Making the most of mobile opportunities in the travel industry

24 March 2014 / Anna Roberts

The rapid adoption of tablet and mobile devices is well documented, yet while travellers are taking advantage of mobile to gather information and insight while on the go, the statistics around the number of people using mobile devices to make bookings are surprisingly low.

Instead, travellers tend to book their holidays on their PC, desktop or laptop. In fact, the ABTA Consumer Trends report showed 96 per cent of those surveyed booked through a PC or laptop while mobile and tablet bookings are on the decline (August 2012-13).

But this doesn’t match overall device usage statistics. According to a report by IDC and Gartner, global PC shipments have declined by seven per cent over the last year. And for mobile usage? Well, Google announced that over 46 per cent of searches are now exclusively through mobiles.

So why are people mainly booking on their PC or laptop? With Google recently reporting that around 77 per cent of mobile searches occur at home or in the office, we can’t presume that users are driven by their location. Behaviour is more likely to be driven by how easy, or more likely cumbersome, it is to make a booking from a mobile or tablet device. And it’s easy to see how users could be put off with Econsultancy finding that none of the top 50 airlines in the world has a responsive website.

It’s also easy to see how this is a missed opportunity. The World Tourism Organisation predicts a four per cent increase in travel spending in 2014 and expects mobile to account for over 30 per cent of online travel sales by 2017. So, travel brands should aim to get their slice of this growing pie by making sure their customer journey is seamless across all devices.

A number of travel companies are already prioritising mobile technology as an essential area to focus on in the year ahead. Some forward-thinking brands have started to develop mobile-only travel agencies, focusing on ‘tonight-only’ bookings made by travellers on the move. However, this may not stay niche for long as behaviours and technology continue to change. In order to keep up, traditional online booking agencies must look to address mobile user behaviour and enable cross-platform engagement.

At Jaywing, we recognise the importance of these statistics and what they mean for the travel industry. With our expertise in using mobile-first techniques and User Experience design, we are perfectly placed to help travel brands make the most of mobile opportunities. Brían Taylor, our Digital Managing Director, explored this topic in more detail on Brand Republic’s blog, The Wall.