Singaporeans are constantly on their smartphones during their holidays and share their travel experiences mainly via social networks rather than in person, according to a new mobile travel report conducted by travel search engine KAYAK.sg. The research investigates how Singaporeans’ travel habits have changed over the past decade and found that smartphones and social media platforms have impacted every aspect of travel from how a trip is planned to how memories are shared after the fact.
Ten years ago, over half of Singaporeans (58%) sought the advice of family and friends as well as traditional travel agents (42%) and other offline sources for inspiration when thinking of their next getaway. Unsurprisingly, inspiration nowadays is mainly found online, with 61% of travellers consulting online travel agencies to plan their holidays, 44% turning to social media and 33% reading blogs for travel inspiration. This number is even higher for travellers under 35 years old with 63% turning to social media, making it the preferred way for this age group to ignite their travel aspirations. While most Singaporeans search for travel inspiration on their computer, one-fifth use their smartphones, most likely taking the opportunity to research their next escape during their commutes.
Interestingly, the Internet and mobile technology have apparently not helped Singaporean travellers save time on travel planning. A full 40% of survey respondents reported they spend more time planning their trips today than they did a decade ago. This is likely due to the proliferation of travel resources available online.
Mobile booking is on the rise but 74% of Singaporeans still prefer to book on a computer
The survey revealed that in today’s digital world, the majority of Singaporean travellers (89%) now book their trips online. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents prefer to book directly on the website of a hotel or airline, while 64% use online travel agencies. Meanwhile, the traditional travel agency, used by 73% of travellers 10 years ago, has seen a sharp decline in popularity and is now visited by around one-quarter of Singaporeans (26%). This suggests savvy travellers want to take travel planning into their own hands and independently search for options and compare prices. In doing so, 74% turn to the user-friendly interface and more secure environment of a computer, while 17% and 7% use a smartphone or tablet, respectively.
Singaporeans like the convenience of checking in for their flight before they reach the airport
A decade ago, 67% of Singaporeans preferred to check-in at the airport and obtain their printed boarding pass there. Today, nearly half of all travellers (49%) prefer to check-in and print-off their boarding passes at home, while more than one-fifth (22%) check-in online with their smartphone and opt for a mobile boarding pass. Mobile boarding passes are growing in popularity as airline apps and travel wallets make it easier to store and manage travel documents, but clearly Singaporeans are not ready to go fully digital in this regard and still enjoy having a physical boarding pass in hand.
54% of Singaporeans are constantly connected and on their phone during their travels
The survey shows that even though Singaporeans enjoy sightseeing (76%), eating out (60%) and shopping (60%) while abroad, they seem to be constantly connected and on their smartphones during these activities. 54% of survey respondents said they use their smartphone while on holiday. This figure skyrockets for millennials with 70% staying glued to their mobile devices while travelling. This shows how important mobile devices and being constantly connected have become in the daily lives of Singaporeans.
Sharing travel experiences online is common practice
Ten years ago, most Singaporean travellers shared their travel experiences with family and friends via physical photo albums and slide shows (57%). More than half (55%) shared their travel memories by meeting up face-to-face and one quarter of travellers sent postcards. Only 14% used social media platforms to share travel pictures or videos a decade ago.
These days, sharing travel experiences via social networks has overtaken more traditional methods. For 76% of Singaporean travellers, instant experience-sharing is the way to go, enabled by the large number of online sharing platforms and chat-based mobile apps now available. For sharing their travel experiences with friends and followers, most Singaporeans prefer to use their smartphone (52%) over their computer (35%).
Imbert Fung, Director of Southeast Asia at KAYAK, said: “Consumers rely on their smart devices in every area of their lives and travelling is no different. As the role of mobile grows in every step of the travel cycle, we at KAYAK pride ourselves on adapting to our users’ needs to provide the technology they demand to plan and manage their travel in a seamless and intuitive way. Our mobile app is the best example, as it is designed to give travellers the information they need before they book, and assist them throughout their trip, including features to organise and manage itineraries with Trips.”
Research conducted by Survey Opinionway for KAYAK. Fieldwork conducted between 1 and 13 April 2016. In total, 12,065 people were surveyed, of whom 1,000 were from Singapore.