South Africans rank among world’s most digitally-dependent when travelling

A survey has revealed how tech-centric we are by our tendency to book holidays on online, choosing hotels based on wi-fi coverage and wanting in-room technology

19 November 2017 - 00:00 By Elizabeth Sleith

South Africans are highly dependent on technology when it comes to planning trips, though, once you're away, tech is more important for staying connected with loved ones than it is for showing off your adventures on social media.
This is according to the travel commerce platform Travelport, which recently conducted a global survey to measure people's reliance on mobile, internet and digital technology for travel-related purposes.
It covered 19 countries and was restricted to people who had taken at least one return flight last year. In total, there were 11,000 respondents.The researchers used the results to rank the participating countries from most to least digitally-dependent for travel.
Top of the list was India, followed by China and Indonesia. South Africa came in seventh place, more digitally dependent than nations such as the US, Spain, Australia and the UK.
KEEP IN TOUCH
Looking closer at the figures on South Africans specifically, 86% of respondents say that the most important aspect of technology when travelling is being able to stay in touch, which is probably why 79% choose hotels that don't charge for wi-fi.
However, not everyone wants to be online and available all the time, and 45% of travellers say they want to escape the digital world and switch off all their devices. This is in contrast to the 43% who say they still want to share their experiences on social media.
When it comes to planning trips, 86% use booking sites to help them discover new and exciting destinations and 82% use review sites for researching their trips.However, 54% of leisure travellers worry that online reviews are not genuine, which may explain why the opinions of loved ones are important too - 75% of South Africans use videos and photos posted by their friends as part of their travel research.
Thirty-five percent book their trips on smartphones and use 17 different categories of apps while away, the most popular being banking and maps, followed by social media.GIVE US THE GOOD TVs
The frequent traveller is relatively demanding when it comes to in-room technology such as smart TVs and digital music players, with 62% (versus 41% for infrequent travellers) saying that such amenities are important when they're deciding where to stay.
When it comes to choosing an airline, 69% believe a good digital experience is important from the outset. Ultimately, in this case, cash is king, with 93% saying they want value for money when choosing how to fly.

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