Mobile booking

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Travel Tech

In the ever competitive world of global travel, tourism-related businesses are always on the lookout for any morsels of information that can give them a commercial edge. Thus, a report recently published by the marketing company Criteo will be of great interest to marketers throughout the travel industry.

The report is entitled “Travel Flash Report”, but it is the sub-headline of the study which gives indication of its findings. Criteo has dubbed the report “Online Travel’s Never Looked So Mobile”, which gives a strong indication as to the nature of this study.

$150 billion travel analysis

Criteo is extremely well placed to draw conclusions on this subject given its modus operandi. It tracks traffic-related trends over 1,000 travel websites from all over the planet. Throughout 2014, the company has continually analysed bookings of travel by both consumer and business customers, in all assessing around 300 million bookings worth over $150 billion.

The report is based on data from travel suppliers and online travel agencies in every niche of the holiday marketplace, and highlights the key findings from the online travel industry during the first half of 2014. The results will be extremely helpful for digital marketers as they continue to attempt to understand their audience of travellers, and thus reach them more effectively.

As one can see from the sub-title of this report, the study makes a very robust argument that mobile platforms are becoming increasingly vital to travel marketers. The report found that throughout every element of mobile, and every niche of the travel industry, trends indicate that mobile is becoming a dominant way of both seeking out travel destinations and the companies, as well as ultimately making a booking.

Mobile growing rapidly

According to the report, mobile bookings of travel trips are currently growing significantly faster than the desktop alternative. Bookings via tablet and smartphone accounted for the majority of growth in the online travel industry worldwide, and this was consistent across all travel categories and markets. In fact, the proportion of growth in mobile platforms was in fact ten times that of desktop bookings; a pretty staggering and indicative statistic.

However, if that isn't important enough in itself, it is also worthwhile to note that within certain travel-related categories, mobile is growing even more prolifically. The report indicated that the growth of mobile bookings for cruises and apartments is nearly 35 percent.

And this figure doesn't even include in-app sales, which account for a significant share of incremental bookings made on mobile devices. For example, the report found that in-app bookings accounted for 12 percent of mobile conversions in June; so the growing commercial and cultural power of mobile in the travel industry could be even greater than even this study indicates.

Geographic and cultural basis

It is also valuable for digital marketers of travel-related businesses to note that mobile penetration also varies on a geographical basis. Although mobile is becoming a prominent platform all over the world, and being used for a significant percentage of tourism booking in virtually every remotely developed country, there are still cultural variations.

Thus, the growth of mobile tourism booking in nations such as Brazil and Germany was relatively minimal. These figures then pick up throughout central European destinations, before peaking in the United States, Australia, and the market leader of mobile tourism booking, Japan. Therefore it is vital that tourism marketers understand that targeting the appropriate platforms and consumers must take into account regional differences.

The value of bookings made via mobile is also increasing rapidly. The report looked at the value of bookings across numerous mobile platforms, such as iPad and Android, and found that there can be some variation based on the type of device being used.

Due to the vast number of mobile devices which utilise the Android operating system, the value of Android bookings on flights is absolutely massive. But the overall average of bookings made via iPad beats all of the other devices hands down. The overall picture emerging was that the value of bookings made via mobile has increased to the level where it is roughly equal to, or even exceeding in some categories, the amount spent on desktop platforms.

Spontaneous decision-making

Additionally, the report found that last-minute bookings are a key element of mobile platforms. This would seem to make logical sense considering that mobile platforms are inherently associated with on-the-go, busy people making spontaneous decisions.

The average booking value for air travel was 21 percent higher on mobile devices than desktop, with the same figure also 13 percent greater for car rentals. This was primarily influenced by the fact that last-minute bookings are generally of higher value, and indicates that such deals can be particularly targeted at mobile consumers.

In summary, the report contains several key messages for digital marketers related to the mobile medium. Mobile platforms can be relied on to reach new customers and travellers, and optimising marketing towards mobile ensures conversion across a raft of devices. Travel marketing between desktop and mobile advertisement must be fluid, with a flexible policy able to take advantage of opportunities as they occur in real time. And mobile platforms are increasingly providing massive conversion opportunities for high-value travel products, which are often centred around spontaneous, last-minutes decision-making.

This is an extremely useful document for digital marketers. The full Criteo report can be downloaded here.

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