The Digital Tourism Think Tank has previously highlighted the increasing importance of mobile in digital strategy. With the use of mobile devices consistently growing, to the point where large proportions of web activity is attributed to smartphones and tablets, it is essential for destinations and tourism organisations to make their online presence mobile-friendly.
MOBILE APPS AND DEVICES USED
Looking beyond mobile-optimised web portals and into mobile-specific tools, developing apps are another key component for destinations to consider. Research from Kantar Media, published in The Drum, recently distinguished between the use of these apps amongst smartphone and tablet users, finding a significantly higher rate of app downloads on smartphone devices.
The most popular category of app downloaded was found to be social networking apps, within which smartphone downloads doubled tablet downloads. This gap between the two devices was observed across categories; music, entertainment, sports, health and lifestyle apps.
As stated by Charlie Crowe, chief executive of Festival of Media, “it would, of course, be foolish to ignore the role tablets have to play in shaping the future of the app market, but brands and media owners shouldn't forget to maintain their investment in mobile if they want to engage with a critical mass of consumers around the world.” (The Drum) Whilst tablet usage is growing strongly, with more and more people buying the devices for both business and personal purposes, tablet sales are in their millions as compared to smartphone sales which have passed one billion. Therefore, while tablets are increasingly accessible devices, smartphones remain the all-round communication devices that tend to rarely be out of their users’ sights. (Geoff Wicken, The Drum) The research suggest that while smartphones are the more popular device for app downloads, tablet adoption and app usage remain significant and on the rise. In terms of destinations and tourism organisations, this information is interesting to note when developing apps as part of their mobile strategies, but should still emphasise the importance of cross-device optimisation, regardless of the lower popularity of tablet app downloads.
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