Travelers across the world, including 500 Kenyans, are increasingly prioritizing value over cost, demanding more autonomy over personalization and using digital solutions to research and manage their trips. These are among the findings of Travelport’s 2019 Global Digital Traveler Research, which surveyed 23,000 people from 20 countries:
Value is more important than cost but can be hard to find
When booking a flight, value is a key priority for over four out of five travelers (81% in Kenya and 86% globally) with customer service being the top priority for 84% of Kenyans.
- To find offers of value, travelers ‘nearly always’ use a combination of travel review sites like TripAdvisor (49% in Kenya and 42% globally), price comparison sites like Kayak.com (46% in Kenya and 38% globally) recommendation sites like Kiwi.com (46% in Kenya and 36% globally), and half have conversations with travel consultants (47% in Kenya and 31% globally).
- But when shopping online, nearly three out of five travelers have mounting frustrations when it comes to knowing which companies they can trust (56%). They are also frustrated by not being able to access their bookings across all their devices (61%).
Travelers want more control and transparency when it comes to personalization
- Across all age categories, when booking a flight, travelers typically want to personalize their own experience (35% in Kenya and 42% globally) through add-ons like extra legroom, additional baggage allowance and meal upgrades. Almost as many Kenyans (31%, compared to 17% globally), however, are willing to give airlines more access to their personal information if it meant they would be able to receive personalised offers – in fact, Kenyans were the most likely to say so amongst all countries surveyed.
- When attempting to personalize their experience, however, a growing number of travelers are getting frustrated by not being able to understand what is included as standard (50% in Kenya) and not knowing what add-ons are available to them (57%).
- Half (51%, significantly above the global average of 35%) of Kenyan travelers are also increasingly frustrated by companies they regularly use not remembering their preferences.
A wide range of technologies are now influencing decision making
- Three quarters (76%) of Kenyan travelers today consider it important whether an airline offers a good digital experience when booking a flight, with a similar number (74%) also considering this when choosing accommodation.
- When researching a trip, 38% of Kenyan travelers ‘nearly always’ review videos and photos posted by travel brands on social media. Facebook is considered the most influential social media platform by Kenyans (50%), however, Instagram is on the rise with 28% saying it influences their travel decisions.
- In addition, nearly three quarters of Kenyan travelers (74%) now believe augmented or virtual reality experiences would help them better plan their trips – significantly above the global average of 48%.
Demand continues to rise for technologies that make travel easier to manage
- Three in five (61%) of Kenyan travelers get frustrated when they are unable to access their booking information round-the-clock on mobile devices, such as smartphones and smartwatches. This is considerably higher than the global average (45%).
- Over three quarters (77%) of Kenyan travelers highlight free WiFi as a must when deciding on accommodation, while 68% (against a global average of 56%) thought having a smartphone-based concierge feature was important.
- Technology, however, is not always the answer. Over two fifths (43% and 42% globally) of Kenyan travelers, for example, find not being able to speak to a human frustrating.
Commenting on the findings of the research, Nita Nagi, Director, Kenya at Travelport said: “Kenyans want an experience from travel providers and travel agents that is as simple and engaging and founded on excellent customer service. Our global research shows that for Kenyans, technology is key to this -from serving relevant and personalized offers to providing attractive propositions from trusted sources. At Travelport, we will continue to accelerate developments in all these areas, and more, to help the industry keep pace with the rapidly evolving needs of the modern traveler.”
Pic: Ian Macharia