Booking.com, the global leader in connecting travellers with the widest choice of incredible places to stay has unveiled its new research study has delved into its unprecedented insights from 21,500 travellers across 29 countries to reveal how social media increasingly permeates travel plans. It states that 66% of Indian travellers see travel as a potential opportunity to earn a living as an influencer or travel blogger, as opposed to having a traditional full-time job while over three fifths (63%) of travellers admit that it’s an ambition of theirs to use travel to launch a social media career. It also says that Seven in ten Indian travellers (71%) confirm that they are excited about the prospect of space travel in 2019 & beyond and are open to considering the experience themselves, while three in five (60%) travellers say they would rather stay in accommodation under the sea than in space.
From looking to favourite social media influencers for genuine travel inspiration, to considering making a career out of travel itself and sometimes falling to the pressures of having an online presence, the research reveals how social media will continue to change the way we travel in 2019.
Even for a more ad hoc user, travelling in today’s world with social media at our fingertips is visibly very different to the days before it was so accessible. Explorers no longer rely on guidebooks and oversized paper maps to navigate a new location. Instead they have instant access to real-time information and look for inspiration from real people via social media. The research reveals that 53% of Indian travellers look at where celebrities stay and try to find accommodation that looks similar. In fact, 24% of Indian travellers go so far as trying to recreate poses from one of their favourite celebs or Instagrammers.
#Unattainable Instagram for Indians
2019 will see an increased focus on travel influencing that is genuine and honest. The most popular social media travel channels will be those creating practical, useable content more so than inaccessible or fake imagery. While travellers want to view content that they feel is real, the research by Booking.com reveals that many do fall to the pressures of social media:
- 30% have used an older, more flattering, image from a previous holiday rather than from their current trip
- 42% have taken a picture of a different accommodation and pretending they are staying there
- 63% want to stay in attractive accommodation that they know will look good on social media
- 22% have pretended to still be on vacation when they are actually at home
Easy does it
In 2019, “ease” will be the gold standard by which tech travel innovations will be judged. In past years, travellers have heard a lot of buzz around artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and speech recognition; in the coming year, the winning innovations will be those that can seamlessly offer these technologies as a practical solution to travellers. Think keyless room-access with your phone, personalized travel tips or a robotic concierge who can communicate with guests in their mother tongue. Indian Travelers are most enthusiastic about a single app for all their planning, booking and travel needs (80%) and real-time luggage tracking through a mobile app (75%) when it comes to travel tech. They are less interested in self-driving transport at their destination (67%), but 63% like the idea of a ‘virtual travel agent’ in their home
Up close and personal
2019 looks set to see rapid developments in the way travel information is consumed and used. Generic, comprehensive travel guides of the past will make way for increasingly short-form, hyper relevant and individualized content, which can be neatly integrated in travellers’ feeds. Three fifths of Indian travellers (61%) want someone to do the hard work and make travel recommendations for them, while seven in ten want travel brands to use tech to make suggestions based on their past travels (71%). Three quarters are excited about travel tech innovations like a digital tour guide, giving them a bespoke service (75%). As importance deepens on personal, individual recommendations that unlock the most out of every trip, expect producers of rich and professional travel content to find even better ways of distributing this through the use of AI as we move through the coming year, reaching us exactly when we need it most