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There is a clear disconnect between the industry and consumers. Many marketers still struggle to understand the ever changing consumer behaviour and if assumptions that were made about travel issues by the marketers actually reflect the reality. A recent survey by Skift asked US consumers through Google Consumer Surveys about their mobile bookings and tried to tackle the issue relating to the role of mobile in online travel. First results of this survey are being discussed below, along with reflections on travel consumer behaviour (Skift 2013).

BOOKINGS ON MOBILE APPS

Surprisingly, 70% of US consumers completing the survey have not actually used a mobile app to book any kind of travel. 12% of consumers have which is predicted to increase dramatically along with Smartphone adoption and usage. There seems to be a rather large confusion amongst US consumers in terms of what mobile apps are and when consumers are actually using mobile web. This probably explains why 17% claim they do not use apps and 70.3% have not used a mobile app to book any kind of travel such as air, hotel, car or rail. It is also interesting that more men than women claim to have booked travel through a mobile app.

POTENTIAL FOR MOBILE BOOKING

US consumers aged between 35 and 44 made most mobile bookings for travel through mobile apps. This age group seems to be strongly driving mobile travel bookings in the US, with 22.1% and is followed by 15.3% of US consumers aged between 25 and 34. Interestingly, consumers aged 45 and older state in the survey they have never used a mobile app before to book travel. However, this might change in the future, as older consumers get increasingly comfortable when using their Smartphones and will soon discover mobile apps and the opportunities from using mobile bookings through travel related apps.

It is also quite interesting to look at the differences between consumers’ behaviour in different parts of the US. Across the country, US consumers behave almost exactly the same way when it comes to booking travel through mobile apps. Probably due to the internet infrastructure and more consumers being technology savvy in cities, more mobile app bookings were made in urban surroundings rather than rural areas. Especially consumers that have a mid-level salary show great growth potential. All in all, there is huge potential for mobile bookings for travel related products and services. With Smartphones decreasing in price and becoming increasingly available for the wider public, there will be major changes with regards to booking behaviour gradually moving towards mobile.

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