Mobile is #1 for Travel Research and Booking
June 15, 2016 2:49pm
Just two weeks ago, Memorial Day kicked off the 2016 summer season, bringing with it the promise of sunshine, barbecues, outdoor activities and, of course, some much-needed vacation time.
As many Americans gear up for summer and begin taking the trips they’ve been thinking about all year, we wanted to dig deeper and find out more about how they use their mobile devices for researching and booking flights, accommodations and activities. So, we surveyed 1,000 mobile users in the U.S. across our mobile ad platform to find out. Here’s what we discovered:
Two years ago, eMarketer declared that “half of digital travel researchers will check out flights, hotels and more not only on a desktop or laptop PC but also (or only) via mobile.”
They also predicted that in 2016, 85% of Internet users will research travel online (with 62% of them doing so via mobile) and that 50% of users will book online, over two-fifths of them doing so via mobile.
Our survey findings confirm that projection, as we discovered that mobile is now #1 for travel research and booking among U.S. travelers.
We asked travelers whether they prefer to research on desktop or mobile, and 66% preferred mobile. Of this group, 70% of those that fell into the millennial demographic stated they preferred their smartphones for research over desktop.
And when we asked which digital platform they prefer to book on, 51% said they preferred mobile. Overall, 85% of travelers use a mobile device to book travel activities!
We took a look at the mobile-first habits and found that 45% rely on mobile apps when booking accommodations and activities; one in three travelers said that mobile apps like TripAdvisor and Yelp are their go-to resource when researching. This is definitely part of a deeper trend of consumers spending more time in high quality apps that add real value to their “everyday.” In fact, travel apps are among the top 5 categories of apps where mobile ad campaigns are seeing higher levels of engagement.
But what is the mobile traveler’s path to purchase? What gets them from researching to actually booking accommodations and activities? That is the key answer that we wanted to answer for mobile marketers. Here’s what we found:
The traveling mobile companion
There are still some U.S. travelers, however, who are slower to adopt mobile for travel purposes; we’ve called this group the “Mobile Hesitant”. Yet, interestingly enough, one in three travelers from this “Mobile Hesitant” group will sometimes defer to mobile for booking purposes; something our friends in the travel industry should definitely take note of.
Though this group still turns to desktop first for travel research and booking, they do rely heavily on their mobile devices while on their trip, as more than half of them research places to eat and use navigation apps (Waze, Google Maps). And 23% of this group uses a travel app while vacationing – perhaps utilizing a mobile check-in or booking their next trip? And, of course, one in three of these travelers will be sure to share their updates and pictures on social media.
As we see mobile users shifting to spending more time in app vs. mobile web, it will be interesting to see how travel and hospitality apps will compete for consumer attention. What will it take: seamless UI? Engaging content? Perhaps a new player will come into the picture: a mobile concierge app.
Similar to a real concierge, this hypothetical app would key into the traveler’s location, food preferences, interests, hobbies and more – essentially becoming the “one-stop shop” for all mobile travel activities. The app would provide suggestions for dining, entertainment and lodging, among other things. This could provide opportunities for other apps, such as Uber for example, to place an ad: “It’s almost time for dinner! Need an Uber?”
Yes, it seems like quite a stretch, but then again, we’re sure travel agents thought the same thing about online booking services. You never know what’s possible in the mobile world.
The mobile travel trend: What it means for brands and marketers
From our survey, we saw a clear trend toward the mobile device as the primary source for travel research and booking among U.S. consumers. But what does this mean for brand marketers?
About the survey:
How do U.S. consumers use their devices when making travel plans? Opera Mediaworks surveyed 1,000 people to find out the role of smartphones and tablets for research and booking upcoming trips.
Tags: mobile travel
Contact: Alexis Gold
Menin Hospitality Selects RoomKey as Preferred Mobile Travel Agent
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