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Travellers remain tech-dependent

Accor keeps guests online with free WiFi for loyalty club members

Accor keeps guests online with free WiFi for loyalty club members

Holidays aren’t what they used to be according to the latest TripAdvisor TripBarometer Mobile and Social survey.

According to the survey, holidays aren’t the time to unplug anymore, with almost nine out of 10 global travellers using mobile devices on holiday.

In all, the survey revealed 87% of travellers globally, and 83% of Australian travellers, admit to being attached to mobile technology while they are away, a figure in keeping with the 216% year-on-year surge in the number of people accessing TripAdvisor via a mobile device.

However, close to a third of hoteliers globally (31%) and more than one quarter in Australia (26%) are not delivering on the needs of today’s connected traveller.

According to the TripBarometer, travellers from Indonesia are the most inclined to use mobile devices when they’re on the road (98%) while Canadians at 59%, are the least likely, but still a majority. Globally, 18 to 24 year olds are the most avid users of mobile while travelling (94%) and women (88%) are slightly more attached to their mobile devices while on holiday than men (85%).

Mobile is making it possible for travellers to stay connected at all times during their trip, whether it be via smartphone or tablet. While calling (73%) and texting (62%) remain the key reasons for travellers to use their smartphones while travelling, a significant portion of them are using mobile technology to access social media and to look for recommendations on the go.

“Travellers’ reliance on mobile devices and social media is consistent with the trends we’re seeing at TripAdvisor,” said Marc Charron, President of TripAdvisor for Business.

“TripAdvisor has 79 million average monthly mobile unique visitors and over 50 million people have installed our various apps, and we see that travellers are using them not only for planning but during their trips.

“Additionally, one in three TripAdvisor reviews are submitted by Facebook connected users, demonstrating that travellers are still keen to share their experiences via social media platforms after their trips.”

However, the study reveals that hospitality businesses globally are not currently meeting travellers’ mobile expectations, and Australia is no exception. Despite the global traveller’s addiction to mobile connectivity on holiday, there is a disconnect between what travellers want and what hoteliers currently offer. According to the study, a third of hoteliers globally (31%) and 26% of Australian hoteliers don’t do anything to reach mobile users.

While in 2013, only 36% of hoteliers globally prioritised mobile marketing, the good news is 53% of them plan on expanding their mobile offerings in 2014. In Australia, 49% of hoteliers plan to increase their mobile offerings in the coming year to include mobile booking functionality (38%), mobile-friendly website (41%), and mobile specific special offers (11%).

Nearly one in five Australian travellers (18%) relied on social media to plan their last trip in order to get recommendations (75%), to see pictures and videos of where they’re going (65%), to find inspiration for what to do and see while they’re there (65%) and to look for deals (36%).

The TripBarometer shows that Australian travellers are also engaging heavily on social media during their holidays. According to the survey, close to three out of five Australians (57%) use social media while on the road, which is in line with the global average (61%). Australians are far less likely than the average global traveller to use social media on holiday to get on-the-go travel recommendations.

Over one-fifth of Australian travellers (24%) admit to showing off on social media about their holiday. In all, Australian travellers admit to using social media while on holiday to make their friends jealous and say that it wouldn’t be a holiday unless their friends know about it. Globally only 19% of travellers use social media channels for these two purposes combined.

Across the globe, Indians (37%) and Indonesians (30%) are the most likely to brag on social media while on holiday, with travellers from Greece (5%) and Italy (8%) the least likely to show off.

“TripBarometer findings revealed that there are opportunities for hospitality businesses to provide value at various points throughout a traveller’s journey,” said Julio Bruno, Global Vice President of Sales, TripAdvisor for Business.

“Businesses should engage with potential and current guests on mobile and social media to interact with them in real time through special offers and apps that are popular with travellers.

“Ultimately, mobile offers a direct link to travellers on the go,” he said.

Close to seven out of 10 of Australian hoteliers (67%) are using social media to engage with current and potential guests, which is significantly lower than the global average (82%). The most used platforms by Australian owners for engaging are Facebook (64%) and YouTube (16%) while in terms of business, 53% believe they are getting value from Facebook and only 3% believe they are getting value from YouTube. Australian hoteliers are amongst the world’s least likely to use Twitter to engage with consumers.

The other 33 % of Australian hoteliers who don’t use social media to engage with guests cite lack of knowledge (51%) and time (26%) as key reasons. This is likely to change in 2014 when 53% in Australia plan to invest more in social media.

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