The travel industry was probably one of the first sectors to be affected by the Internet, as customers began planning and booking online instead of in store. Now, mobile seems to be the channel that is revolutionising the sector further. Travel and mobile were always destined to be a winning combination; after all, mobile devices give travellers the freedom to continue or change their travel plans once they've taken off.
Mobile statistics, in terms of penetration and use, are pretty impressive, and a recent report from Expedia Media Solutions, entitled 'The Mobilized Travel Consumer', highlighted this further.
In Britain, two-thirds of all visitors to travel sites do so via their mobile device, with a staggering quarter of UK consumers now using mobile alone to visit travel sites, making the desktop redundant.
The majority of these consumers must have had positive experiences, as seven in ten of those who arranged their travels via a smartphone claimed they would do so again. In terms of tablet use to book travels, 90% of customers (in both the US and the UK) would do so in the future.
As a result of the surge in mobile, travel sites that engage visitors via the medium could benefit greatly. However, an article on Travel Pulse claims that timely marketing is essential. For example, more and more people own three or more devices (65% in America), and the times of the day these various devices are used differs.
People tend to be on their PCs during the working day (9am – 5pm), whilst mobile devices are used when people get home in the evenings (from 6pm – midnight). Smartphones, though, are accessed at all times of the day.
When it comes to the planning and researching stages, most people still turn to their PC – whether at work or not. Not surprisingly, tablets and smartphones are the go-to device when consumers are out and about, or when making alterations to their itinerary.
Because of the wide range of devices used at various times, it's crucial to have a broad marketing strategy throughout the day, says the report. For social media updates, apps such as Hootsuite allow for the scheduling of future posts.
Naturally, it's also vital for travel companies to market their offerings through mobile-friendly sites, and they must also consider mobile search rankings when thinking about their overall marketing strategy. It's worth remembering that Google now ranks mobile-friendly websites higher in search results – meaning more eyes will see this content.