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Survey reveals Thai travellers reliant on social media and mobile while on holiday to stay connected and get recommendations on the go

October 28, 2013 Social Media No Comments Email Email

Despite the popular belief that holidays are supposed to be a time to escape, nearly 9 out of 10 travellers worldwide admit to being attached to mobile technology while they are away.

Eighty seven per cent of travellers globally, and 85% of Thai travellers, report using mobile devices when they are travelling, according to the TripAdvisor™ TripBarometer Mobile and Social trends survey¹.

Legian Beach Hotel-httpwww.legianbeachbaliThe desire to stay connected with family and friends at home and fear of missing out are the principal reasons driving this growing attachment to mobile connection and social media usage while on holiday. However, hospitality businesses globally are not delivering on the needs of today’s connected traveller.

Keeping Connected with Mobile

According to the TripBarometer, travellers from Indonesia are the most inclined to use mobile devices when they are on the road (98%), while Canadians at 59%, are the least likely, but still a majority.  Globally, out of all generations, 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 travellers are using mobile technology to access social media and to look for recommendations on the go. Thai travellers are more likely to use their smartphones to access social media and share on social networking sites than the average global traveller.

Purpose Percentage of travellers who use their smartphones while travelling
  Global          Thailand
Accessing social media 32% 40%
Sharing social media 29% 40%
Looking for restaurants 36% 35%
Looking for things to do 27% 26%
Looking for hotels 22% 26%
Reading reviews 24% 28%

Mind the Gap: The Mobile Opportunity

The TripBarometer reveals that hospitality businesses globally are not currently meeting travellers’ mobile expectations and Thailand is no exception. Despite the appetite that travellers have for their mobile devices on holiday, close to a third of hoteliers globally (31%) and in Thailand (34%) don’t do anything to reach mobile users.


 
Travellers who want (Globally) Hoteliers who offer (Globally) Hoteliers who offer (Thailand)
Mobile-friendly site 39% 37% 31%
Ability to book via mobile 33% 44% 50%
Special offers for mobile users 27% 12% 17%
Location-specific deals 24% 5% 5%
Branded smartphone app 19% 9% 8%
Branded tablet app 13% 7% 7%

While in 2013, only 36% of hoteliers globally prioritised mobile marketing, 53% of them plan on expanding their mobile offerings in 2014. According to the study, 52% of Thai hoteliers plan to increase their mobile offerings in the coming year to include mobile booking functionality (31%), mobile-friendly website (20%) and mobile specific special offers (8%)

Social Media to Plan and to Travel

Nearly half of Thai travellers (47%) relied on social media to plan their last trip, using it to get recommendations (77%), to see pictures and videos of where they’re going (70%), to look for deals (64%), and to find inspiration for what to do and see while they’re there (43%).

According to the survey, Thai travellers are also engaging heavily on social media during their holiday. More than 4 out of 5 Thai travellers (86%) use social media while on the road – significantly higher than the global average (61%). Furthermore, Thais are also more inclined to use social media to get recommendations and update their social networks, compared to the average global traveller.



Purpose
Percentage of travellers who use social media on holiday for the following reasons
  Global Thailand
To contact people cheaply 53% 56%
To get recommendations while traveling 38% 43%
To stay up to date on friend and family news 42% 50%
To get overall news as per usual 32% 59%
To update social networks on a daily basis 28% 39%

In line with the global average, 25% of Thais admit to using social media to brag about their trip. Looking across the globe, Indians (37%) and Indonesians (30%) are the most likely to brag on social media while on holiday, while travellers from Greece (5%) and Italy (8%) are the least likely to show off.

Turning to Social Media for Engagement

A majority (81%) of Thai hoteliers are using social media to engage with current and potential guests, which is in line with the global average (82%). The most used platforms by Thai owners for engaging are Facebook (76%) and YouTube (30%).  From a business point of view, the study shows 58% of Thai owners claim to be getting value from Facebook and only 4% believe to be getting a value from YouTube.

The other 19% of Thai hoteliers who do not use social media to engage with guests cite lack of knowledge (42%) and time (39%) as key reasons. The good news is, 58% of hoteliers in Thailand plan to invest more in social media in 2014.

“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, an increase of more than 216% from last year. 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.”

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

For the full TripBarometer report and infographic, please visit:

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/TripAdvisorInsights/tripbarometer-apac-social-and-mobile?language=en-GB

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