As a segment of mobile consumers, travelers are increasingly comfortable and savvy at planning, researching and booking trips on the go, according to Expedia Media Solutions (the ad sales division of Expedia, Inc.). The takeaway for marketers is that travelers are likely more open to mobile ads, and less reticent about mobile privacy—hence a good "moving target."
A study commissioned by Expedia and conducted by comScore examined consumer behavior on mobile devices, with particular focus on the travel demographic. With one out of every ten dollars spent online occurring on a mobile device (comScore data), the researchers conclude that marketers who are ripe to target travelers should be adding mobile into their marketing mix.
Travelers frequently use smartphones and tablets to research and plan trips. For example:
- 86% of mobile planners already knew their destinations when conducting research on a mobile device.
- 47% relied on friend and family recommendations and 40% relied on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) for destination ideas.
- Deals and promotions (64%), photos (55%) and recommendations (38%) are the most useful types of content for those seeking trip ideas.
Of travelers who own a mobile device, fully 61% have made a purchase on a tablet in the last six months and 51% on a smartphone, and they are satisfied with their experiences: 80% of smartphone users and 90% of tablet users would do so again
Still—a good many begin their purchase journeys on a mobile device, but finish their journeys on PCs. (63% book flights on PCs, and 67% book hotels.)
So marketers targeting travelers have numerous touchpoints to reach the traveler.
Apps may not be the conversion point, but marketers targeting the traveler demo may wish to consider in-app ads: Easy-to-use apps are driving their usage upward, believe Expedia and comScore. Of the 44% who plan travel on a mobile device, 44% of them used an app. The smartphone users claim that accessibility (43%), ease of use (35%) and app availability (33%) were key drivers in booking travel.
A key takeaway is that travelers are open to an enhanced user experience: They like their mobile websites and apps to be useful, providing an enhanced overall user experience, and they’re very engaged when those criteria are fulfilled. As mobile users continue to turn to apps for planning, there's potential to provide incremental reach and increase engagement time with travel brands—and presumably travel goods, luxury brands and even camping gear (depending on the destination), spurring higher category reach, as well as mobile purchases.