2015 Trendspotting: Mobile travel bookings to drive industry growth

With e-ticketing one of the largest segments in Indian e-commerce, mobile booking is expected to see a surge in 2015

e4m by Ankur Singh
Updated: Jan 5, 2015 8:23 AM
2015 Trendspotting: Mobile travel bookings to drive industry growth

With the rise in the usage of Internet on multiple devices, especially smartphones, industry researches done over the past year unanimously state that mobile bookings might soon overtake those done through other devices when it comes to travel bookings.

According to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International, the number of mobile Internet users has witnessed a steady rise to 159 million in October. This was estimated to reach 173 million by the end of December (updated reports are yet to be released). There were 119 million users in urban India accessing the Internet on mobile devices in October. Rural India is not that far behind, with a base of 40 million mobile Internet users in October 2013.

Mobile push

With e-ticketing one of the largest segments in Indian e-commerce, mobile booking is expected to see a surge in 2015.

Mobile travel bookings are projected to rise across the world. In the US, it is projected to comprise one quarter of the online travel market in 2015, up from just 2 per cent in 2011, according to PhoCusWright, a consulting firm.

MakeMyTrip recently stated that more than a third of its unique visitors come via mobile, which represents 24 per cent of all online transactions.

According to market reports, airlines in India sell about 170,000 seats daily on domestic flights, of which nearly 50,000 are sold by online travel agencies like Cleartrip, Yatra.com, Makemytrip.com and Ixigo.com, among others.

Device penetration

The rapid adoption of iPads and other tablets is speeding up the growth in travel bookings on mobile devices, opening up a fresh market for mobile advertising, according to Mobile Survey 2014 by Expedia. The study estimates that 61 per cent of tablet owners made a travel purchase on their device in the first half of the year.

The study states that no other medium lets you reach potential customers at scale at the precise moment they’re most open to travel content. More than one-third of mobile device owners are already using their gadgets to plan trips while on the go.

“Apps are best for incremental reach and driving brand engagement. Multi-device ownership poses a challenge for brands looking for a cohesive voice across platforms,” according to the study.

The study claims that nearly half of respondents (48 per cent) have used a tablet or smartphone to plan their trip this year so far.

Among travellers who own a mobile device, 61 per cent have made a purchase (usually related to hotel bookings or air travel) on a tablet in the last six months while 51 per cent have made a purchase on a smartphone, giving larger touchscreen devices an edge.

Global lead

There is an increased use of mobile devices in consumer travel planning and purchasing worldwide, according to Criteo Travel Flash Report. Asia Pacific leads the way with more than 20 per cent of travel bookings made on a mobile device, with Brazil and Germany less than 10 per cent.

Representing the activity of more than 1,000 travel websites worldwide, the report provides insight on both the share and value of bookings generated from mobile devices for travel websites, including airlines, hotels, car rentals, cruises and apartments, and the impact this has on marketers’ advertising campaigns.

On a global basis, mobile bookings are growing faster than desktop: 20 per cent versus 2 per cent over the first six months of 2014. Smartphones and tablets account for 21 per cent of hotel bookings, while peer-to-peer apartment rentals is the category with highest mobile penetration (34 per cent globally).

The value of mobile bookings is increasing in every area except for accommodation. The average booking value was 21 per cent higher for air travel and 13 per cent higher for car rentals, but 30 per cent lower for hotel bookings on mobile devices than desktop.

In-app bookings account for 12 per cent of total mobile bookings. Meanwhile, the value of bookings by device varies across categories: there’s an average $600 more spent on packages booked on the iPad compared to those booked via any Android device. However, the value of Android bookings for flights outpaces all other mobile devices.

With the exponential increase in the number of mobile subscribers, choice of channels and mobile engagement platforms, the future holds great opportunity for travel companies, mobile service providers, and advertisers.

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