Travel Industry Conversion Rates

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Travel Consumer Preferences, Part 2

While the majority of consumers have reported switching from mobile devices and desktop platforms from the same provider while making travel bookings, it is still the most preferred channel among millennials. Limitations in usability and slow downloads are some reasons that inform consumers decisions to switch from mobile to desktop when searching for and booking travel.


To provide an overview of how global travel consumers feel about switching from mobile and desktop platforms from the same provider when searching for and booking travel, we began by scouring through a variety of resources including media outlets like Forbes like Google, PhocusWire, PhocusWright and other resources like Slideshare among others.
As part of being creative to find information, we have included 2 sources that are older than 24 months for a more insightful overview of the travel consumer preferences. From information gathered from the resources mentioned above, we found mobile engagement statistics of travelers that show demographics are more inclined towards the use of mobiles and prefer the medium. There were no particular differences found based on the behavior of consumers who switch but can be concluded based on their preferred medium between mobile and desktop as presented in the findings.
While we found general feedback on the usability of various travel sites as per customer reviews, there was none regarding the consumer perceptions of switching platforms while searching for / booking travel. Available doesn’t provide information on the medium of booking. We have however included have a few comments showing the perception of customers on specific travel sites.


According to travel booking trends, 54% of leisure travelers and 69% of business travelers switch from the use of mobiles due to the devices’ limitations or mobile usability for booking. Most customers feel anxious when booking travel over the mobile, mainly due to uncertainty on whether the devices can record, save and transmit information for purposes of booking. It is one of the main factors that influence customers to switch from mobile to desktops to cross-check the details before they finalize the booking. Mobile devices have usability limitations that discourage some customers from using them for travel bookings. According to an article published on PhocusWire, Web is the preferred choice for car rentals and destination bookings, whereas for flight and accommodation booking customers prefer mobiles.
Most millennials prefer booking through mobiles for their business travel and stay due to ease of use and accessibility of such devices. The shift to mobile by a section of the customers has impacted managed travel programs with nearly half of mobile reservations going to either OTAs or supplier sites. Mobile apps reduce the time that a customer spends for booking a flight or checking in and hence is the most used medium for booking.
According to statistics, 94% of leisure travelers switch between devices when they are planning or booking for a trip. The report also indicates that customers who are taking personal trips still book on a desktop or laptop.
Further data presented in the report revealed that 46% of customers with smartphones reported having made their decision on mobile before switching to book on another device.
While 69% of leisure travelers are switching from mobile to desktop to check the best price to make the best decision, 23% of leisure travelers are confident that information regarding the hotel and flight information on their smartphone is same as it is on their desktop. Over 50% switch to cross-check the hotel prices. 88% of travelers switch to another site or app if they are not satisfied, rather than turning to its desktop version for more details. The report also found that 52% of travelers with smartphones switch sites or apps due to slow download, whereas 45% switch if it involves too many steps to book or to get the desired information.
According to findings, mobile apps have proven effective in retaining new customers and have a higher conversion rate than either desktop or mobile web. Mobile apps have higher order values than desktop and mobile web, with an average of $127 spent in-app versus $100 on the desktop and $91 on the mobile web. Mobile apps convert sales up to 3 times more than the mobile web.


Susan, a customer of Expedia, rated them a 4 star out of 5 and said she experienced trouble navigating the website when she needed to complete a flight booking. Vicki, on the other hand, rated Expedia with a 5 star highlighting the excellence and ease of booking on the site. She further said that she got her flight in a short time and did not experience any hassles or waiting.
According to a customer by the name Mehermerchant3, Booking. Com is the worst booking site that he has ever come across. However, Sahilkumar4135 says that "the website UI is very smooth easy to use, fairly descriptive about the amenities provided with room and lots of reviews to make it more trustworthy."
According to site that reviews travel sites, the 5 best travel sites based on pricing, flexible date options, features, and usability are, Expedia, KAYAK, Hipmunk, and Priceline.
The travel sites do not show any comments or feedback regarding the consumer perceptions of switching platforms while searching for / booking travel. Most data available doesn’t showcase the medium of booking and/or are concerns/feedback/ customer experience related to the company in general.


