Travellers are prioritising value over cost, but often struggle to find it.
This is but one of the findings of Travelport’s 2019 Global Digital Traveller Research, which surveyed 23 000 people from 20 countries, including 500 in South Africa.
Locals desire clarity and flexibility when booking travel, the survey reveals. It gives them more control and transparency in an apparent quest for personal and authentic travel experiences, with the research showing 6% of South African travellers rank personalised travel offers as ‘very important’ for their travel apps.
When attempting to personalise their experience, more than half of South African travellers are getting frustrated by not being able to understand what is included as standard - comparing 55% locals to the 52% global average.
Adding to the frustration for almost 49% of the respondents is "having to book different aspects of the trip like flights, accommodation and ground transport separately, and not being able to see the availability and cost of extras - with 43% finding it ‘very frustrating'".
When booking a flight, value is a top priority for more than 9 out of 10 (92%) South African travellers, compared to 86% globally. This trend is apparent across all age groups led by Baby Boomers (96%), who prioritise value marginally more than younger generations.
So how are locals securing more value for their spend?
- Using a combination of review sites
According to the data results South Africans find offers of value by "nearly always" using a combination of travel review sites - with almost half reporting the use of TripAdvisor (49%, 42% globally), price comparison sites like Kayak.com (28%, 38% globally), recommendation sites like Kiwi.com (44%, 36% globally), as well as having conversations with travel consultants (41%, 31% globally).
When researching a trip, the majority (79% in South Africa, 77% globally) of travellers have reviewed videos and photos posted by travel brands on social media. Globally, this number is up 2% on 2018. Facebook is considered the most influential social media platform by all age groups. Over half of South African travellers (56%) use social media to research and book travel.
- Booking online
And nearly half of travellers (48%) use a mobile website to purchase these extras. Making travel easier to research and manage through digital solutions is also a key focus for South African travellers - who mostly book their trips online, according to the date. About 80% book on a computer and 53% book on a mobile device. Of those booking online, 62% use multiple digital platforms (for example, booking their flights from one website and hotels from another).
- Finding convenient extras included in the price
When it comes to the impact of digital technologies on travel, South Africans find that digital boarding passes and e-tickets make their experience easier (77%), as well as actively avoid hotels that still charge for Wi-Fi (71%).
They typically want to personalise their own flight experience (51%, 42% globally) through add-ons like extra legroom, additional baggage allowance and meal upgrades.
More than three quarters (79%) of travellers in South Africa consider it important whether an airline offers a good digital experience when booking a flight. Almost two thirds (62% in South Africa, globally 58%) also consider this when choosing accommodation.
- Flexibility and clarity in the booking process
The three features that South Africans would like the most from travel apps are: ability to search and book flights (82%), being able to collate their entire trip itinerary in one place (81%) and the ability to change flights in an app (80%). They are least interested in in-app live chats with travel representatives (54%).
Commenting on the
findings of the research, Travelport’s Claudette Thorne, Country Manager
Southern Africa says, “Travelers in South Africa are very closely aligned with
global trends when it comes to booking preferences. Travelers want an experience
from travel providers and travel agents that is as simple and engaging as the
Travelport’s latest global research shows that technology is key to this – from serving relevant and personalised offers to providing attractive propositions from trusted sources. At Travelport, we will continue to accelerate developments in all these areas, and more, to help the industry keep pace with the rapidly evolving needs of the modern traveller.”