Let’s travel together.

Social networking key influencer for Indian travellers PhoCusWright survey

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PhoCusWright recently conducted an online event ‘Upward and Onward: PhoCusWright’s India Consumer Travel’ that brought forth key findings from PhoCusWright’s APAC Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition (India) and PhoCusWright India Consumer Travel Report. The discussion focused on interesting aspects of the online travel market, the profile of the traveller, how much they travel, what motivates their destination selection, how much they spend, how they share their travel experiences, impact of social media and growing significance of smart phone users, etc.

For the survey the sample comprised of 2500 respondents from tier-I and tier II cities. For domestic segment the travellers were from Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru (women), while international travellers were from Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. Of the sample only 12 per cent took international trips, of these 42 per cent travelled to South East Asia, seven per cent went to neighbouring countries. Outside of Asia, US and Europe are the most popular destinations. Indians also book more travel components and spend more.

The survey revealed that most leisure travel is selected independently – almost 60 per cent. 23 per cent visit family and friends and 20 per cent visit religious sites, which is a very important part of the travel market. Indians also mostly preferred to travel on their own (34 per cent) or with group of friends (33 per cent). Almost 58 per cent of travellers took one leisure trip in a year. The motivation to travel is driven by holiday from work (65 per cent), while 46 per cent preferred to spend time with family and friends.

Only one-third of those surveyed did online booking, while 25 per cent opted for both online and offline modes. The percentage of offline booking increased with age, while for online there was only minimal decline. Almost 33 per cent went to travel providers to do offline booking, the main driving factor being personalised service.

Social networks being a key influencer, as many as 40 per cent took advice from their friends on social networking sites on what products to purchase, while 29 per cent take advice on destination selection. Recommendation from family and friends is in fact the key criteria for destination selection. Mumbai topped the list of domestic destination (20 per cent) followed by Delhi (14 per cent), Goa came a close third at 12 per cent.

It is interesting to note that most Indian travellers continue to believe that if they walk into a hotel they can negotiate better than doing prior online booking. Cash is still the popular payment method, however the travellers surveyed were comfortable with credit cards.

Also use of social networks vary from the US and Europe. “There has been some activity by telecom operators to drive consumers to social networks to interact with travel providers, maybe we will see this in the future in the US and Europe,” said Julien Beresford, senior research analyst PhoCusWright who was one of the presenters along with Deepak Jain, research associate, PhoCusWright. The web event was moderated by Douglas Quinby, senior director, Research, PhoCusWright.