New research from Travelport has explored the global digital travel market, focusing on the pain points and customer differences across regions. The main finding is that many customers looking for travel information and services are just overwhelmed with choice. The Internet and phone apps offer a wide variety of ways to access travel services, but what happens when the customer gets too many choices?
The answer is they just tune out and don’t make a purchase. It’s very much like the problem I have personally found when choosing music to play. When I could only play the CD’s I had available, I could choose something easily to suit my mood. Now I sometimes go to Spotify and because there are millions of options available instantly, I find it impossible to choose what I would like.
Travel customers are facing the same challenge. According to the research, 79% of under-24 will use YouTube and other visual photo and video networks to help them choose travel destinations. However, in that same demographic, 44% are highly skeptical about information they read online – believing much of the positive information is fake.
I was particularly interested to see data from Indonesian customers included in this research. Over 90% of Indonesian travel customers turn to online photos and videos when researching a travel destination. In fact, the Asia-Pacific region tops the globe for the use of digital tools in the travel market with India first, followed by China, then Indonesia.
These Asia Pacific travelers have started looking to online information to deal with their travel confusion. 82% now turn to peer-to-peer sites as their first stop when researching their travel plans; 86% use travel booking sites for research, and 46% use similar sites which include personalized recommendations based on past travel.
It’s important for any travel company aiming to focus on digital customers to realize how these differences change the customer experience. 72% of Chinese travel customers are using voice search to research their destination – far more than any other country anywhere. If over 90% of Indonesians are checking YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest for visual research then your approach to these customers’ needs to reflect the fact that they know something about the destination before they finalize a booking.
Despite being so familiar with apps and other technology, 80% of Asia Pacific travelers still rely on an agent to book their travel. The online tools provide research options, but travel agents can still operate and thrive in this information-rich environment by focusing on making the booking process easy. Study how your customer behaves, help guide them to the right information (such as peer-to-peer reviews), and then make the booking process simple.
Digital tools are changing the travel industry globally, but customer behavior varies dramatically across different markets. Creating a great customer experience in one region will not always translate to a great experience elsewhere.
Teleperformance has deep experience of working with leading travel companies across the 74 countries in which we operate so we are well placed to advise on how to provide great service in the regions – and we know customer preferences in each market thanks to our detailed CX Lab research. Teleperformance’s award-winning Customer Experience Lab (CX Lab) is a groundbreaking centre devoted to researching global trends about how companies interact with customers, consumer tendencies and preferences by country, channel, segment, and generation as well as generating insights and opportunities for companies to improve their customer experience strategy.
Let me know what you think about the travel market in Asia Pacific by leaving a comment here or feel free to download the latest CX Lab white pager: