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Smartphones emerge as preferred device for booking travel: Google

18-July-2013
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Smartphones emerge as preferred device for booking travel: Google

With the growing adoption of smartphones in India, Google India today released a study conducted by IPSOS titled ‘Multi-screen traveller’. The study was conducted to understand the behaviour of smartphone users in India and its impact on the travel vertical – focussing on a target group which uses multiple devices to get online for their travel related needs.

The study revealed that 76 per cent users use both, computer and mobile across the travel stages (dreaming, researching, booking, experience, sharing) while 60 per cent users move from one device to another when they switch from researching to booking. Out of the 1500+ leisure travellers surveyed 87 per cent users said that they have used mobile phones to research about their trips and 66 per cent respondents also booked a trip element on it. About 60 per cent said that the information they find while researching on their mobile phones influences their booking decision.

In terms of triggers for holiday planning, online sources were rated higher than offline mediums, with internet getting five touch-points in comparison to offline, which offered two touch-points. The biggest triggers for holiday destinations/planning were online pictures, where 88 per cent users said that online pictures trigger their holiday planning. Browsing pictures on social networks, blogs, travel sites get users to start thinking of their next vacation destination.

In the planning and research phase, the target group did not differentiate between their choice of Internet access device – user’s rated using desktop, mobile and tablets at over 85 per cent, clearly highlighting the multi-screen behavior of the users for holiday or trip planning.  Smartphones and tablets were also the first go-to devices for travel researchers even at home. Convenience was rated as the biggest motivator for use of mobile.

Speaking about the study findings, Vikas Agnihotri, Director – Travel and BFSI, Google India said “We already know that smartphone users on an average spend 76 minutes on the internet through their mobile. The smartphone user base is set to explode in India to touch 70 million by end of this year. Over one third of travel-related search queries on Google India are now coming from mobile and tablet devices, with queries from smartphones growing at 397 per cent YoY. This study establishes that today’s hyper-connected, hyper-informed smartphone user is consuming online content across devices. This impacts the complexity in engaging users from a marketer’s standpoint. With travel being the most evolved and mature vertical, we believe that the findings from this study will help them to devise strategies to engage users across multiple online screens/devices.”

The study also looked at the booking behaviour of the smartphone and tablet users, wherein 66 per cent respondents said that they’ve booked using a mobile phone and 69 per cent on a tablet. While the absolute numbers of transactions is low in the real world, the report does indicate the growing trend of bookings being completed on mobile devices from mature users.

From the respondents, 36 per cent users said that they booked a flight on a mobile, while 25 per cent have booked a hotel room and 13 per cent have submitted a holiday lead from their mobile device. The study also revealed significant cross-device attribution. Out of 87 per cent who researched on their mobile phones, 76 per cent booked on mobile and 80 per cent booked on a computer as well. Concerns around security were cited as the biggest barrier for booking on mobile.

IPSOS spoke to 1500+ leisure travellers, 20 – 45-year olds, SEC A, B1 across eight metros in India. All the respondents had internet capable phones, had travelled by air at least once in the last 12 months and had researched/booked a trip element, like flight, hotel, rail, etc. online. 80 per cent of these respondents had smartphones, and 25 per cent had taken international trips, and 35 per cent had done business trips.

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