Hotels must accommodate connected travellers

Parts of the travel industry are failing to give so-called 'connected travellers' what they want – technology, reports Tnooz.

The disconnect between hotels and travellers was revealed in a study by TripAdvisor and Ipsos into industry and consumer behaviour.

An example of this disconnect is the fact that almost half (45%) of travellers who plan or buy a trip via a mobile device (connected travellers) would welcome an app letting them book activities once in-destination. Despite this, just 15% of hoteliers offer such services on their apps.

Meanwhile, the global average for the number of hotels offering a mobile-friendly website is 56%, and 55% accept bookings via a mobile. In the UK, 51% and 59% respectively cater to mobile users. In the US the numbers stand at 59% and 63% respectively.

Connected travellers and 'global travellers' – who have never planned or booked a product on a device – use their mobile differently while on holiday.

Those who have booked or planned a trip on their device tend to use their mobile more while they're away, for instance, for finding their way around (81%); or looking for restaurants and things to do (72% and 67%). Another 50% use their mobile to look for hotels in-destination, 46% use it to make reservations for restaurants, and 64% read reviews.

By comparison, global travellers use their mobile less during their trip – 67% use it for finding their way around, 56% to find restaurants and 51% to look for activities. Just 47% read reviews on their mobile device, while 36% use their device to look for hotels and to book restaurants.

The report also revealed which regions have the highest percentage of connected travellers. These were South America, the Middle East and Asia, where a respective 57%, 55% and 49% of travellers have booked or planned their trips on mobile devices.

What the study reveals is that hotels must meet travellers' tech needs. For a connected traveller, their mobile device is used as a booking device so it stands to reason that hotels should enable this. This even extends to adaptors, chargers and converters to accommodate the myriad devices the modern traveller now takes on a trip.

Adam Medros, senior vice president of product at TripAdvisor, commented: "While booking travel via mobile is ultimately on the rise for all travellers, for the connected traveller smartphones are the essential travel companion.

"Through travel apps, connected travellers 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."