Online travel agencies leave hotels at the door when it comes to mobile booking

Consumers are opting to book hotels via online travel agencies rather than direct with suppliers when it comes to booking via smartphone according to some research.

The Criteo Travel Flash report reveals says hotels bookings made on smartphone are three times higher for OTAs compared with hotels and that the trend increases from January when OTA bookings are about 19% to June when they hit 26%.

By contrast, bookings via smartphone to hotels stay around 7% throughout the six month period.

This could be for a number of reasons, not least the ability to compare properties more easily using an OTA’s app or website and the amount of development OTAs have put into their mobile strategies.

The Criteo report also shows the propensity to use smartphones for shorter stays with the devices only accounting for 10% of booking of a week or more but rising to 18% for stays of one night. And, smartphones account for 47% of same-day hotel bookings rising to 58% when you factor in tablet bookings.

This is also borne out further in the study by looking at the number of page views which precede a booking. For example, about 18% of bookings preceded by fewer than five page views are made on smartphone but this decreases to 7% for bookings preceded by more than 100 page views.

As a result of the shorter stays and often less complex bookings, the average booking value tends to be lower on a smartphone.

The report also reveals interesting findings around device usage by time of day and time of the week. Smartphones accounted for 22% in the morning dropping to 16% in the afternoon. In addition, share of smartphone bookings is higher on the weekend.

Overall, the report shows that the share of mobile bookings has almost doubled from 12% for the first quarter of 2014 to 23% for the same period in 2015.

Mobile applications are also proving popular and account for 49% of mobile bookings for companies who have invested in the in-app tracking technology.

Further highlights include:

  • Apartment rentals top the mobile booking rankings with 31% made via mobile.
  • Car rental is the fastest growing segment with 18% of bookings by mobile for the first six months of 2014 compared to 26% for the first half of 2015.
  • There are also regional variations with Japan, the US and Sweden experiencing a mobile booking share of about 30% while other western countries including the UK, France and Spain are around the 22% mark.
  • Interesting to note that some countries have a far higher percentage of bookings on tablet than smartphone e.g. Denmark when smartphone bookings are 8% and tablet, 17%.

Separately, a HotelTonight study of more than 1,000 US smartphone owners shows 57% of Hispanics are likely to research their travel plans via smartphone compared to 40% of non-Hispanics.

For the segment of frequent travellers, 65% of Hispanics are likely to book a hotel using a smartphone compared to 57% of non-Hispanic frequent travellers.

The Criteo Travel Flash Report looks at a billion online bookings from more than 100 of travel suppliers and online travel agents. The full study can be downloaded here.

Further reading:

Commuter effect takes hold in travel as iPhone browsing overtakes iPad.

Travel Flash report from 2014 – Travel bookings by mobile on the rise in share and value.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda Fox is managing editor for Tnooz. For the past decade years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.

In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.

Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.



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  1. Daniele Beccari

    That’s right: a billion bookings. It took us a while to digest…


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