Mobile web beats apps for hotel bookings

A study of 2,000 US smartphone owners has found they are more likely to book a hotel room using the mobile than an app.

Source: Mobile web beats apps when it comes to hotel bookings – Tnooz

It really is not rocket science and it does not take much effort to understand that travelers are not going to download an app for every hotel they consider or check out during the planning stage. They look at 20 differed sites on average and will consider a dozen places to stay. The just are not going to download and app to check availability and rates when they can just look at the website.

Mobile Web  Prefered over Apps for Booking

The study by Miller Brown, referred to in the Tnooz article above demonstrates that Mobile web beats apps for hotel bookings.  In the study only 15% of all who booked a hotel in the study period used their smartphone to book and most booked via mobile browsing. 43% said they preferred to browse to book, 28% were split between apps and browsing and 28% preferred to use an app.

stats on mobile app use vs mobile browsing

Its not clear how they booked and my guess is that most were using OTAs or hooked into a chain with loyalty points.  If they book direct common sense will tell us that they will browse the hotel website and check out rates online via the browser. The Study  also tells us that while over 30% of the travelers studied had over 30 apps, they only used about 4 a day.

Apps for Loyalty and Recurring Booking

“One of the things we found is that in travel, and in general, app install and usage is one measure of loyalty or brand engagement. You’ve (essentially) committed to the brand.” Says Lincoln Merrihew SVP of Miller Brown,  and adds: “In general, older consumers tend to be more brand-committed than younger ones.”

Apps are used mostly for services like fast check out, billing, room key, loyalty programs, concierge and room services and to control the room TV, temperature order services and get offers. For online information, reservations and booking your provider should offer a mobile version; that’s all you need. If you have a custom built booking engine make sure it is mobile responsive. All this may change and likely will but for now mobile browsing is not overpowered by apps. I think apps have to offer much more for all to want to download them for every hotel we want to check. Cant see it happening any time soon.

eMarketers Forcast Mobile Booking Surpass Desktop in 2016

mobile travel booking expected to be over 51% in 2016
What there is no doubt about is the growing use of mobile in travel planning and booking. According to eMarketer 51.8% of travelers who book trips online will do so using a mobile device. That is up 43.8% from the 2015 estimates. They add that “In 2015, travel sales booked via PCs will be $115.91 billion—a decline of 1.8% from 2014. That decline will continue through at least 2019, the end of eMarketer’s forecast period.” – See more at: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1013248#sthash.9VxWmZ8H.dpuf – 

Travel sales booked via mobile are $52.08 billion this year (November 2015) representing 31.0% of digital travel sales. Booking via mobile is expected to reach to 46.0% by 2019.

Not at all surprising, at the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia (Barbados.org) the bulk of site visits are now from travelers using a mobile device.

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