A new report from Criteo and Phocuswright finds that mobile has become the new battleground in the realm of digital travel bookings.
The report, The Mobile Effect: Disrupting the Competitive Landscape in the Digital Travel Market, also suggests that OTAs have a solid lead on other travel companies in the mobile sphere-- despite consumer’s strong trust of larger supplier brands.
“Given the high value of mobile shoppers, suppliers and OTAs must make mobile a key element of their competitive strategies,” reads the report.
“While OTAs have a short-term advantage, travelers trust suppliers, and that trust – paired with a compelling mobile experience – has the potential to shift the competitive balance in suppliers’ favor.”
Here’s what travel professionals should know about travelers who book on mobile and how the online digital travel marketplace is evolving.
U.S. mobile adoption is average
The percentage of Americans booking their trips on mobile lags behind countries in regions like Europe and Asia.
More than half of those polled in China used a mobile device to shop for leisure travel in advance of their most recent trip, while just 18% of Americans did the same.
France, Russia and Brazil also lead developed countries in the adoption of mobile travel shopping.
“In mature online markets, the incidence of shopping for travel online is as high as 85%. But with mobile shopping on the rise, just 65% of leisure travelers shopped for their last trip via personal computer (PC),” according to the report.
Frequent travelers use their smartphone
Travelers who book three or more flights online in a year are much more comfortable using a mobile channel to book.
These frequent travelers accounted for two in every three flights booked via smartphone.
“Device shift is already underway in mature online travel markets, and travel shopping and booking will continue to shift to the mobile channel across markets as travelers become more comfortable with big-ticket mobile bookings,” the report found.
More than half of those who book one or two flights a year use their computer to book.
Americans are booking direct
It’s no secret that suppliers and OTAs are currently battling for supremacy in the world of mobile booking. Right now, it appears that suppliers are winning the competition for bookings.
Just 26% of Americans who used an online channel to book their last fight used an OTA, while 41% used an airline website or app.
The numbers for hotels are similar, with 25% booking on an OTA and 34% on a supplier site or app.
The data indicates that Americans trust big brands.
“In the U.S., for example, where large hotel brands dominate, hotel and flight shopping incidence via tablet are nearly equal,” the report said.
Travelers trust OTAs and suppliers equally
OTAs seem to be very successful in building trust with consumers, according to PhoCusWright’s data.
U.S. travelers rated their trust of suppliers at 7.2 out of ten, with OTAs coming in at 6.8 out of ten. They are, however, more likely to subscribe to the online newsletter of suppliers than those of OTAs.
“While OTAs have a short-term advantage, travelers trust suppliers, and that trust – paired with a compelling mobile experience – has the potential to shift the competitive balance in suppliers’ favor,” the report concluded.