A surprising 98 percent of Indian travellers comment about their interests online, says a new survey that has found that travellers from Asia-Pacific countries are both the most enthusiastic about social media and the most attached to their mobile devices in the world.
Text100′s Travel & Tourism study finds APAC tourism industry must offer more integrated communications to innovation-hungry consumers.
Based on 4600 respondents in 13 countries, the study suggests that Asia-Pacific consumers lead the way in using social media to inspire, purchase and share their travel experiences. 72 per cent of travellers from Asia-Pacific countries have used social media to inspire at least one element of their recent holidays, compared to only 51 per cent of travellers globally. That enthusiasm has only been partially sated by the tourism industry: 61 per cent of Asia-Pacific travellers said they would use social media more if they had access to free WiFi at their destinations, for example.
Despite this appetite for digital communication, many Asia-Pacific consumers still base travel decisions on more traditional sources of influence. 48 per cent say traditional travel agents still help in planning their holidays, while 57 per cent are influenced by travel TV programmes. Loyalty programs and deal websites are the least influential factors when it comes to making travel decisions.
“Widespread Asia-Pacific enthusiasm for social media is definitely not a signal for the travel industry to invest solely in digital,” said Anne Costello, Text100’s Regional Director, APAC. “Travel and tourism operators need to integrate their traditional and new communications channels, but more importantly they need to focus on delivering content which their customers actually want to receive. Standalone promotions and loyalty programs, for example, don’t seem to be resonating with consumers any longer; they need to be part of an integrated communications approach.”
The Asia-Pacific region’s enthusiasm as digital early adopters also extends to how travellers use technology. 89 per cent of Asia-Pacific travellers use travel apps on their smartphones or tablets while on holiday, primarily for information about local attractions and finding their way around. This “always-on” tendency, however, means that Asia-Pacific travellers find it harder to switch off on holiday than any others: 34 per cent use their mobile devices to do work while on holiday, compared to a global average of 22 per cent.
“The presence of the mobile device is quietly but dramatically changing how we behave when we travel,” said Costello. “As the fastest adopters of digital technology when it comes to travel, Asia-Pacific consumers are experiencing more benefits and challenges alike than the rest of the world. As a result, these tech-savvy travellers feel the travel industry needs to do more to keep up with their fast-growing reliance on the mobile device and social media as part of the overall travel experience.”
“Travel and tourism operators need to be thinking more about what their customers expect out of their holidays, where they turn to for relevant information, and how they connect with their friends and family as the number one source of influence on travel decisions. Integrated communications strategies are a must, but they need to be preceded by a nuanced understanding of the customer – not the other way around.”
Text100’s Digital Index: Travel and Tourism study also found that:
Asia-Pacific travellers love to talk about shopping: 48 per cent will post comments about their shopping experiences, compared to only 29 per cent of travellers globally.
China is the heaviest user of social media for holiday decisions, with 71 per cent of consumers referring to bloggers and online reviews. In Australia – the slowest adopter of social media for travel – only 30 per cent do so.
98 per cent of India’s travellers comment about their travel interests online.
69 per cent of Singaporean tourists rate relaxation as a key factor when travelling, but 34 per cent of them still check their work emails while on holiday.
Only half of Hong Kong’s travellers say independence is important in travel reviews.
Malaysian tourists are more likely to value eco-tourism than the rest of the world: 38 per cent consider it when choosing locations, compared to 15 per cent globally.