A new global study by Travelport has revealed travellers in South Africa are becoming increasingly digitally dependent when it comes to planning, booking and experiencing travel.
The study, titled the Global Digital Traveller Research 2018, revealed that nearly half (46%) of travellers in SA are now using voice search to research their next trip, more than those in Australia, Germany and Japan (all 33%), and that a quarter now believe the technology has the greatest influence over their planning.
Nearly all (87%) were also open to using biometrics to reduce time spent waiting in security lines at airports.
The research was carried out by Toluna Research on behalf of Travelport and based on 16,200 respondents across 25 countries who had taken at least one return flight last year.
It also revealed that three quarters (76 %) of travellers in SA actively review photos and videos shared by travel brands on social media when researching their trips, and a quarter (24%) believe this carries a significant influence over their choices. In addition, half (49%) were revealed to enjoy using the convenience of a digital wallet/payment app while travelling.
SA travellers were also shown to have a heavy reliance on their smartphones. Almost half (46%) now research and book their trip entirely through their mobile device and more than half (56%) rate not being able to access their booking information on all their devices as ‘very painful and frustrating’.
When on holiday, on average, travellers in SA use 11 different categories of apps, higher than the global average of nine. Of these, maps, banking and airline apps are the most popular (used by 67%), closely followed by weather (64%) and social media (63%) apps.
Claudette Thorne, Travelport’s Country Manager for SA, commented: “Our findings demonstrate that providing relevant and timely digital tools has now become an essential means of reaching travellers in SA from the minute they search until the moment they return from their trip.
“Investing in a smooth digital experience for a brand or service is therefore essential if travel providers are to remain relevant and competitive. The travel and hospitality industries need to continually adapt to provide responsive, relevant and timely solutions for customers.”