African travellers are thinking mobile now more than ever, according to an independent research study commissioned by Amadeus, a global technology partner for the global travel industry.
The Africa travel research study was conducted by research-led strategy consultancy, Inquisition on behalf of Amadeus to explore existing mobile usage behaviour within the travel experience across the African continent. 2,500 people were surveyed through mobile phones across seven countries: Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa. These were people who had travelled up to 12 months prior to the study and in the 18 to 44 age range.
“While we’re aware that more than 90 per cent of travellers have smartphones, we wanted to find out directly from African travellers which travel services they found the most valuable on their mobile phones,” comments Vincent Hoffmann, Director of Strategy, Inquisition.
Juan Torres, General Manager East Africa, notes “The research shows that while travellers still rely on travel agencies to book travel, having a shop and website isn’t enough anymore. Travellers are constantly connected and expect to access the information they want, through their chosen channel, on their chosen device at any given time. This is particularly true of our Kenyan travellers for whom, connectivity is a key priority.
He further highlights “Travel agencies should look to offer some form of mobile solution offering to meet the demands of the modern traveller in order to stay competitive”.
Further key findings from the report have shown that:
- Travel planning happens in a relatively short time frame
- 51% booking less than 1 month before departure. Comparatively, this was higher in Kenya with 68% booking less than one month before departure.
- African travellers require the ability to interact with their mobiles at every step of the journey, before, during and after their trip
- 46% of African Travellers require the capability to manage hotel requirements including booking, itinerary management and amendments. In Kenya, 53% use their phone to change hotel bookings.
- 37% of African Travellers have in the past 12 months booked accommodation via a smartphone.
- 55% of African travellers require integration with social networks to connect with friends and share trip details. In Kenya, this rate was much higher – 65% of Kenyans have integrated their social networks so as to share their trip.
- Travellers are willing to trade social network data in exchange for discounts and offers related to their behaviour
- A third of the respondents have travel apps on their mobile phones. Discovery of apps is primarily via social networks, applications stores and friend recommendations
- Travel apps, which offer help to travellers to orientate themselves and which act as a virtual tour guide, are most popular these being Google Maps, TripAdvisor and Google Currency Converter. 47% of Kenyans use the Google Maps app to find their way around
- Online and mobile payment options result in a low level of trial usage. Only 48% of Kenyans are most likely to have paid for a service or good via smartphone. This is lower than both South Africa (53%) and Nigeria (63%)
- Kenyan travellers are split in their usage of payments on mobile phones: 43% stated ‘No’, while 48% stated ‘Yes.’
- On the need to make mobile transactions, 43% of Kenyan travellers haven’t had the need to, while 47% have security concerns to do so.
- On making payments, 18% of Kenyan travellers do so directly to travel Agents while 43% are likely to use Debit / Credit cards saved on their phones.
- Of the countries surveyed, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Angola are least likely to have previously transacted with a debit/credit card on a mobile phone
Mobile phones provide near ubiquitous access to Internet across much of the continent and data collected across all markets show that African travellers are ready and willing to transact on mobile and online platforms.
For detailed results of the study per market please visit the Amadeus Africa blog.
Amadeus is a provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel industry. Customer groups include travel providers (e.g. airlines, hotels, rail and ferry operators, etc.), travel sellers (travel agencies and websites), and travel buyers (corporations and travel management companies). In 2003, Amadeus opened operations in East Africa with commercial organisation in Kenya. Amadeus now have offices in Uganda and Tanzania.
Inquisition is a research and strategy consultancy based in Johannesburg, South Africa.