When travelling, it is not uncommon for me to be carrying a few mobile phones – one for work, one for personal use and often a third for when I am overseas. Increasingly I rely on my smartphone to give me the information I need at the touch of a button. In fact, over 40% of Aussies use a smartphone. However, despite this relatively high use, our research shows that when it comes to booking travel, only 33% of travellers do it via their mobile device.
One of the many challenges Australia faces in the swiftly changing world of travel is still the rapid evolution of online travel distribution from fixed to mobile. With one third of the population looking to book travel via their mobile, change is essential for operators that want to get ahead and stay ahead.
The use of tablets is also becoming increasingly popular for travel management.
21% of business travellers and 9% of leisure travellers currently use these devices during their travel. With 20% of all Australian households (including my own!) now owning at least one tablet, we expect to see the use of these devices skyrocket, especially as more reliable public internet access becomes available.
But it’s not just about mobile. Online is just as important. Only 50% of tourism providers in Australia currently have booking facilities on their web-sites (while 20% of providers have no web-site at all!) Without an online presence offering booking functionality, and without a web presence optimised for mobile, Aussie travel agencies face losing out to the regional travel growth happening within the mobile world.
As you might expect, younger Aussie travellers are the most avid users of social media. Our research indicated that 84% of travellers aged 18-30 use social media either occasionally or frequently during travel, compared to 24% of over 65 travellers.
Social media offers travel providers new ways to interact with their customers, and to enhance the value and perception of their brand. As social media becomes an increasingly important part of the travel experience, providers will need to adopt social media, both to transact and to interact with their customers.
For a more in-depth look into these trends and more check out our extensive Shaping the future of travel in Australia report.