As much as bricks-and-mortar travel agents remain a popular choice for travellers throughout Africa for their travel plans, mobile and online services are increasingly being demanded as smartphone penetration expands across the continent.
Amadeus recently commissioned a study into the travel habits of over 2 500 people in Angola, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, which revealed that 36% of travellers polled take control of their travel bookings using online tools, and of these most were comfortable booking hotel accommodation (37%) more than flight bookings (27%).
The study shows that there is a move toward self-management of travel services across the travel experience from pre-booking travel research, through to booking, and managing a travel experience.
Getting App happy
African travellers also share similar requirements from mobile travel apps, with demand across the board for itinerary management, booking management, social network integration and rating and review services.
The favoured apps used by African travellers are those that help travellers orientate themselves and which act as a virtual tourist guide, the latter providing an opportunity for travel agents in Africa to offer a more concierge-style service while travellers are on the road.
Mobile payments still represent a small proportion of payment for travel services booked, with direct deposits to a travel agency still the bulk at 36% of those polled, and 25% directly with the supplier.
Interestingly, compared with other African markets, Angola, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Senegal lag in terms of paying for services with a smartphone. The study indicates that this is due to security concerns and a lack of service providers with secure, viable online and mobile payment options.
Despite these security concerns, African travellers are ready and willing to transact on mobile and online platforms and there is every indication, according to this research, that travel agencies that offer online booking and management services will increase their relevance for African travellers in the future.
Check out amadeusafricablog.com for more results from our Africa travel behaviour research in the coming weeks…