Millennial business travelers (18-34 years old) reportedly book approximately 50% of their new airline reservations and over 50% of their new hotel bookings through mobiles/smartphones. (source 2). As per NYU, 59% of families used travel website for information or inspirations for planning their trip, whereas 51% use travel review websites. 64% of millennials prefer booking on travel websites for hotels, as per Resonance Consultancy, whereas 79% of travelers who research and book both via a smartphone as per Think With Google.
According to an insights report, 60% of male and 40% of female consumers between 18-44 years old and earning more than $75k per year engage most in mobile related travel content, travel advertisements and travel options (through mobile phones or tablets).

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Travel Consumer Preferences - Desktop vs. Mobile Devices

The global travel consumers prefer travel booking through their desktop devices rather than their mobile devices.


To look for the differences of consumer travel-bookings between mobile and desktop channels, we looked into articles and reports on credible sources like TravelWeekly, Forbes, Expedia, Insider, and other travel websites. From these stated sources we found multiple reports and statistics. We proceeded to compare the two and found that most global travel consumers prefer to book through their desktop than their mobile devices.

Travel Booking

Mobile vs. Desktop Booking

It was found that consumers usually use their mobile devices when searching for hotels. About 73% of consumers search for economy hotels, while 43% search for luxury hotels. Half search for midscale, upper midscale, upscale and upper upscale. However, these searches do not necessarily translate to bookings. Usually, when a consumer finds a hotel through their mobile phones, they would transfer to a desktop to make their bookings, because for consumers mobile phone bookings are a subpar experience.

Additionally, Salecycle found that most consumers do desktop browsing (58.9%) on travel sites compared to mobile browsing (41.1%). It was also found that the majority of consumers purchase through their desktop (81.7%) compared to mobile (18.3%). Moreover, Think with Google found that 55% of travelers admitted that they consult too many websites before they book, and this might be because they are too concerned about getting the best price. Consumers enjoy comparing prices; this is why they ought to use desktop more, because desktop platforms can offer more comparisons and multi-task better than mobile.

Furthermore, in a study by Worldpay found that almost all consumers (90%) book their flights on their desktops, and only very few consumers reserve on mobile (5%). The study also found that Americans abandon their booking when they find the checkout process takes too long (21%), there is too much information to input (20%), and they find the website not very secure (20%).

Why Would Consumers Use Desktop more than Mobile?

Gary Leff, a travel expert, claimed that he could do more complicated searches for flights using a laptop than using mobile. However, he tends to use his mobile when he needs to check-in online or when he would request upgrades for his flights. He would also use his mobile when he rents a car. Krystal Yee, a marketing professional, and a financial blogger, said that she would use her laptop for researching and price comparisons because it is harder to do such things in mobile apps or mobile devices.

Overall, consumers would use a desktop or laptop for better navigation in sites and view the images they need on a bigger screen, and as stated earlier, a desktop could offer better searches and offer better price comparisons than mobile apps or mobile devices.

Why Would Consumers Use Mobile rather than Desktop?

Criteo, an online advertising company, found that mobile devices are an excellent way to attract consumers who are traveling on impulse. It is also good for consumers who are planning to book within 24 hours of their check-in or departure because 89% of these consumers book their trips on mobile. This research came from 1,800 travel advertisers from 59 countries. Moreover, a study has shown that 72% of those who are looking for a flight within 48-hours use their mobile devices. Additionally, Expedia claims that there is an increase of unique visitors from mobile devices from the places of United States (75% increase), Canada (64%), and United Kingdom (82%).

Desktop Sites Vs. Mobile App/Sites

Insider compared desktop sites and mobile app/sites of different travel-booking sites. In this comparison, they studied what consumers look for when choosing a platform. They found that in, their desktop site is too cluttered, compared to their simpler mobile app. Many consumers found the company’s mobile app to be a better experience than their desktop site. When it comes to Expedia’s desktop site, consumers claim that it is better used when one is booking a bundle flight, hotel, and other car deals. However, the app is better when generating Expedia points because consumers are likely to gain twice the Expedia points in mobile than in desktop. Travelocity, a site owned by Expedia, gives the same benefits as Expedia’s site, but this time, it has a better “explanatory inspiration angle”. CheapOair a site caters more towards a specific demographic like senior citizens, military, students, and large groups, have better reception on their desktop site because these demographics are usually inclined in using the desktop. While for TripAdvisor both desktop and mobile sites offer the same experience. The same consumer experience goes for Hotwire.

