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Mobile booking on the up in Asia, but global uptake still slow

Mobile booking on the up in Asia, but global uptake still slow

Globally, travellers are attached to their mobiles, with 91 percent saying they use their smartphones on holiday. One in three (37%) use their smartphone to find things to do, and just over a quarter (27%) are searching for hotels. Despite the increasing number of travellers using their mobile to plan and research, the trend has not yet crossed over to the booking stage.

Sixty-six percent of travellers booked their last trip online, with 31 percent stating ‘better price’ as the reason for choosing this booking method.  Twenty-four percent booked offline. Whilst online bookings are commonplace, mobile bookings are emerging slowly. Just four percent of travellers globally booked the accommodation for their last trip via mobile, however China is leading the pack with 10 percent of Chinese booking via mobile, followed closely by Thailand (9%), and Indonesia and Malaysia (7%). This behaviour implies a ‘leapfrogging’ from offline to mobile channels in Asian markets, with travellers in this region more likely than others to have booked their last trip either via mobile (6%) or offline (27%).

Travellers who booked their last holiday via mobile are also the most likely to state that a good deal or special offer always determines their destination choice (20%), more so than respondents who used any other booking channel.

Three in four hoteliers (76%) already have a mobile offering for travellers in place, and of those who don’t, 50 percent plan to introduce a mobile offering in 2014. Almost half (45%) allow guests to book rooms via their website on a mobile device, and 38 percent have a mobile friendly website. While it seems as though the hospitality industry is prepared for a shift towards mobile booking for travellers, there is still a disconnect.

“While the importance of mobile is accepted by the travel industry, and as evidenced by travellers using their smartphones in increasing numbers while in destination, there is still a tremendous opportunity when it comes to booking,” said Marc Charron, President, TripAdvisor for Business. “Hotels are gearing up to welcome bookings via mobile and travellers are already researching hotels on their phones – the next step is facilitating the booking process on mobile devices to reach more people on the go.”