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'98 percent of Indian travellers comment about their interests online'

Posted on Nov 29, 10:32PM | IANS

A staggering 98 percent of Indian travellers comment about their interests online, says a new survey that has found that Asia-Pacific travellers want more social media and can't go on holiday without their smartphones and laptops

Text100's Travel and Tourism study finds APAC tourism industry must offer more integrated communications to innovation-hungry consumers.

Based on 4,600 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.

"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," Costello added.

The Asia-Pacific region's enthusiasm as digital early adopters also extends to how travellers use technology. Eighty-nine 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 percent 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."

Seventy-two percent 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," a statement said.

Despite this appetite for digital communication, many Asia-Pacific consumers still base travel decisions on more traditional sources of influence. Forty-eight 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.