The Rise of Mobile Bookings

Mobile uptake has changed the way many industries stay in touch with their customer base and the travel sector is no different. In fact, the latest research shows that to keep at the forefront of the industry, hoteliers not only need to embrace the digital revolution but mobile optimisation too.

It wasn’t so long ago that the typical way to book a holiday was to visit a local high street travel agent. Then the internet came along and gave eager travellers the opportunity to browse destinations, search for the best deals and make a booking all from the comfort of their own home. The rise of mobile technology is creating another shift, with potential customers making plans and booking trips even when they’re on the go, commuting to work, browsing in store or enjoying a favourite hobby. The era of the mobile booking is well and truly here and for hotels serious about increasing occupancy and growing online bookings comes an urgent need for mobile optimisation and user behaviour analysis.

A planning platform

The sheer range of hotels, flights and destinations available online, not to mention the beautiful photographs and customer reviews which abound on social media sites and blog pages, has seen the internet become an essential way to plan trips, source accommodation and browse for flights. But while desktops and laptops still have their place, more and more people are turning to their smartphones and tablets to plan their getaway.

The convenience of being able to research a hotel or bring up flight details when you’re on the go, from a work commute to a coffee bar, means that mobile has become a holiday planning essential, especially for younger generations. Google research shows that

  • Around two thirds of millennials are comfortable planning their entire trip from a smartphone
  • While just a third over the age of 35 would make all their holiday plans on a mobile device.

For hotels, these findings highlight the importance of embracing mobile optimisation.

Building trust

Accessing the internet through mobile devices has been around for years, so what’s fuelling the increase in mobile purchasing?

While older generations might be warier of using smartphones and tablets to get all the information they need, it’s less of an issue for millennial travellers. Having grown up with smartphone and tables and with access to the internet on tap, 66% of millennials are confident that they can find all the flight and hotel information they need on either a mobile device or a desktop computer.

Failing to take this shift in user behavior into consideration could mean losing out on reservations to more mobile savvy rivals. Whether you’re a boutique hotel or an international chain, being present and being found when customers are searching for their next hotel room means having a mobile presence.

Converting browsing into purchases

Unsurprisingly, millennials are more likely to both browse and purchase holiday bookings through their smartphone than other generations. Through mobile optimisation and making the best deals accessible to those searching, businesses within the travel industry can tap into a market that wants access to everything they need while on the go. Google’s data makes the case on numbers alone:

  • 41% of millennial travellers say they’ve used a smartphone to shop for flights and 27% have done so to browse hotels.
  • Only 25% of people aged 35 have used a mobile device to find a flight and just 19% have done the same for a hotel.

It isn’t just browsing that millennials are doing on their smartphones either, conversions are now taking place on mobile devices. Some 59% of millennials will book a flight on a smartphone after mobile browsing and 64% will book a hotel room in the same way. The figures are slightly lower for older generations, at just over 4 in 10, but still represent a significant portion of the market.

Analysing customer behavior

The uptake of mobile as a way to both browse and make purchases and the split between millennial habits and over 35 preferences highlights that while the mobile movement is undeniable and mobile optimisation non-negotiable, user behaviour analysis is needed for joined up thinking. Leverage the two together to tap into the rise of mobile bookings for your property.