Travelport (NYSE:TVPT), a leading Travel Commerce Platform providing distribution, technology, payment and other solutions for the $8 trillion global travel and tourism industry has today released new research that demonstrates the dramatic transformation the Indian travel market has undergone in recent years with up to two thirds of travelers in India preferring to book packages when buying their biggest holiday of the year. Indian consumers have become primed to embrace higher value online purchases with packaged travel representing a significant opportunity to the industry in the region. India has an urban adult population of 240 million, of which 27%, or 65 million, take holidays. The country has 205 million Internet subscribers and 110 million smartphone users.
The research released by Travelport as part of a co-sponsored study with Phocuswright1, revealed that of those surveyed 48% of travellers said their most significant trip of the past 12 months was a traditional package, while 21% said they had bought a tailor-made trip. The survey was conducted across almost 2500 travellers from the top socio-economic groups in India, encompassing 25 urban centres. The results detail how at the heart of the country’s online travel growth is a generation of well-educated, tech savvy and upwardly mobile Indian consumers eager to indulge their wanderlust. Online travel bookings are expected to grow rapidly through 2016 when India online travel penetration is projected to reach 46%, up from 35% in 2012. For their main holiday of the year, 62% searched online travel agents with 56% using general search engines. Some 40% researched their holidays on their mobile.
A huge number of those who are travelling overseas are doing so for the first time; two out of three who took an overseas trip in the previous 12 months had not done so before. Interestingly, two thirds of travellers in India are young adults, with 52% aged between 25-34 and 17% aged 18-24. Of those surveyed, 64% have a family of up to four people and 65% are employed in a private organization. When travellers were asked for the reasons behind their decisions, some 43% said they felt packages were cheaper than independent trips and 40% said they booked packages because they included sightseeing tours. Three quarters of travellers admitted to being extremely influenced by user-generated content, such as online reviews on popular websites such as TripAdvisor. Forty five percent got a personal recommendation from friends/family.
Matthew Powell, Senior Director, India, Travelport Africa, Middle East and South Asia commented on the findings: “The majority of people in India – 52% – are booking online and offline, with just 13% booking online only and an even smaller number, 5%, only booking offline. These consumer trends in India demonstrate how technology in travel commerce has been the catalyst for the dramatic transformation in the Indian travel market and they key role it will play in its continued growth.”
Sandeep Dwivedi, Chief Commercial Officer, InterGlobe Technology Quotient, distributors of Travelport in India and Sri Lanka commented: “What’s most exciting is what is to come and with online travel bookings in India expected to reach 46% through 2016, Travelport is committed to supporting the online travel sector in the country through our travel commerce platform which is unrivalled in demonstrating the value agencies can bring to their customers with the travel choices and high levels of service they expect.”