Consumer confidence to do online hotel bookings is on the rise in India, with an estimated 8.4 million Indians likely to book hotels online by 2016. This was revealed in a report compiled by Google India based on a face to face research conducted by TNS interviewing travellers who had booked a hotel in last one year and are active Internet users across India. The report revealed that the online hotel booking Industry will be worth US$ 1.8 bln from the current US$ 0.8 bln.
The findings suggested, that there is a significant headroom for growth in the sector, as the ease of access to information and details available online are propelling consumer confidence to book hotels online. While today, only 29 per cent of the users book hotels online, the base of total number of users who research for hotel information online and book offline was very high. Interestingly, 83 per cent of users who research for hotels online are comfortable with transacting online and do an online transaction once a month.
Throwing more light on the behaviour of consumers who book hotels in India, the report revealed that 57 per cent of users who research online but book hotels offline, prefer relaxation trips and 36 per cent of users who research online and book hotels onlines prefer luxury leisure trips. Interestingly, more women (50 per cent) research and book hotels online compared to men (41 per cent).
Speaking about the findings of the research, Vikas Agnihotri, industry director, Google India said, “The research findings reveal the high growth potential for online hotel bookings in India. While the overall user base of people looking for information on hotels online was very high, the conversion is still happening offline. We hope the report will provide meaningful insight to the industry to overcome the gaps that exists in their offerings and grow the sector to its full potential.”
In terms of demographics users in the age group of 35– 44 are the most savvy when it comes to booking hotels online. The report revealed the growing usage of mobile phones as the preferred choice of device for accessing the internet in India. On Google search, hotel searches from mobile saw 30x growth from 2011 to 2014. This was validated in the offline research, where over 27 per cent respondents said they use mobile phones to search and book hotels on the internet and over 56 per cent of users who book hotels online have a travel app installed.
Findings also revealed that short duration trips are on the rise in India, as leisure travellers prefer more than two or more trips in a year, with 64 per cent respondents preferring short trips of less than five days. Budget accommodation is the most popular with users in India, with 49 per cent users booking budget hotels, 32 per cent users book economy hotels and 19 per cent users book luxury hotels. Friends emerged as the most preferred travel companions at 37 per cent followed by family at 31 per cent.