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India Outbound Travel Monitor, conducted by The Nielsen Company

Internet presence essential for destination marketers in India

Author: Vicky Karantzavelou / Date: Fri, 12/12/2008 - 11:47
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With over half of Indian travellers using the internet to search for information about destinations aboard, travel operators and tourist bodies need an effective online presence if they are to capture India's early adopters and increasingly affluent travellers, according to the latest India Outbound Travel Monitor conducted by The Nielsen Company in partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). The survey shows that, while traditional media such as newspapers and magazines remain the primary source for travel advertising and information for many, the Internet...

With over half of Indian travellers using the internet to search for information about destinations aboard, travel operators and tourist bodies need an effective online presence if they are to capture India's early adopters and increasingly affluent travellers, according to the latest India Outbound Travel Monitor conducted by The Nielsen Company in partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

The survey shows that, while traditional media such as newspapers and magazines remain the primary source for travel advertising and information for many, the Internet has become a popular advertising channel - drawing greater attention among Indian outbound travellers. The online platform is also gaining in popularity among travellers from India's smaller cities.

"The convenience of comparing prices and easy access to more detailed information makes the internet a popular go-to source for travellers," said Vatsala Pant, Associate Director - Client Service, The Nielsen Company, India. "An effective online presence ensures optimal deployment of marketing strategies, yet a standard online advertising may not be enough to capture the attention of increasingly technology-savvy Indian travellers.

Oliver Martin, Associate Director-Strategic Intelligence Centre, PATA, said, "It is critical for marketers to establish an early presence online as well as developing an effective engagement model with their target travellers, long before they start actively planning their trips."

Conducted using face-to-face interviews with a fully structured questionnaire during July - August 2008, the Nielsen India Outbound Travel Monitor is a nationwide study surveying 2,000 male and female consumers aged 18+ who have travelled outside India in the last 12 months and stayed at least two nights away from home.  The Monitor studies traveller behaviour, attitudes and opinions about travelling and provides insight into decision making processes, information sourcing, booking choices, accommodation and more. 

While the majority continues to turn to conventional channels - travel agents and tour operators - for their travel arrangements, Indian outbound travellers (12 percent) are increasingly booking their travel online.  "India's outbound travel market is recognised as one of the key emerging sources of tourism for the world and as internet penetration and adoption of the web as a commercial channel increases so will online travel bookings," added Pant.

According to Nielsen, Nepal, Singapore and Thailand are the most popular destinations for online bookings among Indian travellers.  "It would seem that, for many, face to face interaction with a bricks-and-mortar travel agent is still preferred to the ease of booking over the internet.  Relationships established with travel agents and the trust that has been built with an offline entity over the years win out over the fear of the unseen or unknown," said Vatsala Pant.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vicky Karantzavelou

Co-Founder & Chief Editor

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.