As the average global traveller is spending more time with gadgets for travel planning, a survey reveals the increased digital penetration among Indian travellers.
Sitting at home, in the comfort of the familiar couch, popcorn in one hand, the phone in another, the everyday Indian enjoys their daily dosage of on-screen drama. Seeing an exotic location, in an even exotic film, suddenly brings forth the hidden desire to visit the place. While humming the theme song of the now paused film, he takes out his smartphone and checks for flight rates in Google.
With the above becoming the common scenario in every other Indian household, it is not surprising that a survey has revealed that Indians are the biggest users of digital assets of travel globally. The survey, originally conducted by Travelport for the running year was aimed to ascertain the digital penetration among the travellers.
The Global Digital Travel Research 2017 conducted by an independent research agency for Travelport has revealed that Indian travellers top the list in terms of usage of digital tools in planning, booking and experiencing a journey at the destination among 19 top travel markets surveyed with a sample of 11,000 respondents.
The survey pegged neighbouring China at the second place and Indonesia at the third position.
Indians ahead of global average by 20 pc
The survey has revealed that 91 pc of Indian travellers used review sites to help travel research, 85 pc use price comparison sites, and 67 pc use voice search, which is a good 20 pc more than the global average usage. The findings of the survey cut across consumer engagement with different components of travel including airlines, hotels and destinations among others. While booking a trip, 51 pc of Indian travellers use smartphones to fulfil their bookings, 74 pc of Indian travellers consider digital experience important while choosing an airline, and 82 pc of Indian travellers prefer digital booking passes.
Manish Amin, Co-founder & CIO, Yatra.com, told a travel digest, “Technology has completely changed the travel landscape over the past decade, both for travellers and for companies. Online travel agents have empowered travellers by giving them the option of a wide variety of travel choices with complete transparency of pricing, all at the click of a button at their convenience. Yatra is very focused on rapid technological innovations and advancements. To ease the booking process, we have launched multiple features like – a Facebook chatbot to enable booking tickets, a self-serve platform to address customer queries, a marketplace chat platform to enable travellers to chat in real time with the sellers and also integrated with TrueCaller for easy on-boarding and verification process.”
As far as hotels are concerned, 66 pc of the Indian consumers consider digital experience key influencer in selecting a hotel while 69 pc reportedly avoid hotels that charge for WiFi. 60 pc prefer mobile check-ins instead of conventional reception oriented check-ins. While at destinations, 83 pc of Indians want to be connected with friends and families, and they use 19 different categories of apps, which is higher than any other nationality.
Asia Pacific (APAC) travellers are top of the global league of digital travellers as per the survey. APAC travellers use even more apps than that are used globally. China topped the charts for app users with an average of nearly 20 categories used for each trip compared to 19 by Indian travellers.
Commenting on the survey, Rabih Saab, President & MD, EMEA, Travelport, stated, that the company does commission surveys regularly, but this is the first one on the digital trends of the modern traveller. He said that the results of the survey were on expected lines considering fast-growing penetration of smartphone users in India and a growing aspirational middle-class population in the country. “They are highly technology savvy and are much more demanding compared to other travellers,” Saab added.