Variety

Digital experiences key to winning battle for bookings from Indian travellers

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on November 30, 2019 Published on November 30, 2019

Indian millenials eager for personalised services

The standard of digital experience offered by airlines, hotels and travel agents now carries significant influence over the booking decisions of young Indian travellers, with millennials seeking a premium digital experience across all aspects of travel. Studies have shown this propensity for digital technology extends to the entire trip planning process, as well as during travel.

Though travellers are expecting more from travel brands, especially Indian travellers who want and expect travel providers to help them personalise their experience seamlessly, many travel brands are not delivering the deep, authentic and personal connections travellers aspire for.

Digital experience

Indian millennial travellers were one of the world’s most likely (at 84 per cent, above the global average of 71 per cent) to consider it important that an airline offers a good digital experience, for instance, offering online check-in and gate information.

Similarly, these millennials were the world’s most likely to consider the digital experience when booking hotels, like having a room key on their smartphones, with 82 per cent in India considering it important, well above the global average of 58 per cent, according to research by Travelport, which surveyed 23,000 people from 20 countries including 2,000 from India of which 1,526 were millennials (in the age group of 20-39 years).

Additionally, the study showed travellers in India look forward to personalising their travel experience, with 26 per cent of those surveyed willing to provide airlines more of their personal information if it meant receiving personalised offers. This, the study showed, is the second highest in the world (global average of 17 per cent). This trend was highest amongst Indian millennials (at 28 per cent).

Business Travellers

India’s business travellers have also demonstrated a strong preference for tech-forward travel solutions. Christopher A Juneau, Senior Vice President, Global Cloud Strategic Programs, SAP Concur, providing travel and expense management services, says while companies continue to try and maximise traveler satisfaction, "the reality is that employees are hungry for more empathy, guidance and better technology as they run into both common frustrations and unique individual concerns."

Aimed at understanding the impact of business travel on individuals, SAP Concur conducted a survey among 500 Indian business travellers and found 73 per cent Indian business travellers book using online travel agencies or sites and over 45 per cent Indian business travellers rated the ability to book a hotel via a mobile app as the most desired service, closely followed by 41 per cent who rated booking air travel as the most desired.

Travellers also want value for money, more control and transparency for personalisation and their pet peeves when booking trips were also related to personalisation.

Travelport's study showed 56 per cent of Indian travellers found it frustrating if they are not able to interface with a human point of contact while exploring a deal, as compared to 42 per cent globally. As Sandeep Dwivedi, Chief Operating Officer, InterGlobe Technology Quotient says the travel ecosystem in India is headed towards a digital-first future.

Published on November 30, 2019
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