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.
CONSUMER PERCEPTIONS ON SWITCHING PLATFORMS FOR TRAVEL BOOKINGS.
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.
CUSTOMER REVIEWS FROM VARIOUS TRAVEL SITES
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 Booking.com, 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.
BEHAVIORAL DIFFERENCES BASED ON CONSUMERS
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).