In Focus

Advent of the Indian Digital Traveller

Travelport recently published the results of a Global Traveller Survey of 11,000 people worldwide that highlights the use of digital tools when planning, booking and experiencing a journey. The report also includes the world’s first Digital Traveller Rankings, with India crowned champions as the country with the most digitally-advanced travellers

infocus-1The standings are based on a combination of the main indicators of digital usage for travel-related purposes by travellers in each country. Gordon Wilson, president and CEO, Travelport, commented, “These findings demonstrate the significance of digital tools for travellers before and during their journeys. They highlight the need for the $7.6 trillion global travel and hospitality industry to adapt continually to provide responsive, relevant and timely services for customers. ”

Most of us would feel lost without our smartphones, though we might not use them for all the phases of a trip, but the Indians are the world champions of digital travel. They clearly love the convenience of their smartphones and use them often, from booking a trip to boarding a plane with a digital boarding pass.

Asia Pacific travellers are top of the global league with India, China and Indonesia in the top three. While researching, the majority of Asia Pacific business (82 per cent) and leisure travellers (71 per cent) use social media photos and videos from friends and travel brands. Almost half of them (46 per cent) have booked a trip using their mobile, so they all seem comfortable with technology.

Digital trust dilemma

The majority of Asia Pacific travellers (80 per cent) consult with travel professionals to help with the planning. Chinese travellers (88 per cent) turn to these professionals as the first point of call to handle booking and travel arrangements. This preference for a human interface may be due to the type of holiday they take, or it may simply be that they feel more secure with a professional to help them with different languages and cultures.

India – top of the digital league table

infocus-2India is the most digitally-advanced traveller nation. Given its thriving online travel agency, hospitality and airline sectors combined with extensive smartphone use, this is not surprising. It ranks first in the league table of countries surveyed, ahead of its Asia Pacific counterparts, China and Indonesia. This is also true when researching travel, as 67 per cent of Indian travellers use voice search. They also spend a considerable amount of time looking for a good deal, using price comparison sites to help them find it (85 per cent). Interestingly, almost all Indian travellers use review sites to help with the research (91 per cent), even though nearly half of them worry about whether you can trust the reviews (52 per cent). This enthusiasm for technology resonates when it comes to researching and booking, with 71 per cent using their smartphone.

As you would expect, Indian travellers choose a hotel primarily for the location (82 per cent) and cost. Yet the need to be always connected is influencing hotel choice with 75 per cent of travellers choosing hotels that don’t charge for Wi-Fi.

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