Hoteliers miss social media prospects

25 October 2013
SINGAPORE: Asian travellers are more likely than the global average to use mobile devices and to access social media while on holiday but a third of hoteliers are currently failing to address them through these channels, a new survey has found.

TripAdvisor survey almost 30,000 consumers globally, including more than 4,600 across nine Asian countries – Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea and Thailand – for its TripBarometer Mobile and Social survey.

It found, reported Campaign Asia-Pacific, that 69% of Asian travellers liked to use social media, compared to 61% of travellers globally. And travellers from Indonesia (98%) and India (96%) were the most likely to use mobile devices when on holiday, significantly above the global average of 87%.

Nikhil Ganju, TripAdvisor India manager, noted that, in addition to his compatriots' use of mobile devices and social media while on holiday, "Indians also emerge on top as most likely to brag on social media while on holiday".

While calling and texting were the most common reasons for using a smartphone, people also used mobile devices to access social media and to look for recommendations about hotels, restaurants and things to do, as well as reading reviews.

The survey also revealed that 32% of Asia's hoteliers did not take any action to reach such customers, although 66% planned to increase their mobile offering through 2014.

In particular, they were looking at adding mobile booking functionality (30%) and mobile-optimised websites (26%).

Just 15% talked about sending out mobile-specific offers, but this was precisely what they should be doing, according to Julio Bruno, TripAdvisor's global vice president of sales, business.

He said hospitality businesses had opportunities to engage with both existing and potential guests via mobile and social media. They could interact in real time through special offers and apps popular with travellers, he suggested.

"Ultimately, mobile is the direct link to travellers on the go," he declared.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, Financial Express; additional content by Warc staff
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