RSA research reveals travelling has now gone the social media way
Dubai, UAE, 27th November 2018: 96% of UAE residents admit that travel photos are important to them, according to latest research launched by RSA, a leading provider of insurance services in the region.The research unveils how UAE travellers’ relationship with social media extends to various aspects of the travel decision-making process including before, during and after the vacation – covering all phases from research, booking the trip to posting about the experiences.
Launched for the first time, the report titled “XX” examined the responses of more than 500 UAE residents, to assess their attitudes towards the impact of social media on their travel-related decisions. The survey covered leisure travellers above the age of 18 years old who took at least one trip in the past two years. Established working professionals above the age of 30 comprise the majority of the respondent base (85%). The findings reveal that most UAE travellers (80%) plan their trip keeping in mind the photos that they will be taking.
Chris Dooley, CEO RSA UAE and MD RSA Bahrain, said: “Boasting robust infrastructure, the UAE is strategically nestled between major travel destinations and as such, offers residents plenty of choices for their holidays. Given the high-penetration of social media amongst the population (99.26%), it is not surprising that one of the most tech-savvy populations worldwide would rely on social media for information as well as to share their travel photos. As one of the leading insurers in the market, we have invested in this research as part of our relentless efforts to better understand consumers’ preferences and offer solutions that respond to their evolving requirements.”
A nation who loves to travel and take photos
According to the research, 1 in 4 respondents (24%) made 5 to 10 trips in the last two years. Moreover, around 1 in 10 (9%) said that they have made more than 20 trips during the same period. Known for its expat-concentrated population, these figures exclude the number of trips expatriates would normally make to visit their family and friends in their home country. The fear of missing out (56%) is responsible for residents’ passion for travel in an aim to take photos and share them on social media.
Testament to this, 69% of people in the UAE feel the need to travel to a specific destination after seeing posts and photos on social media. During the planning phase, travellers spend their time researching the best spots for photos to ensure these locations are covered in their travel plans. Afraid to miss out on the most Instagrammable locations, 62% said they choose the top attractions to visit as listed on sites and forums to get photos in these locations; 53% will at least research the best locations that would make for good photos; 48% would go into the specifics of finding out the best time to visit each location to get the best possible photo; and more surprisingly, 33% would plan poses or shots beforehand for the locations they will be visiting.
When asked about the importance of travel photos, 75% mentioned that travel photos are as important to them as travel itself. Also, 65% of UAE respondents think that these are the most important things in their life while the majority (80%) would be devastated should they lose their travel pictures.
Trusting total strangers for travel inspiration
Recommendations from family and friends (63%) and airline/hotel packages (54%) are the top sources to get travel inspiration for the next travel destination. Interestingly, more than half of respondents (53%) use these online forums to get travel advice because they believe the information comes from like-minded individuals who have had a first-hand experience and hence, the information they get is trustworthy – even if it comes from people they have never met in their life.
Influencers also feature as one of the main sources of travel inspiration namely, travel blogs or online articles by travel influencers (42%), and photos posted by travel influencers on social media platforms (35%). Furthermore, 38% will look at travel influencers who have visited a specific attraction and visit the same place they did in each destination thus revealing how much social media influencers are inspiring today’s travellers.
Commenting on these findings, Michelle Karam, leading travel influencer known as Travel Junkie Diary, said: “I would like to commend RSA for investing in this research as it reveals the extent to which social media impacts travellers’ choices. This bestows a great responsibility upon travel influencers to be as transparent as possible with their audience, given the impact they have on them.”
Going the extra mile to take the best shots
More than a quarter of the UAE population (28%) go beyond just taking a few photos and put in additional efforts to get good travel photos. In fact, around 1 in 5 (18%) consider technical aspects like camera angles, lighting among others to take the best possible photos while 11% will plan to take their photos and go out of their way to put together a good shot.
Indicative of travellers’ persistence to take the perfect photos, around 1 in 4 respondents are willing to take rather extreme measures like waking up before sunrise to capture the perfect lighting (27%), trekking to hard-to-teach locations to get photos (27%), staying out till later in the night to get photos without crowds (24%), or even enduring uncomfortable conditions to get a better shot (24%).
Posting online is the new postcard
Testament to the rising importance of sharing travel photos online, around 6 in 10 of leisure travellers (58%) would choose a specific travel destination because of the potential great images they can share on social media. Close to half of respondents (46%) post their travel photos on social media, while a slightly higher proportion (53%) share them privately with family and friends.
Among those who post travel photos on social media, 70% said that they feel like their travel experience is incomplete if they do not end up posting photos on social media. Around 3 in 4 respondents (74%) say that doing so makes them feel good about themselves, while 70% admit that they like the attention they get from their travel photos.
A sizeable proportion resort to some form of photo editing to achieve the best shot. In fact, 1 in 3 respondents of those who post their travel photos online perform basic beautification (29%), advanced beautification editing (30%).
Travel insurance, a neglected priority
Close to a quarter of respondents (24%) said that they have faced a bad incident in the past which made them regret not having travel insurance in place. The research confirms the lack of awareness amongst the population vis-à-vis travel insurance. While medical emergencies and baggage loss or delay are both the most well-known covers, passport loss is the least known benefit (37%) even though it ranked as the third most important benefit (47%).
“We notice that travellers are so focused on taking the best travel shots and they tend to forget about ensuring peace of mind by taking out travel insurance. At RSA, we believe that all holidays should be worry-free – and picture-perfect. That’s why we offer the leading, most comprehensive travel insurance product to protect travellers against common travel mishaps,” concluded Harris.