That headline is just a taste of the buying power behind the Singles Day shopping holiday, which should be on the radar of all hotel and travel companies.
In case you missed it, Monday was Singles Day. Yep, that’s right, just the world’s largest shopping day, coming in at four times the size of popular U.S. shopping holiday Black Friday.
If this is the first you’ve heard of Singles Day, well, pull up a chair. The holiday originated in China among university students who wanted a day to equal parts celebrate and lament their single status. So they chose 11 November, because all those ones represent single people. I’m not sure whether that’s cute or depressing.
In the grand tradition of holidays around the world, what started as a fun day of celebration quickly morphed into a giant shopping opportunity. Chinese online retailer Alibaba broke records this year, doing more than $38 billion in sales in the 24-hour period. To give you some context, most reports show Amazon Prime Day sales in July were around $6.2 billion.
And it’s not just fast cars and fast phones people are buying to drown their singlehood woes—it’s travel, too. Alibaba’s travel arms, Ctrip and Fliggy, are on board, selling special discounted travel itineraries. And in 2018, Alibaba-owned Tmall sold 350,000 roomnights at Marriott International, Hilton, Hyatt Hotels Corporation and InterContinental Hotels Group hotels.
And of course, companies are hitching their wagons to the Singles Day star, rolling out their own travel promotions and sales independent from the Asian retail giants.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts had a 24-hour Singles Day promo for 100 hotels in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Regional hotel chains, discount airlines and tour operators also got in on the fray.
The holiday primarily focuses on Asian shoppers and destinations right now, but do we really think retail deals in an online environment can be contained to just one geographic region? Give this a year or two and we’ll be celebrating this in a big way here in the U.S. After all, we singles have more disposable income and can buy whatever we want without having to run it by a spouse or partner. Travel, including hotel nights and full travel packages, are a great way to target this group of shoppers, because regardless of whether you view singledom as a blessing or a curse, we generally have more freedom (and sometimes more money!) to travel.
No wonder this is a retail gold mine. Now if only I could get a Singles Day deal on a carrying-grocery-bags-in-from-the-car service …
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