The mobile travel market is flourishing. This was illustrated impressively by Expedia Market Manager Arne Erichsen at the ITB Berlin Convention 2015. By 2020 there will be around 18 billion mobile devices in use. India and other Asian countries in particular are responsible for the high increase in numbers. They already rank second in the mobile device market and are 650 per cent larger than the third largest market. In Germany the market is growing too, said Erichsen. In 2016 mobile devices will be used to book one in every five overnights in Germany, twice as many as in 2013. “For Berlin’s hotel industry, where over 5,000 rooms are booked daily, that means that 1,000 reservations are made with mobile devices.“ Good mobile device products and interfaces were now needed, he added.
“Customers on the move do not want to generate long pages of hotel reviews using smartphone keys or click on a series of links“, said Erichsen. “Information must be easy and quick to obtain, relevant and fit onto one page.“ In particular, rather than just accepting online reviews one should use them to communicate with the customer. He called upon travel technology providers and developers to make an active effort to support this technological process.
Two interesting trends:
• Mobile usage is becomíng more diverse. Whereas previously, travel products were booked using mostly smartphones (2009: 40 per cent; desktops 60 per cent), in 2013 25 per cent of online bookings were made with other mobile devices (wearables, tablets, smart TVs). Only 23 per cent of bookings were made using desktops.
• Reservations via mobile devices are becoming increasingly “normal“: they are being made earlier (2012: 16.7 days in advance of arrival; 2014: 27.4 days) and average stays are becoming longer (2012: 1.6 overnights; 2014: 2.2 overnights). “Naturally, with mobile devices customers tend to look for places close by, make a quick search at short notice and book without delay“, Erichsen said. Mobile devices are now being used for well-organised stays and more than just last-minute bookings. Isabel Bommer