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Travel Bookings Are Migrating To Mobile

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If you are a travel operator and don't have a mobile app offering, you just might be left behind in the race. A survey on the multi-screen behaviour of travellers released on Wednesday (17 July) by Google-IPSOS highlights how people are increasingly turning to their smart phones for booking travel. A third of travel queries today are coming from the mobile and tablet, with mobile apps preferred over browsers as a booking platform. For booking and sharing, mobile app usage was 12- 15 per cent higher in comparison to mobile sites.

IPSOS carried out the study on 1519 leisure travelers, between the ages of 20 and 45 years, across the 8 metros in India. All respondents were owners of internet capable phones and had traveled by air at least once in the last 12 months and had researched a trip element online, be it a flight or rail ticket, hotel booking etc. 80 per cent of these respondents had smart phones.

The study reveals the multi-screen behaviour of travelers, showing that 76 per cent users use both computer and mobile across all the usual stages of travel — dreaming, researching, booking, experiencing and sharing — while 60 per cent users move from one device to another when they switch from researching to booking. The mobile is seen to be most consistent across the research stage. According to the survey, 54 per cent users searched for exploratory elements on each device.
Says Vikas Aghniotri, Director, Travel & BFSI, Google India, “We already know that Smart phone users on an average spend 76 minutes on the internet through their phones. This study establishes that today’s hyper-connected, hyper-informed smart phone user is consuming online content across devices.”

The fact that the mobile device is the preferred option even at home, with 67 per cent agreeing to the same, goes to show that the phone is becoming an extension of the individual. Convenience (94 per cent) and immediacy (77 per cent) win it for the mobile. 

In terms of booking online, flights have seen a 92 per cent conversion rate after research; accommodation has seen an 88 per cent conversion, rail travel 94 per cent. Also, 58 per cent of users who researched online on mobile, booked on it as well. Security was seen as the biggest concern for booking on mobile by respondents.

“With travel being the most evolved and mature vertical, we believe that the findings from this study will help them to devise strategies to engage the users across multiple online screens/devices,” says Aghniotri.