The Rise of Mobile Booking in Travel

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Mobile booking is growing in importance for the travel industry, but poor design and mobile user interface sometimes means that travel planning and inspiration that starts on mobile often results in …

Mobile booking is growing in importance for the travel industry, but poor design and mobile user interface sometimes means that travel planning and inspiration that starts on mobile often results in booking through a more traditional channel. How can travel brands book more sales from this fast-growing medium?

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  • 1. The Rise of Mobile Booking in Travel SKIFT REPORT #5 2013 Mobile commerce is growing in importance for the travel industry, but poor design and mobile user interface sometimes means that travel planning and inspiration that starts on mobile often results in booking through a more traditional channel. How can travel brands book more sales from this fast-growing medium? SKIFT.COM
  • 2. Subscribe to the Skift Trends Report Get the twice-monthly Skift Trends Report for the latest intelligence on the travel industry. Each edition in our new series of reports will brief you on a specific trend, providing insight into the current state of the market, the context around the trend, and where the industry is heading in the near future. After you subscribe, you will receive 24 reports direct to your inbox for an entire year. Reports are delivered as a downloadable PDF. Subscribers also receive access to our archive. For any comments or questions, email us: trends@skift.com. Subscribe and check previous reports at skift.com/travel-trends.
  • 3. The Rise of Mobile Booking in Travel SKIFT REPORT #5 Executive summary Expedia mobile app Image by Placeit Mobile phones and tablets are still new, but their impact is already felt in the travel industry. Travel sales on mobile devices, through both the mobile phone browser and native apps grew nearly 100 percent in the U.S. just last year, but there is still a lot of room for mobile booking to grow. Despite all of the hype around mobile commerce, completely mobile bookings are still hampered by legacy platforms, cumbersome processes and designs that aren’t optimized for the small screen or onthe-go use cases. The conversion rate is considerably lower for travel products than mobile commerce in general. This trends report will explore the huge growth in mobile queries and examine why this often fails to translate into mobile sales. Mobile commerce is often assumed to comprise native apps for iOS and Android. We will examine the benefits of native apps and the importance of having a mobile-optimized website for those who don’t download the app. It will also look at trends in other countries and the demographics of travelers who book on mobile devices. Finally, it will distill best practices for mobile booking based on conversations with experts and examples. 3 2013
  • 4. The Rise of Mobile Booking in Travel SKIFT REPORT #5 2013 Table of contents Executive summary 3 About Skift The Rise of Mobile Booking in Travel 5 Behind the trend 5 True mobile booking has yet to catch on 6 Why mobile planners don’t book on mobile 7 User interface design: Don’t make users think 8 Smartphone 9 Tablet 10 PC 10 Mobile and the sharing economy 11 Q&A with HotelTonight CEO Sam Shank 12 Apps versus mobile-ready websites 16 Aggregators dominate, but loyal customers use brand apps 18 Who mobile bookers are 18 Hotel booking works well on mobile 19 Flights and car rentals on the go 20 Mobile devices enable spontaneous last-minute planning 21 22 China 22 India 23 Europe and the United Kingdom 23 Insights and strategies 24 Further reading 27 About Skift 28 4 Skift is a travel intelligence company that services to professionals in travel and professional travelers, to help them make smart decisions about travel. Skift is the business of travel. Visit skift.com for more.