Monday, July 29, 2013

76% Indians use multiple devices for travel planning: Google study

'76% use multiple devices for travel planning'
With the mobile phone having become an integral part of our lives, about 76 per cent Indians are using two devices - usually, a personal computer and a smartphone - while planning  a trip. Around 32 per cent of the queries relating to travel come from mobiles and tablets. The advent of this 'multi-screen traveller' has been noted in a study conducted by IPSOS for Google India.

India has over 150 million internet users, of whom 93 million are now accessing the web using mobile devices. According to Google, 49 million of these mobile devices are smartphones.

In-depth interviews with over 1,500 respondents in the 20 to 45 age group across cities in India showed that over 60 per cent of travel bookings were influenced by something seen on the mobile. Vikas Agnihotri, director of Travel & BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance) at Google India, explained the five stages of travel as dreaming, researching, booking, experience and travel.

Interestingly, the study discovered that while there were an average of 5.1 triggers for travel online, there were just two offline. As many as 88 per cent started dreaming of a holiday after seeing a picture online.

A startling discovery was the fact that despite the increasing influence of the mobile, about 60 per cent of respondents chose to go back to a computer to make the actual booking.

More and more Indians are shifting their research for flights, hotels, rail travel and cabs online, though the computer still holds the sway here with at least 4.2 elements being researched here in comparison with just 3.5 on mobile and 3.6 on the tablets. As many as 72 per cent searched online for exploratory elements like places of interest and restaurants in places they were planning to go to.

As expected, in the entire travel experience, it is flights which are the most booked online, 79 per cent of all reservations, a conversion rate of 92 per cent from research. Accommodation is next at 49 per cent, with a conversion rate of 88 per cent. While more than two elements are booked on the computer, the smartphone is used only for booking one element at the moment. Up to 79 per cent said this was because they were put off by security issues and 54 per cent found it inconvenient.

So while nine per cent respondents researched only on mobile, just 58 per cent of them made their booking using this device. In comparison, all the seven per cent respondents who researched on the tablet made their bookings also using the tablet. This could be attributed to the larger screen of the tablet which makes its use more convenient.

Experiencing the tour is one area where the bulky computer has no role and the mobile pips the tablet as the chosen device for 89 per cent of the respondents. As many as 74 per cent of the respondents used the mobile to share their experiences on social networks while on holiday. About 47 per cent did so using the tablet. However, all the three devices are used almost equally when it comes to sharing these experiences after the trip.

In the not so distant future, the study estimates that apps will make life easier for the multi-screen traveler. Even now, 67 per cent of mobile and 70 per cent of tablet users prefer apps because they save details making the purchase easier.

One interesting takeaway of the survey is that a tenth of the travellers queried started planning their next trip just after the one they took.

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