Brands Must Connect With Mobile Travelers


January 7, 2015

Did you know the mobile travel audience spends on average 35% of their time looking for travel content on smartphones or tablets? And if you think mobile travelers represent only a small fraction on the travel industry, think again!

Source: U.S. Consumer Travel Report Sixth Edition

According to the most recent Consumer Travel Report, mobile travel gross bookings represented 5% of the total travel market in 2014 and should rise up to 7% in 2015. But not all mobile travel is built the same: according to Travel Weekly, mobile bookings accounted for 20% of hotel sales on OTAs last year.

And when you consider online travel only, mobile bookings represented 16% of total online revenues in 2014 and is expected to shoot up to 25% in 2015! That’s right, one out of every four dollars generated in the online travel industry will originate from a mobile device. Are travel brands ready for this shift?

How brands can connect with mobile travelers

Technology firm Usablenet came up with a pretty comprehensive infographic detailing what the modern mobile traveler looks like and how brands can better connect with them, understanding what content they are looking for and how they engage, depending whether the travel purpose is leisure or business.

Contents mobile travelers consume during their trip:

  • 46% Weather & climate info
  • 44% Restaurant info and reviews
  • 37% Things to do
  • 33% Travel related videos

Looking at these stats, no wonder review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, or apps like Foursquare, have such a strong foothold with mobile travelers: they provide what these folks are looking for while at the destination.

Activities that start on a device, end on another:

  • 47% Browse/look for destinations/vacation ideas
  • 43% Look for or compare pricing information
  • 40% Look for promotions/deals

From my experience, there are few destination sites that are responsive or mobile-optimized. This means there is an even greater need to catch up since mobile travelers are out there, browsing for their next vacation or getaway and many destinations aren’t equipped to wow them accordingly.

On the influence of rewards programs:

  • 48% of Millenials indicate that loyalty programs are very important when booking flights, compared to only 31% of consumers aged 46-65.
  • 51% of Millenials consider loyalty programs important when booking a hotel, compared to 30% of consumers aged 46-65.

In fact, Millenials are the most mobile-heavy travelers, representing 38% of total users booking online, according to a separate report by PhoCusWright. Since they showcase a higher level of loyalty to brands offering rewards program, travel brands need to take note and adapt, specially if Millenials are part of their target market.

Read also: The Multiscreen Evolution of Travel Decisions

Chech out the complete infographic below for more interesting stats and findings.

Source: Usablenet

If you are a travel brand, how are you adapting to this new reality? If you are a traveler, how important has mobile become into your decion-making process? Let me know in the comment section below.

Frederic Gonzalo
Frederic Gonzalo

Senior marketing and communications expert & speaker with more than 20 years of expertise in the travel and hospitality industry. Consulting since early 2012, I provide strategic planning, social media & mobile development counseling to small and medium businesses alike. Reach me at frederic@gonzomarketing.biz

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