Mobile Behavior of the Modern Traveler
Traveler Insights Part 1: The Mobile Experience
According to Google Smarthink Insights on hospitality and travel trends, more travelers than ever before are consulting travel information on their mobile devices. Statistics show that 40% of unique page visits to U.S. travel sites and 60% of destination information searches now come from mobile devices¹.
Once the traveler has decided on a destination, 70% of them will use smartphones to do research. Searching online is the most common way to discover the brands they ultimately book with and 31% of leisure travelers and 53% of business travelers book travel on a smartphone².
Mobile is also helping people find what they want more quickly. Time spent per session on mobile travel sites is down 7%, while mobile web conversion rates for travel sites have grown 88% in the past year ³.
According to the global research travel company PhocusWright, mobile travelers in the U.S. are increasingly using smartphones to plan or book a trip. Two in three travelers have either serached or booked a hotel on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Nearly half are under the age of 35 years while older travelers are also comfortable traveling with their mobile. Around 69% of mobile travelers feel they can find the same flight and hotel information on a smartphone compared to any other device, and 66% of mobile travelers are comfortable planning or booking a trip with a smartphone. When asked if travel is a very important part of their lifestyle, more mobile travelers strongly agreed than non-mobile travelers, and they took more time on trips and spent more on travel.
Mobile engagement on a deeper level
When looking at Google's concept of the travel customer journey, there is a huge amount of untapped travel intent that marketers can target by addressing "I-want-to-get-away moments." 38% of non-branded searches — like flights to Florida or hotels in Chicago — were done via mobile devices in 2015. Mobile flight-related queries on Google.com are up 33% year-on-year, while mobile hotel queries are up 49%.
Upon arriving at a hotel, a traveler's mobile search behavior is about exploring their unfamiliar surroundings. Mobile queries per user from hotel properties have grown 49% since last year, with many including the phrase "near me."
What to expect from the modern traveler in 2017
Mobile vs Desktop
Based on Phocuswright research, modern day travelers are increasingly using their smartphone to plan future travel and destination purchases. The modern day traveler will use their mobiles more often to book flights and to find the best experiences while at their destination of travel.
However, in the most mature online markets, research shows that travelers are still holding on to entrenched desktop habits when it comes to booking. Hotel and travel providers should consider enhancing the user booking experience of their mobile hotel websites to encourage more users to book on smartphones.
The majority of U.S. travel bookings will not be booked on mobile in 2017. Despite the preference of the modern traveler for using mobile in reality, users still get on a desktop to make final bookings as hospitality and travel providers have yet to make a mark in mobile commerce.
Rise of In-Destination Travel
Based on statistics from the U.S., online market, in-destination travel activities from North America, Europe and Asia combined are valued at USD112 billion, making it a significant emerging segment of opportunity for both hotels and travel operators.
More importantly, the modern traveler is now booking online activities at their travel destination with mobile through search. U.S. mobile travelers who have researched local activities on their smartphone increased by 24% from 2015 to 2016.
With mobile becoming the natural platform for modern travelers to do on-the-go transactions related to travel activities, it's quite clear that hotels must quickly adopt mobile concierge services for their guests.
- Destinations on Google Data, U.S., Jan 2016.
- Google/Ipsos MediaCT, "The 2015 Traveler's Road to Decision"
- Google Analytics, U.S. data from May 2014 to May 2015
- Eyefortravel - Mobile in Travel report series 2016-2017
- Phocuswright - 2017 - Phocus Forward The year ahead in travel