In the second trimester of 2016, a third of online travel bookings in the world was done via mobile devices, compared to 24% for the same period of 2015 – 20% for hotels, 18% for visits, and 12% for flights. Smartphones considerably boosted the mobile bookings, according to a study by Criteo, a French advertising company.
The data compiled over the period between November 2014 and June 2016 reveal that the computer is still largely used for booking, to the extent that the Internet user navigates from one screen to another. The study also shows that smartphones are trumping tablets, which are in fast decline regarding mobile bookings.
In France, the role of the smartphone in online bookings is 14% for flights and hotels, and 12% for hotels. Overall when the tablets are included, in June 2016, 23% of bookings were made on mobile devices, which is an increase of 10%.
Experts expect that mobile bookings are more important than ever in the third trimester of 2016, driven by significant annual growth, especially for flights. Unsurprisingly, it is those under the age of 44 who use their smartphones for reservations the most.
Smartphones are adapted to last minute reservations, with nearly a third of bookings via smartphone being made only two days in advance. Furthermore, over the past two years, tour operators who have invested in mobile applications have observed a steady increase in bookings on their applications, from 12% to 54%.
Tour operators are thus advised to continue to invest and to deploy their efforts on smartphone environments, customize their mobile experience to the needs of young travelers, and to develop a feature “here and now” to capture the short stays.