TripAdvisor releases “TripBarometer Connected Traveler” report: Connected Travelers twice as likely to make travel bookings via smartphones
Mobile usage is on the rise throughout the entire traveler journey, according to the TripBarometer Connected Traveler report released today by TripAdvisor. The report defines Connected Travelers as those who have used a smartphone to plan or book a trip and provides in-depth insight into their habits and behaviors.
Key amongst the findings: forty five percent of Connected Travelers usually use their smartphones to book activities for a trip, almost three quarters of Connected Travelers (72%) use their smartphones to look for restaurants while on vacation and a third of Connected Travelers (34%) want their accommodation to offer mobile check-in.
The report is part of the larger TripBarometer study, conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by independent research firm Ipsos and reporting on more than 44,000 global responses from travellers and the hotel sector.
“The TripBarometer: Connected Traveler report uncovers key emerging trends amongst a growing segment of travelers,” said Adam Medros, SVP of Product, TripAdvisor. “While booking travel via mobile is ultimately on the rise for all travelers, for the Connected Traveler smartphones are the essential travel companion. Through travel apps, Connected Travelers are finding their way around, looking for places to eat or things to do and reading reviews. They are also more likely to see their smartphones as a booking device, both before a trip and while in-destination.”
Mobile bookings on the rise:
Mobile apps are becoming more popular as a booking channel – according to the report, the amount of people using mobile apps to book their accommodation has doubled year over year. In 2014, four percent of TripBarometer respondents booked their accommodation using a mobile app channel – that proportion has risen to eight percent this year. This increases to 11 percent for the Connected Traveler segment. Those who book via mobile app channels are habitual users, with one in four (24%) saying they usually book this way. One in five Connected Travelers say they booked via a mobile app because it was easier or faster to access and 29 percent felt they got a better price.
Looking strictly at the device used to make a booking, Connected Travelers are twice as likely as global travelers to make travel related bookings via a mobile device. Laptops and PCs are still the most commonly used devices for hotel bookings, with 50 percent of Connected Travelers using a laptop and 32 percent using a PC to book the accommodation for their most recent trip. But what’s interesting is that 12 percent of Connected Travelers booked their accommodation via a smartphone, compared to 6 percent of global travelers.
The trend toward mobile platforms for bookings is even more apparent when it comes to travel activities, where the smartphone becomes the second most popular booking device after laptops – 45 percent of Connected Travelers say they use their smartphone to book activities for their trip, while 55 percent say they use a laptop. This is where Connected Travelers really start to differentiate themselves, as only 28 percent of global travelers use their smartphone to book things to do before a trip.
Smartphones have become the essential trip companion
Connected Travelers are more likely to want their smartphones with them on vacation to organize their trip more efficiently (44%) and book accommodation on the go (37%). They are also more likely than the average traveler to use their smartphone for travel research while in their destination: 72 percent of Connected Travelers use their mobile to look for restaurants, 67 percent use it to find things to do and 64 percent use it to read reviews.
Connected Travelers: where they’re based and where they’re going
South America has the highest proportion of Connected Travelers with 57 percent of TripBarometer respondents from the region falling into the Connected Traveler segment. The Middle East (55%) and Asia (49%) follow close behind. However, looking at individual countries, Thailand and China lead the trend, with 65 percent of Thai and Chinese TripBarometer respondents identified as Connected Travelers. Over half (55%) of all global travellers planning a visit to the Thailand in the next 12 months are Connected Travelers.
China can expect the highest proportion of Connected Travelers visiting their market in 2015. Sixty one percent of TripBarometer respondents planning a visit to China over the next 12 months are Connected Travelers. Fifty seven percent of travelers visiting Australia, 55 percent of travelers visiting Thailand, and 54 percent of travelers visiting Italy are Connected Travelers. The UK, Germany, the US and Spain can each expect 53 percent of their inbound visitors over the next 12 months to be Connected Travelers.
How to please the Connected Traveler?
All travelers say they find it useful for their hotel to offer adaptors, converters and a variety of chargers to save them from having to bring their own. However, the gap starts to widen between the requirements of Connected Travelers and the average traveler when it comes to services more closely related to smartphone connectivity. Nearly half (45%) of all Connected Travelers would enjoy an app to book things through while on their trip (compared to 38% of global travelers) and a third (34%) would find mobile check-in useful (compared to 28% of global travelers).
Where are hoteliers missing an opportunity?
According to the TripBarometer results, 45 percent of Connected Travelers would welcome an app to book things through while on their trip, yet so far just 16 percent of hoteliers globally offer an app. Over a third of Connected Travelers say they would like for a hotel to make SIM cards or temporary mobile phones available for its guests, but only 7 percent of hotels currently offer this service. This would be an easy win for smaller properties, not only catering to the needs of Connected Travelers but also giving more of their guests the opportunity to use a mobile device as an in-destination travel companion.
Is Thailand ready to welcome Connected Travelers?
Globally, hoteliers have become far more accessible via a number of different platforms with 73 percent of hotels worldwide taking online bookings and 55 percent accepting bookings via a mobile device. So far, 16 percent of hotels around the world currently offer an app for guests to book things through while they are in the destination and just 11 percent offer mobile check-in.
Hoteliers in Thailand have some way to go before making them completely accessible to Connected Travellers. While 80% of hotels accept bookings online, just over half (52%) accept bookings via a mobile device. They are, however, one of the most likely of TripBarometer countries to provide SIM cards or or pay-as-you-go phones for guests to borrow during their stay.
“While the majority of global travelers now use mobile devices, the tendency to see a smartphone as a booking platform is what sets Connected Travellers apart,” said Marc Charron, president,
TripAdvisor for Business. “Hotels should identify the best ways to make themselves as visible and accessible as possible on mobile platforms in order to appeal to this highly engaged segment of travelers. For independent or smaller properties, leveraging a service like TripConnect instant booking is a great way to make themselves instantly bookable on TripAdvisor without needing to develop their own mobile booking solution.”