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Google’s travel searches show India on the move

business Updated: Dec 19, 2010 21:26 IST
Anita Sharan

Google India’s research has thrown up some interesting findings on the latest travel trends among Indian consumers, based on online searches on Google.

Kiran Mani, business head, Google India, said, “Based on popular demand, we are bringing out industry level reports, starting with travel.”

On a comparison of the last 12 months over the previous 12 months, he said that while the internet audience has grown by 60%, travel queries over the internet have grown one-and-a-half times. Currently, the internet search audience in India is 81 million.

Google found that over the last 12-14 months, internet search over the mobile phone has increased seven times.

Currently, while internet searches on desktops and laptops account for around 80 million users, mobile internet searches add up to 35 million users,” Mani said.

There is a difference between online travel search patterns on the desktops/laptops and on mobile phones, which Mani attributed to the mobile searches being “very actionable, ‘personal’ and ‘now’ behaviour.”

For example, while hotels and accommodation tops the desktop/laptop-based searches at 54.43%, followed by air travel at 27.45% and holidays at 8.7%, mobile searches are led by holiday destination at 56%, hotels and accommodation at 23% and air travel at 12%.

Top search activities include online bookings, cheap flights, fares, flight status and seat availability. Enquiries peak in May-June and again in October-December.

There has been a 65% growth in hotel queries, but less than 10% queries relate to hotel brands. While interest in 5-star hotels has gone up by six times, interest in budget hotels have gone up four times.

“Though people are buying more on the sweet-spot hotel rates of R3,000-5,000, the increase on 5-star searches indicates growing aspiration and the desire to get a comparative feel of hotels,” said Mani. Ginger (Taj Group) and ITC hotels are the most searched, followed by Oberoi and Taj.

For holidays, hill station searches are higher than those for beaches. Weekend getaways are also popular. Short foreign travel favourites are Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore and Mauritius; Switzerland is also popular. Air travel queries have risen by 50%.