Domestic credit card companies are focusing their efforts on travel-related marketing ahead of the summer vacation season, their biggest sales opportunity of the year. It is expected that travel demand will increase as concerns over contracting COVID-19 have subsided with the accelerated pace of vaccinations. This is in contrast to last year when water parks and travel-related marketing were drastically reduced due to the pandemic.
This year, credit card companies are paying attention to Jeju because tourist demand for the island is growing amid the difficulty of traveling abroad. In fact, the number of tourists visiting Jeju Island for summer vacation this year is expected to return to pre-COVID-19 levels. Already in April of this year, the number of domestic visitors to Jeju Island reached 1.07 million, which has recovered 90% of the 1.29 million travelers in the same month last year.
According to the card industry, Shinhan, Woori, and Lotte Card have recently been launching marketing efforts related to Jeju Island one after another. In addition to events that provide benefits at hotels, water parks, restaurants, and car rentals, they are also offering specialized cards for use in Jeju to attract customers.
|▲ Shinhan Card : Hondimoang|
In March, Shinhan Card launched “Shinhan Card Hondimoang,” which provides discounts or accumulated benefits of up to 10% of consumption in Jeju Island. In Jeju dialect, “Hondimang” means “to gather in one place.” The name represents how the card combines various useful services for Jeju visitors. With a domestic annual fee of 30,000 won, this card accrues 0.2% of all payments as points, regardless of the previous month’s performance or the maximum credit. Also, when using affiliated stores in Jeju Island, up to 0.6% of points are additionally provided without a limit. You can save up to 10% when using local retail stores such as Jesco Mart, New World Mart (Martro), and Nonghyup Hanaro Mart Club within the monthly limit of 50,000 won. Moreover, it offers 10% off on public buses and accumulates 30% of costs at electric vehicle charging stations as points.
Shinhan Card is focusing not only on the regional special card but also on Jeju-related events. It is planning a special promotion that offers up to 68% discount on rooms at Marriott and Landing Halls in Jeju Shinhwa World for three days between July 24th and 27th. Guests can get 20% discount at Shinhwa Water Park and up to 20% off at directly managed restaurants.
|▲ Woori Card : Uni Mile in Jeju|
Woori Card is introducing “The Standard of Cards: Uni Mile in Jeju,” targeting Jeju Island travelers. This card, with an annual fee of 15,000 won, provides a 5% discount on airfare, accommodation, admission tickets to museums, exhibitions, leisure, and sports activities, and dining when making payments via the dedicated website. When booking flight tickets to Jeju, ticketing fees for the customer and one companion are exempted, and 5 kg of excess checked baggage at low-cost airlines can be added for free.
There is also the benefit of accumulating Unimile, an integrated mileage system for low-cost airlines. Points are accrued at 3% for low-cost airlines and 2% at duty-free shops. These points can be used to purchase low-cost airline tickets or to pay for services.
If you are planning your summer vacation in June or September to avoid the peak season between July and August, you can enjoy rental car service for free. Once a month, if you use a rental car for 72 hours consecutively, 48 hours are provided free of charge. If you use the car for more than 48 hours continuously, you can use the rental car for free for 24 hours.
Woori also offers a cashback promotion aimed at duty-free shoppers. Woori Card will return 18,000, 55,000, and 100,000 won to customers who pay more than 200,000, 500,000, and 1 million won by July 30th at the HDC Shilla Duty Free’s online mall. At Shinsegae Duty Free’s Gangnam and Busan stores, cashback of 15,000 won, 30,000 won, and 100,000 won will be given to customers who spend more than 300,000 won, 600,000 won, and 1.2 million won, respectively.
Lotte Card is running an event where customers can get deals for paying for a rental car in Jeju Island on the Lotte Card Travel website this month. Customers can also enjoy cafés in Jeju for free once every 3 hours when driving a rental car.
Card companies are targeting Jeju island travelers because this year’s summer vacation trends are expected to be different from last year’s. Last year, in the aftermath of COVID-19, leisure activities such as staycations mainly took place indoors, but this year, the industry predicts that the demand for outdoor activities will increase.
Furthermore, the consumer sentiment index recently rose to an all-time high, backing the prospect that wallets will open during the summer vacation season. Last month, the Consumer Composite Sentiment Index (CCSI) hit its highest level in two years and 11 months. According to the Consumer Trend Survey Results for May released by the Bank of Korea, the consumer sentiment index was 105.2, up 3.0 points from the previous month. It is the highest level since June 2018 (106.3) and surpassed the rate in January 2020 (104.8) before the COVID-19 crisis.
Actual card approval performance also recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels. According to the Credit Finance Association, credit card approvals in April this year reached 81.3 trillion won, up 18.3% from the same month last year. This is significantly higher than the level recorded in February 2020 (65.2 trillion won), before the impact of the coronavirus was reflected.
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