Mobile traffic is becoming increasingly significant for the travel industry, and hotels in particular. Google predicted that U.S. hotel searches would be up 24% in 2013 overall, but that includes a 68% uptick in searches from mobile devices against a 4% decrease in desktop queries. Searches from tablets, in particular, were expected to increase by 180%.
Adobe Systems Inc.’s “Hotel Benchmarking Metrics” report found that actual visits are also tipping in tablets’ favor. The study analyzed more than 300 million visits to 31 hotel websites worldwide in Q4 2012 (80% of which were for U.S. properties), finding that nearly one-sixth of traffic to those sites came from mobile devices. Tablets garnered nearly 60% of those mobile visits.
With tablet and smartphone usage increasing, consumer behaviors on each device are becoming more distinct. Tablet browsing is much more like PC usage than smartphone research, the latter of which tends to occur in last-minute, on-the-go situations. It shows in hotel research: According to the Adobe study, tablet users spent much more time on hotel websites, viewing an average of 4.9 pages per visit in Q4 2012, approximately the same as PC users. That’s compared with hotel researchers on mobile phones who viewed an average of 3.4 pages per visit.
As hotel research goes, so goes travel research in general. Adobe’s “Best of the Benchmark” study from January 2013 looked at the percentage of internet traffic to US websites coming from mobile devices across various industries, and found that travelers were inclined to utilize tablets more than consumers of any other product. Travel not only had the highest percentage of internet traffic coming from tablets at 11.2%, but it was also the only industry studied that actually saw more tablet traffic than smartphone traffic.
That’s not to say travel shoppers aren’t using smartphones—10.9% of website traffic to travel and hospitality websites (not just hotels) came from those devices, making travel the industry that saw the second-highest percentage of web traffic coming from smartphones among all industries in Adobe’s study. Retail was the only other sector with more than 20% of its overall traffic coming from mobile devices.[Source: "Tablets Grab Significant Share of Travel Traffic." eMarketer. 17 Jun. 2013. Web. 21 Jun. 2013.]