Mobile Travel Planners Represent New Opportunity for Marketers

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Smart device apps and mobile-opti­mized web­sites are chang­ing the way peo­ple trav­el, from trip plan­ning to board­ing an air­plane to how they expe­ri­ence des­ti­na­tions. The emerg­ing mobile trend rep­re­sents new oppor­tu­ni­ties for mar­keters to con­nect with con­sumers before, dur­ing and after their trips.

Accord­ing to new research by eMar­keter, an esti­mat­ed 25 mil­lion U.S. mobile users will research trav­el infor­ma­tion on their mobile devices before mak­ing a trip in 2011. Near­ly 12 mil­lion will use the mobile chan­nel to book their plans. The vast major­i­ty of both groups will be made up of smart­phone users.

Mobile has dra­mat­i­cal­ly altered the trav­el expe­ri­ence,” said Noah Elkin, eMar­keter prin­ci­pal ana­lyst and author of the new report, “Mobile Trav­el Takes Off: Emerg­ing Trends and Best Prac­tices for Mar­keters.” “From pre-trip plan­ning to in-flight and on-prop­er­ty ser­vices to con­text- and loca­tion-aware des­ti­na­tion infor­ma­tion, mobile devices promise to trans­form every phase in the trav­el process, putting vital information—and new mar­ket­ing opportunities—within hand’s reach.”

By 2012, 34% of smart­phone users and 31% of mobile inter­net users in the U.S. will research trav­el via mobile.  At the same time, 18% of smart­phone users and 16% of mobile inter­net users are expect­ed to  book trav­el the same way.

As con­sumers inte­grate their mobile devices into their trav­el plans, mar­keters that want to keep pace must devel­op inno­v­a­tive approach­es that fit with their audience’s habits and pref­er­ences.

An inte­grat­ed, com­pre­hen­sive approach will serve brands best,” said Elkin. “The more flex­i­bly brands can offer to help their cus­tomers man­age their travel—using a mobile-opti­mized web­site, apps and inte­gra­tion between mobile, online and offline channels—the more effec­tive they will be."

[Source:  "Mobile Trav­el Takes Off: Emerg­ing Trends and Best Prac­tices for Mar­keters."  eMar­keter.  21 Mar. 2011.  Web.  6 Apr. 2011.]