, and SkillsFuture Singapore.
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Photo credit: Taylor Swift's The Eras Tour will be traveling to Singapore in March. Paolo Villanueva / Wikimedia Commons