mobile travel
914 days ago
 

Majority of smartphone owners now accessing travel content via their devices

Wake-up-and-the-smell-the-coffee moment for the tourism industry with data showing for the first time that the majority of smartphone users are using their devices to check out travel content.

The study by ComScore found 51% of owners of mobiles such as iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry devices accessed travel-related products, services and other related content on their mobiles in the three-month period ending February 2012.

Furthermore, one in five made a hotel or air ticket booking on their mobiles over the same period.

Four out of five users included in the US-based poll (62% male/38% female, 33% aged 25-34, 22% income $50K-$75K), accessed both air and hotel-related content.

So what are these users doing (percentage is of smartphone owners)?

Air-related content:

  • Checked airfare prices – 26%
  • Looked up a phone number (i.e. airline) – 25%
  • Looked at flight schedules – 25%
  • Checked a flight status (arrival/delays) – 25%
  • Looked up airport information – 24%
  • Checked in for a flight – 21%
  • Received price alerts for flights – 19%
  • Booked a flight – 18%
  • Received SMS alerts for a flight status – 17%
  • Tracked the status of a checked bag – 13%
  • Cancelled a flight – 10%

Hotel-related content:

  • Looked up hotel address/directions – 29%
  • Looked up/ researched attractions/ things to do at my destination/near my hotel – 23%
  • Looked up/researched places to eat at my destination/near my hotel – 22%
  • Read a hotel review – 22%
  • Compared hotel prices & availability – 21%
  • Booked a hotel room – 18%
  • Received price alerts for hotels – 18%
  • Looked up/researched ground transportation at my destination/near my hotel – 17%
  • Cancelled a hotel reservation – 10%

ComScore senior vice president of mobile, Mark Donovan, says the data illustrates the massive importance and influential role of mobile on the travel shopping and management experience. He adds a warning:

“Both OTAs and suppliers need to understand the demographic and behavioral characteristics of these mobile travelers in order to build effective mobile strategies that complement their online presence.

“Failure to develop a strong mobile presence could result in unsatisfied customers and lost opportunities to convert new audiences, leaving brands vulnerable to competitors who adapt more quickly to addressing consumers’ shifting consumption habits.”

NB: Mobile travel image via Shutterstock.

 
 
Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.

He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.

 

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  5. Software Usability

    The growth of mobile is incredible for sure. I use my mobile device all the time to check travel arrangements, check-in, check prices, etc… But I never use it to actually make reservations due to security, performance, and usability issues. All unrelated but equally important. Mobile security is not up to the same level as devices are not secure, performance has always been an issue and even with 4G it seems it is never fast enough. And usability, well, most sites are not designed well for mobile and its difficult to do what you want very easily. For al these reasons, I just stick to the web and stay away from mobile for making my reservations.

     
  6. Alex Hogan

    Kevin,

    I’m surprised to see that only 23% looked for activities at their destination and 22% looked up restaurants at their destination. I would expect those number to increase, especially as LBS content gets more accessible.
    I’m curious.., how many of those numbers reflect people accessing through an app and how many through their browser?

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @alex – we have asked for a number of things to expanded on/clarified, but have yet to hear back, alas. Will update the article when I get it. Thx.

       
  7. Loren

    Kevin,

    Great information, especially the breakdowns as to particular usage types. I also appreciate those who have responded to your article with strategy suggestions. I do however want to ‘toss in an idea’. We may be at a point that the technology may leapfrog the current methods for mobile interaction as contributed by your respondents. With the ever-changing development of new”sniffer” programs to determine the platform interacting with your website, we are now able to not only know what particular product it is, but its relevant location. With that type of customization combined with the information statistically you provided from ComScore why not have ‘different’ sites that reflect the users potential need, (i.e., within three miles more of a concierge type interface, outside three miles more of a ‘web content’ interface…etc.,) Just a thought. In the meanwhile how about we ask the brands and online booking engines to make mobile booking platforms that work correctly and without lost content. That would be a great help, since we’re forced to use what they give. (smile)

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @loren – thx for your note and great points.

      You will see an article on Tnooz in the next few days outlining exactly some of those elements you raised. I saw a presentation last week where a company is slicing and dicing data to that degree – and the results are amazing.

       
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  13. Lorenzo

    Great report. For sure any big time travel company that hasn’t gone “mobile friendly” yet are behind the times.

     
  14. Bruce Rosard

    How many times do the smart research companies need to present the hockey stick growth of mobile before the suppliers and intermediaries get it and get serious about mobile?

    I believe that Travel 3.0 is here, and it is specifically the transition of the Search, Shop, Buy, Share process of travel moving from the desktop to mobile and tablets, and this Comscore data is just one more indication of that.

    If you’re not serious about mobile now, you will lose market share (period).

    If you need more research before investing to ensure you make the appropriate investments, let me know!

    http://tinyurl.com/6rdvqa9

     
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  16. Mandy Green

    Kevin,

    Thank you for this overview. As the percentage of smart-phone owners continues to increase, these numbers will be sharply on the rise. Currently, one-third of US adults own smartphones, and a projected 65% will own them within three years (according to InStat). Gartner expects 1.1 billion smartphones to ship world-wide by 2015. Mobile has, and will continue to, drive changes in the hospitality industry.

     
  17. John McAuliffe

    Hi Kevin – thanks for the overview of this “wake up moment” study.

    The growth in mobile access to the internet – both tablet and smartphone – is unbelievable. There are still too many suppliers (property and brand level) and travel websites that are not mobile optimized. In fact I am finding many are confused between optimized and compatible… being just because your site is viewable on a mobile device doesn’t mean that it is optimized for the device.

    Consumers also want the same features they find on your standard website on their mobile device… so the answer is not stripping out features for optimization sake.

    Hoteliers would be well advised to understand the capabilities and footprint of each device and optimize their websites based on this. Recently we published a white paper on this topic http://bit.ly/HnsH3f

     
 
 

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