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Pitchup.com challenges ABTA survey regarding slow growth of smartphone bookings

Pitchup.com claims industry lags behind customers’ use of technology.

ABTA’s Holiday Habits Report 2015, which surveyed 2,003 UK consumers, showed a strong increase in the proportion of customers using tablets for holiday bookings, from 18% to 24%, while use of smartphones for travel bookings reduced slightly, from 17% to 16%.

ABTA references a recent Ofcom report showing 45% of people use smartphones for online purchases across all industries, including travel.

ABTA’s Victoria Bacon, head of brand and business development, said about the findings: “Computers remain the most popular booking device for people booking their holidays online, reflecting the fact that purchasing a holiday is often a more complicated process than other retail offers. While smartphones have a long way to go to catch up with PCs and tablets when it comes to holiday bookings, their popularity among younger age groups suggests they will grow in relevance, so travel companies should continue to develop and grow their mobile sales strategies."

Outdoor accommodation specialist Pitchup.com, which received over 4m visits to its site this summer and takes more than 100,000 bookings each year, has seen device use in direct contrast to ABTA’s survey findings, with a sharp uptick in smartphone booking activity and booking behaviour on tablet remaining stable.

Smartphone bookings up 6% yoy, from 16% to 22%.

Tablet bookings remain stable at 25% of bookings.

Pitchup.com’s founder, Dan Yates, said: “Our figures, based on over 100,000 bookings taken in the last year, contradict ABTA’s findings, which were based on answers from 2,000 survey respondents. Bookings via smartphones on our site m.pitchup.com accounted for 22% of all holiday bookings over the last year. Whilst tablets and desktop computers still represent 78% of all bookings (25% and 53% respectively), smartphone bookings are powering ahead in terms of growth.”

He continued: “Much of this growth is driven by younger customers, although interestingly it’s those aged 25-34 who are using smartphones most to book (for 42% of their bookings), compared with only 29% of bookings by 18-24 year olds. Those aged 35-44 aren’t far behind, and use a smartphone for 23% of their bookings.”

He concluded: “When it comes to smartphones and holiday bookings, the technology is there and the customers are willing and waiting to book. It’s the job of travel operators to ensure booking processes are fit for users, or continue losing business as smartphones continue to take over our online worlds.”
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