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Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 15 : 30 PM [IST]

TripBarometer ‘2016 Travel Trends’ report

TripAdvisor announced the results of the latest TripBarometer study, the accommodation and traveller survey, highlighting key travel trends for 2016. Conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by independent research firm Ipsos, the TripBarometer study is the analysis of nearly 45,000 survey responses from travellers and the hotel sector worldwide. The TripBarometer ‘2016 Travel Trends’ report presents a snapshot of the travel landscape for 2016, revealing country-level, regional and global travel trends.

33% of global travellers and 44% Indian travellers plan to increase their travel budgets in 2016. Just under half (49%) of global travellers say they’ll spend more because they and their family deserve it; this feeling is much higher for Indian respondents with 62% citing this as their reason for increasing their budget.

While ‘Special offers’ determine the choice of destination for one in two global travellers, Indians are less motivated by discounts or packages, with just over a third (34%) citing ‘Special offers’ as a motivation for selecting a destination. Indian travellers are in line with the global average when it comes to their number one deal-breaker for deciding where to book – 63% will look elsewhere if a hotel does not have air-conditioning. Breakfast (54%), Room Service (51%) and In-room Wi-Fi (45%) are the next three most important amenities for Indians after the air conditioning.

“Value is key for global travellers in 2016, as they look to get the most out of their trips. While a third plan to increase their travel budgets for next year, the majority of global travellers expect essential amenities to be included in the price of their hotel and more than half say special offers can play a big part in their choice of destination,” said Helena Egan, Director, Global Industry Relations, TripAdvisor. “This year’s TripBarometer reveals the key trends shaping the travel landscape for 2016, including hoteliers’ plans to increase room rates and invest heavily in online reputation management.”

Commenting on the findings Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India said “Indian travellers thinking of a holiday as a reward that their family deserves is just the right kind of sentiment to be moving into 2016 with! Being high on the global list of travellers who want to try something new bodes very well for the nascent activities space in the country.”

“As mobile dependant Indian travellers also grow more demanding in their expectations from accommodations, the vast majority of hoteliers in India exhibit a positive outlook and are optimistic about profitability in the coming year. These and many more important trends underline the rich findings of TripBarometer - Travel Trends 2016,” he added.

The number one reason travellers will increase their travel budgets next year is because they feel that they and their family deserve it. This holds true for 62% of Indian travellers who were surveyed, followed by the desire to go somewhere on their wish-list in 2016 (43%). India comes 18th in the global travel budget rankings, with an estimated average travel budget of USD 3107, compared to the global average travel spend of USD 5,100.

Choosing the destination
A destination’s culture and society is the most popular individual driver for travellers considering where to take a trip, with 47% of global and 33% of Indian respondents saying they have visited a country primarily because of its culture and people. Just under one in four Indian travellers (23%) has decided to extend a work trip in order to see more of a destination, and just under a third (32%) have chosen a destination based on recommendations from a friend or relative.

Perhaps most interestingly, 17% of Indian travellers say they have visited a specific destination for a spiritual pilgrimage, with only travellers from China more likely to choose a destination for this reason (20%).

However, more than one in two travellers said they have chosen a destination as a result of special offers. Accommodation packages are the leading type of special offer for influencing travellers’ selection of destination, with one in five (21%) global travellers and 15% Indian travellers said they have chosen to visit somewhere because of a hotel’s special offer.

Top deal-breakers for global travellers
When it comes to amenities, whether or not a hotel has air conditioning is a deal-breaker for potential guests. 63% of global and Indian travellers want their accommodation to have air conditioning; if not, they will look elsewhere. Breakfast (54%), Room Service (51%) and free in-room Wi-Fi (45%) are the next three most important amenities for Indians after the air conditioning.

One in four global (26%) and almost a third Indian travellers (29%) won’t book a hotel that doesn’t have a swimming pool. While almost a third global travellers (29%) will look elsewhere if the accommodation they’re considering doesn’t have a kettle, this amenity is much more important for Indian travellers (44%).

Room rates on the up around the world
47% of global hoteliers and 39% Indian hoteliers are raising their room rates, with accommodation owners in South America the most likely to do so (56%). Most of them are increasing rates to compensate for increased overhead costs (65% global v/s 63% Indian), although one in two Indian hoteliers are increasing rates because they recently completed renovations (49%) and to stay in line with the competition (43%).

Three in four business owners globally are optimistic about profitability in 2016, and the majority of those who are believe that local events and conferences taking place in their market will a positive impact on their business. Indian hoteliers (86%) leave behind their global counterparts in their optimism towards profitability. Changes in transport connections (64%), decreases in flight fares (63%), changes in tourist attractions in the area (60%) and changes in the number of restaurants and shops in their area (50%) are the factors that Indian hoteliers believe will positively impact profitability in the coming year.
Investment priorities for 2016

Online traveller reviews are cited by 93 % of global as well as Indian accommodation owners as being the most important element for the future of their business. It’s no surprise then that online reputation management remains the biggest area of planned investment for hoteliers in 2016, with 59% global and 79% Indian accommodation owners investing more in this area next year.
The vast majority of global (91%) as well as Indian (90%) hoteliers see increasing direct bookings as key for the future of their business. This explains why just under half of all global accommodation owners plan to invest more in marketing and advertising (48% global v/s 68% Indian hoteliers) and traffic acquisition (47% global v/s 67% Indian hoteliers) in 2016.

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