According to a new study on mobile travel activities from comScore, 51% of smartphone owners accessed travel content on their devices during the three month period ending February 2012, with nearly 1 in every 5 smartphone owners using their device to book air travel or hotel reservations.
“The on-the-go convenience of smartphones has facilitated their emergence as an essential companion for travelers,” said Mark Donovan, comScore SVP of mobile. “We all know how hectic a travel experience can be, but smartphones have really stepped in to meet a variety of needs for travelers, such as coordination of schedules, locations, trip itineraries and transactions. With more than half of all smartphone users now engaging with travel content, there has never been a better opportunity for suppliers and OTAs to invest in their mobile strategies to provide a great experience and win loyalty from their customers.”
SMARTPHONES BECOME POCKET TRAVEL AGENTS FOR GROWING NUMBER OF AMERICANS
During the three month period ending in February 2012, 51% of the smartphone audience accessed air and/or hotel content on their device, with 4 in every 5 mobile travelers accessing both air and hotel content. The most popular air travel-related mobile activity was checking airfare prices, in which 26% of all smartphone users engaged. Smartphone users were nearly as likely to look up an airline phone number, flight schedules, and check a flight’s status, each of which was conducted by 25% of the audience.
While many of the most popular behaviors were consumers seeking information, they also engaged in transactional behavior: 21% of smartphone consumers checked in for a flight on their device, while 18% booked a flight on their smartphone and 10% cancelled a flight.
Among hotel-related mobile activities, looking up hotel address/directions was the most popular (conducted by 29% of smartphone owners), followed by researching attractions or things to do near hotel (23%). Reading hotel reviews and comparing hotel prices and availability were performed by more than 1 in 5 smartphone owners in the past three months, while 18% used their device to book a hotel room.
MALES, YOUNGER AUDIENCE SEGMENTS MORE LIKELY TO CONSUME TRAVEL CONTENT
Compared to the average smartphone owner the mobile traveler was more likely to be younger and male, a fairly typical profile for early technology adopters. Sixty two percent of smartphone owners that accessed travel information were male, compared to 52% of the entire smartphone audience, while 78% of smartphone travelers were between the ages of 18–44, compared to 63% of the total smartphone audience. Mobile travelers tended to have similar income levels compared to the average smartphone owner with approximately half of each audiences residing in households earning at least $75,000 annually.
Donovan continued, “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.”[Source: "Mobile Travel Advisor Survey." comScore. 18 Apr. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2012.]