The increasing use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices for travel purposes could be glad tidings for travel brands, as suggested by the results of a study from independent audience platform Millennial Media.

The study in question forms Volume 7 of Millennial Media's Mobile Intel Series. It explores travel sector trends observed on a global scale in 2013. Millennial Media paid special attention to the ways travel companies are using mobile commerce for consumer targeting and immersion and which brands allocate advertising budgets for initiatives aimed at the travel and mobile markets.

Travel advertisers would do well to focus on mobile as consumers are increasingly researching, booking and generally engaging in travel-related activities on their mobile devices. The Millennial Media study revealed that mobile users are spending more of their time on activities using multiple devices and this trend has resulted in the growth of travel-related mobile use.

According to the research, mobile commerce sales account for 12% of overall digital advertising expenditure in the travel industry and the share continues to climb. A separate report from eMarketer says that by 2017 travel mobile commerce sales in the United States are expected to reach $55.5 billion. This represents a massive 247% rise on the $16 billion recorded in 2013.

While the mobile travel audience is characterised by diversity, Millennial Media found that a significant proportion are men aged between 25 and 44. The report also points out that consumers who make use of their mobile gadgets to carry out research and book their trip tend to do so on more than one device - highlighting the need to have a website that's multi-device friendly. What's more, people are using their smartphones or tablets throughout the travel process, which includes exploring options, finding and arranging accommodation, researching attractions and booking the trip. Consumers also make use of their mobile devices during their trip, for example to get directions. And when the trip is over, mobile devices are once again put to work, with people sharing their experience with others by writing online reviews.

People who access travel content expect to get a mobile-friendly experience, the report states further. In order to provide travellers with the mobility they require, brands need to ensure seamless cross-device integration. The latter is key to attracting and engaging mobile travel consumers and turning them into loyal customers.

In order to benefit from the prevailing trends, travel companies and marketers should prioritise investment in mobile commerce. By expanding and enhancing their mobile websites, they will be able to provide their audience with a mobile-friendly and more engaging user experience, the research concludes.