Demographics of Mobile and Desktop Users

A study from both Google and Phocuswright found that younger consumers are more likely to use their mobile for booking flights compared to those 35 and above. However, only 41% of millennials have admitted to shopping a flight on their phone. Phocuswright has also found that millennial business travelers (aged 18-34) tend to book their new airline reservations and new hotel bookings through their smartphones (11). While Google survey found that only 23% of leisure travelers trust mobile apps to give them the same hotel or flight information when compared to desktops. Additionally, Google consumer insights have found the percentage of smartphone users who are comfortable with researching, booking, and planning their trip on their smartphone by country: 48% in the US, 67% in Brazil, 45% in UK, 27% in Germany, 44% in France, 87% in India, 53% in South Korea, 59% in Japan, and 45% in Australia.

Criteo claims from their study of more than 1,800 travel advertisers in 59 countries that North America only has 28% mobile bookings, Europe at 33%, 45% to 49% in Asia, and 53% in the Middle East. In addition to this, another study found that 47% of consumers booked their travel through supplier websites, while 25% used online travel agency websites including Expedia, Priceline, and others, and 23% used travel agents. This means that 72% of consumers choose to book online (9).

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Travel Industry Conversion Rates

Based on the average conversion rates of three regions in the world, in 2015 the average conversion rate for travel websites was 0.93% on smartphones and 3.1% on desktops. In general, desktop conversion rates for travel websites are around 50% higher than mobile conversion rates. This is backed up by data on traffic and purchase sources, which shows that although visiting travel websites could be done more through mobile, purchasing on desktops is still more preferred.

CONVERSION benchmarks for travel websites

Based on a March 2019 survey conducted by Littledata on 179 travel stores, the average conversion rate for travel websites is 0.6%. Littledata states that a conversion rate of greater than 2.2% puts one's site in the best 20% among the travel websites surveyed. Those with conversion rates above 4.4% are among the best 10%. On the other hand, a conversion rate of less than 0.1% is considered to be below the benchmark for a travel website. If one's site has this conversion rate, then it is among the worst 20% of travel websites.

According to a 2019 KPI Report by Wolfgang Digital, the average conversion rate for travel websites is 2.09%, the average conversion rate by a user is 2.92%, and the average order value is €526.94.


According to a report by Econsultancy, desktop conversion rate may be 50% more than that of mobile. In the U.S. in particular, the average conversion rate for the travel industry in 2015 was 0.7% on smartphones and 2.4% on desktops. In Europe, it was 1.2% on smartphones and 4.2% on desktops. In the Asia Pacific, it was 0.9% on smartphones and 2.7% on desktops. Taking the average of the three regions, the average conversion rate on smartphones was 0.93% and 3.1% on desktops. According to a review by Criteo in 2017, for travel advertisers, mobile websites posted conversion rates of 6%, while native apps had rates as high as 20%.

Data from SaleCycle on 500 global brands shows that 58.9% of the generated traffic on travel websites were from desktop browsing while 41.1% were from mobile browsing. The majority of purchases (81.7%) happened through desktop, and only 18.3% attributed to mobile. Some reasons why people prefer to make their purchase through desktops include better viewing of images, ease of navigation, and that travel-related purchases are usually more complex and costly.

The recent report by Wolfgang Digital backs the data from SaleCycle. According to the report, 48% of the traffic generated in travel websites comes from mobile browsing, 41% from desktops, and 11% from tablets. However, the majority of the revenue gained by travel websites are still through desktop purchases (66%), followed by mobile purchases (23%), and then through tablets (11%).


  • The top sources of traffic for travel websites are from organic search (44%), direct search (21%), and paid search (18%).
  • The top sources of revenue for travel websites are from organic search (41%), paid search (23%), and referrals (16%).

From Part 02
  • "people often search via mobile but then convert on desktop once they are back at work and have further considered the decision; and second, they tried to book via mobile, but the experience was subpar, driving them to a desktop or to a competitor. "
  • "In Worldpay’s recent study, they found that 90% of flights were booked on desktops as compared with just 5% reserved on mobile."
  • "There are several reasons why people prefer to buy on a laptop or PC. For one, it can be easier to navigate around a site and view images on a bigger screen, so some shoppers may browse on mobile and select products later on."
  • "For those booking within 24 hours of check-in or departure, 89% of their trips are booked on mobile devices,"
  • "Expedia found in its report that the mobile audience for looking up and booking travel arrangements is big and growing"