India is one of the upcoming source markets that should be watched closely, as its travel market is projected to reach $14.7 billion in 2017 (Erevmax 2014). This is reason enough to have a closer look at what is driving this development, who the new age Indian travellers are, what they want and how they travel.
EVER GROWING AFFLUENT MIDDLE CLASS
The affluent middle class in India alone equals roughly the size of the entire US population, and with a reported average holiday budget of $1700 per traveller on outbound trips, it represents an interesting source market for destinations around the world. The outbound market in India is growing. This year around 15 million Indians plan to travel abroad, and will spend an estimated $300 million. Although Singapore and Dubai are currently the most thought after destinations, a growing interest in Europe and America as holiday destinations can be noted.
DIGITAL STRATEGIES TO ATTRACT INDIAN TRAVELLERS
Indians increasingly turn towards online search – and search engines in particular – for their holiday planning. Not only that one in two online search inquiries are related to travel, but search is also one of the main factors in the decision making process. In fact, in 70% of the cases, destination selection is driven by online search. Therefore, European destinations that wish to attract Indian travellers, need to include SEO and SEM focussed on the Indian market.
Mobile Internet in India is on the rise. Although smartphone penetration has only reached 13%, nine in ten consumers with smart devices use it to access the internet on a daily basis. Thus, mobile as a channel is widely accepted among the affluent travellers. Not only that one in three travel enquiries already come from a mobile, it is particularly business travellers (39%), who make travel arrangements via mobile. Thus, OTAs, hotels and also destinations should focus on mobile marketing and invest in mobile optimised websites, in order to attract the Indian market.
SOCIAL IS BECOMING THE NORM
Social media is slowly establishing itself a one of the primary channels seek advice and to engage with brands. In total, 40% of Indian travellers seek advice from friends in social media. In addition to mobile and search strategies, operating dedicated social presences, directed at Indian travellers, opens the opportunity to engage with the affluent middle class segment.
The Indian travel market is a highly attractive segment with an above average spending power. This market segment moves quickly away from the traditional means of arranging their travel, and embrace enthusiastically new media and digital forms of communication. Destinations that wish to attract this market should pursuit a full digital strategy aimed at Indian travellers.
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