February 26, 2013
Search Engines and Travel Websites emerge as most influential source of information while planning for a trip for leisure travelers
Singapore continues to be the first most visited destination, but has dipped in preference for leisure and business travelers from India. Only 16 percent leisure travelers, and 11 percent business travelers have visited Singapore in the last year , as against the 23 percent for leisure and 15 percent for business in 2010. These are the latest findings of the India Outbound Travel Monitor 2012, by Nielsen, a leading provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.
The Nielsen India Outbound Travel Monitor is a biennial study carried out across leisure and business travelers in 10 cities in India, with over 2500 respondents across Tier I and Tier II cities. Nepal (11%), the United States of America (6%), Bangladesh (6%) and United Kingdom (5%) are the gainers as compared to 2010, basis those countries visited in the last year. Malaysia (8%) , Thailand (7%) and UAE (3%) have dropped as visited destinations, while Switzerland comes in as a new entrant in this category.
Countries that show a rise in Business Travel are the US (8%), Malaysia (8%) Australia (5%) and UK (5%).
“Indians are looking to travel and explore beyond their comfort zones, increasingly guided by a healthy sense of adventure and discovery, combined with a healthy spending power. This is attributed to the freely available and accessible information on different destinations, and details on cuisine, tourist spots”, said Dinesh Kapoor, ED, Nielsen India. “This is also balanced with the fact that the Indian traveler is still value conscious, and careful when it comes to food habits – and these particular attributes are incorporated in customizing experiences for them”.
The Indian leisure traveler is open to exploring new destinations in Europe, shifting from destinations in South East Asia. 15 percent of the respondents aspire to travel to Singapore, and 14 percent to Switzerland. United Kingdom (10%), Spain (3%) and New Zealand (3%) are new entrants as aspirational destinations. Over one in five respondents (22%) from Tier II cities in the country are keen to explore Nepal, respondents from Tier I cities cite Singapore (15%) and Switzerland (15%) as top destinations they are looking to travel to.
“While cities in South East Asia will continue to be popular owing to relatively shorter, economical travel, and currency conversion – increasingly Europe is gaining popularity as well. This may be attributed to increased exposures via media channels, cross marketing via films and television shows, and tailoring packages that appeal to a cross section of travelers from different parts of the country” said Kapoor.
64 percent leisure travelers & 56 percent business travelers cite search engines and travel websites as the preferred source of information for their travel plans. Seven in ten leisure travelers (70%), actively research and plan trips via internet search engines, up from 57percent from 2010. Online travel portals (33%) and travel websites (20%) are also critical sources of information. Travel agencies have reduced in influence from 60 percent to 35 percent; while that of tour operators remained the same at 31 percent.
“Easily accessible information via the internet, makes it a preferred source of information for travelers today. Consumers can explore a destination across budgets with regards to places to stay, what to see and do, with user generated reviews, travelogues and tourism websites. This knowledge also helps them to negotiate on the best deal for their holiday from ticketing to hotel itinerary ”.said Kapoor. “Tour operators are still important in planning group holidays , where the actual planning and organizing of the trip is taken care of.”
The top reasons for leisure travelers to prefer online booking are the savings on time (56%) , the quick and simple process (45%) , and flexibility on making the bookings from home or office (42%). Satisfaction with traditional methods of booking (26%), distrust on online websites (21%) and insecurity on providing personal details (20%) are the major barriers for leisure travelers to use online booking.
For Business Travelers, the first preference is use the services of travel agents (28%) , while just under one in five respondents (19 %) in this category use online travel agents and travel websites.
According to the study, the average travel expenditure for the leisure traveler is $ 3894, and for a business traveler an average overseas trip costs $2175. United Kingdom is the most expensive travel destination for both category of travelers - for business a visit is approximately $6000 , and for leisure travelers it can cost up to $10000.
Business travelers spend higher share of total travel expenditure on shopping (20%) , flight tickets (22%) and communication (10%). For slightly over one in five (21%) leisure travelers, a major cost component is package cost, followed by shopping (20%).
Nielsen India Outbound Travel Monitor is a biennial study that provides an understanding of the profile of Indian travelers, their motivations, choice dynamics and perceptions of their travel experience. For the 2013 study, Nielsen conducted face-to-face interviews with 2,512 males and females aged 18 and above, across 6 Tier I cities and 4 Tier II cities in the country. Sample consisted of respondents who have travelled outside of India in the last twelve months and who have stayed at least two nights away from home with the purpose of either business or leisure travel.
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.