If I were to explain what transformation means, I would love to take you to the example of the changing face of travel in India. Yes, I am referring to the revolutionary Digital India campaign that has converted an average Indian into a travel freak. Until the past couple of years, pleasure travel was no less than a distant dream for an average Indian. It was hard to find the Indian blood travelling to countries abroad for vacations. Caught in the daily 9 to 5 grind, a majority of my friends in India would rarely take the pains of visiting a travel agent to find answers to all their travel related queries. A travel plan was a herculean task for their families and it remained confined to either those who were super affluent, NRIs or were sponsored for business trips. But, not anymore! Connecting the dots with a mere introduction of online accessibility to enquiry and bookings, Digital India Campaign has revolutionized the face of travel within the country. While digitization of payments is one big factor converting Indians into travel freaks, the rise of Online Travel Alliances and social media marketing are other agents contributing to this change. Let’s talk about some of them in detail here:
1) Informed Travel Choices: By now, this has become needless to speak about how internet has changed lives across the globe. However, in context of the travel face of the Indian population, you might have much more to uncover, realise and be delighted about. Statistics reveal that Indians aged between 26 and 40 extensively search the internet for all their business and leisure travels, comparing merits of destinations vis. a vis., finding the perfect hotel choices that are pocket-friendly as well as quality driven. Well, why this amazes the world so much is the velocity at which this transformation showed up. Information or rather in-depth details of destinations, both domestic as well as abroad, keep pouring in the moment you key a search. Ah! Isn’t that just so awesome?
2) Online Travel Alliances: The online travel alliances or the OTAs such as Trivago, TripAdvisor, etc., have been the biggest boon to the Indian travel industry. We all want to fall back at someone who is responsible enough for handling all our tedious stuff. This, even when it may cost a little extra. That’s exactly how it has worked for the travel industry in India. These OTAs assure you that they will take care of everything that falls within your sphere of requirements while promising to keep you informed about every bit of it. Right from booking your air tickets to organising a stay, food, local travel as well as shopping, etc., they aim at being your companion in a destination, which is otherwise alien to you.
3) Social Media Marketing: Much before you begin to search about a destination or even a hotel choice, you may end up seeing a suite of options on your social channels. Have you experienced this too? You last searched for Malaysia and your Facebook wall shows you much more about Malaysia as well as Thailand the very next hour…. Well, I am not just talking about the ads, I am referring to the recommendations as well. What makes it even better is that most of this information is driven by genuine reviews and experiences of past travellers. And, why not, after all, this info walks down to you automatically, without you even asking for it. In addition, when you travel to a destination, you are mostly up for providing a feedback about it – whether good or bad – you wouldn’t mind rating your experience if someone asks you. Social media, that powerfully manages communication between friends, strangers and not-so-strange people, has emerged as a change agent too for the Indian travel sector.
4) Digitization of Payment: Given all of the above change agents leading to the digital revolution in the country and awakening a generation full of well-informed, net savvy travellers, it is pertinent to take into account the role of online payments too. The digitization of payments via several payment wallets, forget about cashless transactions even, is one huge factor altering the travel economics in India a big way. The demonetization conundrum that surfaced in 2016 was a big boost to the eWallets like Paytm and others.
The face of travel in India is now a blend of technology, dream realizations, stress relief and a status symbol. Indians never thought of travel in such an uncomplicated way as a majority of them do now. The digital India campaign has empowered travel decisions by enabling Indians choose faster and travel more.