LONDON, UK – Mobile usage is on the rise throughout the entire traveller journey, according to the TripBarometer Connected Traveller report released by TripAdvisor. The report defines Connected Travellers as those who have used a smartphone to plan or book a trip and provides in-depth insight into their habits and behaviours.
Key amongst the findings: forty five percent of Connected Travellers usually use their smartphones to book activities for a trip, almost three quarters of Connected Travellers (72%) use their smartphones to look for restaurants while on vacation and a third of Connected Travellers (34%) want their accommodation to offer mobile check-in.
The report is part of the larger TripBarometer study, conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by independent research firm Ipsos and reporting on more than 44,000 global responses from travellers and the hotel sector.
“The TripBarometer: Connected Traveller report uncovers key emerging trends amongst a growing segment of travellers,” said Adam Medros, SVP of Product, TripAdvisor. “While booking travel via mobile is ultimately on the rise for all travellers, for the Connected Traveller smartphones are the essential travel companion. Through travel apps, Connected Travellers are finding their way around, looking for places to eat or things to do and reading reviews. They are also more likely to see their smartphones as a booking device, both before a trip and while in-destination.”
Mobile bookings on the rise
Mobile apps are becoming more popular as a booking channel – according to the report, the amount of people using mobile apps to book their accommodation has doubled year over year. In 2014, four percent of TripBarometer respondents booked their accommodation using a mobile app channel – that proportion has risen to eight percent this year. Those who book via mobile app channels are habitual users, with one in four (24%) saying they usually book this way.
The trend towards greater smartphone adoption in travel booking is even more apparent when looking at device usage among the Connected Traveller group. Connected Travellers are twice as likely as global travellers to book accommodation via a mobile device, while 45 percent of Connected Travellers say they use their smartphone to book activities for their trip compared to only 28 percent of global travellers.
Smartphones have become the essential trip companion
Connected Travellers are more likely to want their smartphones with them on vacation to organize their trip more efficiently (44%) and book accommodation on the go (37%). They are also more likely than the average traveller to use their smartphone for travel research while in their destination: 72 percent of Connected Travellers use their mobile to look for restaurants, 67 percent use it to find things to do and 64 percent use it to read reviews.
How mobile is used on holiday
Finding my way around/maps
Looking for restaurants
Looking for things to do
Looking for hotels
Making restaurant reservations
Connected Travellers: where they’re based and where they’re going
South America has the highest proportion of Connected Travellers with 57 percent of TripBarometer respondents from the region falling into the Connected Traveller segment. The Middle East (55%) and Asia (49%) follow close behind. However, looking at individual countries, Thailand and China lead the trend, with 65 percent of Thai and Chinese TripBarometer respondents identified as Connected Travellers.
Just under half of UK travellers (44%) fall in to the Connected Traveller group, while over half (53%) of all global travellers planning a visit to the UK in the next 12 months are Connected Travellers.
How to please the Connected Traveller?
All travellers say they find it useful for their hotel to offer adaptors, converters and a variety of chargers to save them from having to bring their own. However, the gap starts to widen between the requirements of Connected Travellers and the average traveller when it comes to services more closely related to smartphone connectivity. Nearly half (45%) of all Connected Travellers would enjoy an app to book things through while on their trip (compared to 38% of global travellers) and a third (34%) would find mobile check-in useful (compared to 28% of global travellers).
Where are hoteliers missing an opportunity?
According to the TripBarometer results, 45 percent of Connected Travellers would welcome an app to book things through while on their trip, yet so far just 16 percent of hoteliers globally offer such an app - falling to just 5 per cent in the UK.
Over a third of Connected Travellers say they would like for a hotel to make SIM cards or temporary mobile phones available for its guests, but only 7 percent of hotels currently offer this service. This would be an easy win for smaller properties, not only catering to the needs of Connected Travellers but also giving more of their guests the opportunity to use a mobile device as an in-destination travel companion.
Hoteliers in the UK are just ahead of the global average when it comes to making themselves accessible to Connected Travellers, with 51 percent offering a mobile-friendly website and 59 percent already accepting bookings via a mobile device. They are, however, behind the curve when compared to their US counterparts – 59% of US hoteliers offer a mobile-friendly website and 63% accept mobile bookings.
“While the majority of global travellers now use mobile devices, the tendency to see a smartphone as a booking platform is what sets Connected Travellers apart,” said Marc Charron, president, TripAdvisor for Business. “Hotels should identify the best ways to make themselves as visible and accessible as possible on mobile platforms in order to appeal to this highly engaged segment of travellers. For independent or smaller properties, leveraging a service like TripConnect instant booking is a great way to make themselves instantly bookable on TripAdvisor without needing to develop their own mobile booking solution.”