Travellers from the Asia Pacific region love to share their travel tales over social media networks, and they love their mobile devices whether it is a smartphone, a tab or a laptop. According to Text100’s Digital Index: Travel and Tourism study, Asia-Pacific consumers lead the way in using social media to inspire, purchase and share their travel experiences. This report was based on 4600 respondents in 13 countries in the region.

“The presence of the mobile device is quietly but dramatically changing how we behave when we travel,” said Anne Costello, regional director, APAC, Text100. The report shows that 72 percent of travellers from Asia Pacific countries have used social media to inspire at least one element of their recent holidays, compared to only 51 per cent of travellers globally.

Despite this appetite for digital communication, many Asia Pacific consumers still base travel decisions on more traditional sources of influence. 48 percent say traditional travel agents still help in planning their holidays, while 57 percent are influenced by travel TV programmes. Interestingly, loyalty programs and deal websites are the least influential factors when it comes to making travel decisions.

This points to a nascent opportunity for the APAC tourism industry. The Travel & Tourism study shows that the industry must offer more integrated communications to innovation-hungry consumers in the region. “Widespread Asia-Pacific enthusiasm for social media is definitely not a signal for the travel industry to invest solely in digital. Travel and tourism operators need to integrate their traditional and new communications channels, but more importantly they need to focus on delivering content which their customers actually want to receive. Standalone promotions and loyalty programs, for example, don’t seem to be resonating with consumers any longer; they need to be part of an integrated communications approach,” explained Costello.

The study also found that the travellers from APAC are the early adopters of digital medium to make their travel experience interesting. 89 percent of them use travel apps on their smartphones or tablets while on holiday, primarily for information about local attractions and finding their way around. 48 percent of the travellers love to talk about shopping, compared to only 29 percent of travellers globally. China is the heaviest user of social media for holiday decisions, with 71 percent of consumers referring to bloggers and online reviews. 98 percent of India’s travellers comment about their travel interests online. Australia remains the slowest adopter of social media for connecting for travel and tourism.

“As the fastest adopters of digital technology when it comes to travel, Asia-Pacific consumers are experiencing more benefits and challenges alike than the rest of the world. As a result, these tech-savvy travellers feel the travel industry needs to do more to keep up with their fast-growing reliance on the mobile device and social media as part of the overall travel experience,” she added.