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Asian travellers are the global leaders when it comes to both search and booking on mobile devices. A study conducted by online accommodation specialist AsiaRooms, and Lenovo, comparing the travel habits of 6,000 APAc tourists with 6,000 non-APAc tourists revealed that in the past year 33% booked through mobile and 59% searched travel products on the smartphones and tablets (Tnooz). This exceeds the global average of 25% for booking and 46% for search considerably.

Also with regards to price comparison, Asian consumers were leading the field, with 50% of people comparing the prices of travel accommodation on their mobiles (global average: 40%). An infographic with a summary of the most important findings can be found here.

MOBILE: THE CHANNEL OF THE FUTURE

This study shows that mobile is making its way towards becoming a mainstream platform also in the pre-trip stage. Especially in Asia, the growth rates are predicted to rise significantly in the near future. Especially the two biggest online markets in Asia, China and India, are currently undergoing a digital revolution, where mobile plays a central role. Especially in India, where relative internet penetration levels are still low, mobile is the primary medium to connect the masses. This is mainly attributable to the lack fixed broadband infrastructure and the relatively low prices of mobile phones (compared to Desktop PCs and Laptops.

OBSTACLES FOR MOBILE USE

But before mobile becomes widely adopted by consumers, some technical challenges need to be overcome.The study reveals that although 83% of respondents own an internet enabled mobile phone, one in four say it is hard to read content on a mobile screen. Thus building more user friendly mobile apps and websites will be one of the key requirements for travel businesses in the market. The second major hurdle in Asia was considered to be slow connections, as 35%of respondents indicated that slow internet speed deterred them from using mobiles. Especially in Asian countries many of the mobile internet connections are still underdeveloped. For instance in India 80% of new mobile internet user join on 2G networks. Thus for certain segments, travel brands need to reconsider their mobile content strategies for these markets, by ensuring that crucial information is delivered on slim websites with little use of rich media.

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