Study Snapshot: Mobile Search of Growing Importance in Travel Marketing

A recent study of general consumer behaviour by Google with Ipsos OTX found that 71% of smartphone users carried out a search because they had seen an ad either off or line, while 74% of offline shoppers make a purchase as a result of using their smartphones (presumably researching as they wander about).

In the hospitality front, according to Google, 19% of all hotel queries in search are being conducted on mobile devices, supporting the idea that mobile is now more important than ever in travel marketing.

For the travel and tourism sector, some interesting data from the study points to the importance of localisation in search.

Searching for local details is carried out by almost all smartphone users (95%), but most interestingly 88% of those searching for local information “take action” within a day, presumably to visit a website or an actual venue.

Furthermore, 77% have conducted a business after using mobile search for local information, with 61% calling and 59% visiting the premises of a local business.

The stat also backs recent data from eMarketer which suggested the number of US consumers, for example, using a mobile to research travel products will climb from 19.7 million in 2010 to 29.7 million by next year.

Despite Google’s potential ulterior motive, such data is pretty compelling and travel companies are being urged to consider mobile in the same way as perhaps they interact with consumers on the web-based journey:

  • Dreaming
  • Research
  • Booking
  • Experiencing
  • Sharing

As far as mobile travel content is concerned a global survey of 1700 people carried out by Frommer’s, revealed the top six types of mobile travel content that consumers want when on holiday.

The most important function is seeing points of interest like attractions, restaurants and shops on a map (57%), followed by key phrases in local languages (55%), local offers (51%), itineraries and walking tours (50%), local etiquette and customs (49%) and tipping and currency converters (45%).

Interestingly, the 18-34 age bracket expressed an increased interest in accessing information related to local etiquette and customs and it ranked as the third most important type of content for this age group.


Study Snapshot: Mobile Travel Planners Offer Marketers Growing Target

Nearly a third of smartphone users will research travel plans via mobile this year

Smart device apps and mobile-optimized websites are changing the way people travel, from trip planning to boarding an airplane to how they experience destinations. This means new and richer opportunities for marketers to connect with consumers before, during and after their trips.

eMarketer estimates that nearly 25 million US mobile users will research travel information on their mobile devices before making a trip this year. Nearly 12 million will use the mobile channel to book their plans. The vast majority of both groups will be made up of smartphone users.

“Mobile has dramatically altered the travel experience,” said Noah Elkin, eMarketer principal analyst and author of the new report, “Mobile Travel Takes Off: Emerging Trends and Best Practices for Marketers.” “From pre-trip planning to in-flight and on-property services to context- and location-aware destination information, mobile devices promise to transform every phase in the travel process, putting vital information—and new marketing opportunities—within hand’s reach.”

By next year, 34% of smartphone users and 31% of mobile internet users in the US will research travel via mobile. At the same time, 18% of smartphone users and 16% of mobile internet users will book travel the same way.

As consumers integrate their mobile devices into their travel plans, marketers that want to keep pace must develop innovative approaches that fit with their audience’s habits and preferences.

“An integrated, comprehensive approach will serve brands best,” said Elkin. “The more flexibly brands can offer to help their customers manage their travel—using a mobile-optimized website, apps and integration between mobile, online and offline channels—the more effective they will be. Mobile travelers, especially those carrying smartphones, are demanding, and expect suppliers to get it right the first time.”