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. According to the research, photos shared on social media are increasingly impacting the travel journey from getting the inspiration for new experiences and destinations to sharing patterns.
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, with the fear of missing out acting as one of the key drivers of this trend (61%). 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. As such, a key trend is emerging where people are increasingly basing their decisions on information from total strangers whom 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, entrepreneur and 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. Going the extra mile for the best travel photos is linked to the importance that 53% of travellers place on securing the highest number of comments and likes. 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.
With more than 300- year heritage, RSA is one of the world’s leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK, Scandinavia, Canada, Ireland and the Middle East and has the capability to write business in over 100 countries. Focusing on general insurance, RSA has over 13,000 employees and, in 2017, its net written premiums were £6.7 billion.
RSA has major operations in the Middle East as part of its UK & International business. The commercial product portfolio spans a range of insurance solutions for small and mid-market sectors to large and complex risks. The company’s personal insurance range is equally comprehensive with products including motor, home, travel, golf, yacht, personal accident and medical.
© Press Release 2018