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Travel Tech

Mobile has become an incredibly important part of the travel industry, yet many marketers know too little about how consumers utilise mobile devices. It is one thing to understand that people research information using mobile, often making purchases as well, but it is another to have in your possession all of the relevant data related to mobile platforms.

Kayak Mobile Report

With this in mind, metasearch brand Kayak has produced a comprehensive report into the behaviour of mobile travellers. This study touches upon everything from search patterns, booking trends and usage. The report certainly provides some valuable information for digital marketers in the tourist industry, giving a real insight into consumer behaviour with this key technology.

It is important to emphasise before discussing this report that the results were drawn from the UK user base of Kayak. This was an extremely large study that examined data from millions of flights, hotels and car Internet searches during 2014, and the early month of 2015 as well. This is certainly not a report based on a small sample size.

The first interesting aspect of information that Kayak has documented is in relation to the platforms that users are utilising in order to browse its application. We often think of this in terms of mobile, desktop and tablets, but it is important to remember as well that mobile is more diverse than this. The all-conquering Apple remains locked in a constant battle with the Android smartphones of this world, and Kayak was able to measure the number of users utilising each of the various device types.

Thus, of the mobile users that accessed Kayak, 33 percent used the iPhone app, nearly double the 18 percent that utilised the Android app. This is an interesting divide between the two competing platforms, as there are certainly more Android devices in the world than iPhones. Obviously the iPhone is the world's most popular smartphone, and this is having a significant impact on the number of people that are using it to download applications. In fact, nearly as many people access the Kayak application via an iPod as an Android device, underlining the popularity of Apple technology.

Business Class Travel

It is also possible to recognise a slight divergence with regard to the way that mobile users book air travel. iPhone users were doubly likely to book business class flights than their Android counterparts. This suggests that the iPhone attracts premium and wealthy users, but also that it is becoming more popular with business customers.

In addition, it was notable that desktop users actually booked business class more often than Android users. By no stretch of the imagination are Android devices bargain basement fare, but there have been a lot of affordable Android smartphones released. They are particularly popular in East Asia, where companies such as Samsung have sold large numbers of devices. Although this survey deals with British people, the brand image of Android is of a more affordable mobile device, and it could reflect the relatively low numbers of business class bookings.

Digital marketing should certainly take these demographics into account when targeting mobile users, as there was also evidence from the Kayak reports that iPhone users spend more money online than those utilising other devices.

The Purchasing Journey

Kayak also proved beyond a reasonable doubt that mobile is the platform of choice for researching flights. The average amount of time spent researching flights on desktop platforms was just one minute, which was significantly exceeded by both Android and iPhone figures. The average user spent five minutes on average searching for flights on the iPhone, while users typically spent four minutes doing so on average.

Although these figures are to some extent explained by the fact that it takes longer to search for information on mobile platforms, a more likely explanation is that mobile is becoming the search tool of choice. Mobile frequently plays a major role in a complex and nuanced purchasing journey, in which it is not always the closing device in this process. But the importance of mobile in purchasing decisions should not be understated.

Kayak also assessed the times of day that people search for flights and hotels. The organisation found that in terms of actual hours of the day, 9pm is the busiest across all devices surveyed. The data also indicated that activity is busy around breakfast time, naturally tailing off during working hours. Figures elevate again for the afternoon commute and evenings, and savvy marketers can certainly target mobile platforms during these busy hours.

Short Trips Popular

There was little difference over the three device types regarding the length of travel being booked, but it is noticeable across all of iPhone, Android and desktop that short trips are becoming increasingly popular. Although this has been the case for some time, owing to the fact that these sort of ventures are simply more affordable. However, in an age in which people are spending more money on holidays, and longer trips are more affordable, it is perhaps surprising that less is being splashed out on longer travel trips than might be expected.

Aside from these insights, there is a wealth of other information published in the Kayak report, and it is certainly worthwhile for travel-related businesses to check this out.

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