Smartphones Put Travel Agents on 'Silent' Mode

Published: 06th July 2015 12:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th July 2015 12:46 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI:The average Indian smartphone addict isn’t merely using his phone for Facebook updates and taking selfies in public. He’s also using it to book his holiday, find restaurants abroad and look for things to do — as mobile bookings have surged from 4 per cent in 2014 to 8 per cent in 2015, according to a recent report. “It’s a whole lot easier to get things like air tickets and add on luggage and food on an app rather than doing it on the website. People used to think that the options were lesser on apps, but I feel it’s simpler,” said Anu Menon,  a travel hopper and media professional.

According to the TripBarometer Connected Travellers survey conducted by travel aggregator TripAdvisor, 47 per cent of the connected travellers in India are using their phones when they go abroad, making it a much more sizeable number than the connected travellers in the UK, Australia and Japan.

This could also stem from the fact that India currently has 960,579,472 mobile phones for its 1.26 billion population pegging the ratio at 77.58 phones per 100 people. The survey took answers from a sizeable 44,000 global travellers across seven regions.

In news that will only serve to depress travel agents further, mobile apps for services like restaurant reviews, taxis and so on have also reduced the need to get ‘package tours’. “Sales have been dipping steadily over the last six years, but last year has been bad because of mobile apps. One of our largest selling points used to be that we could arrange restaurants with Indian food or comfort food in practically any country, but nowadays travellers prefer using apps like zomato,” said Jagan Mohan, proprietor of Venus Travels. 

Explaining the findings of the survey further, Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India, said, “Mobile phones are proving to be the ultimate game changer in the travel business. It is increasingly becoming the primary device not only to plan and book trips, but also to discover places to eat and things to do upon reaching their destination. The fact that 72 per cent of people use their smartphones to look for restaurants and 67 per cent use it to find attractions just reiterates the significance of the device in the travel journey.”

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