American Marketer

Travel and hospitality

60pc of digital travel bookings will come from mobile this year: report

August 18, 2017

More travelers are beginning to use mobile as their go-to travel tool. Image credit: Preferred Hotels and Resorts


For global travelers, mobile is increasingly the digital tool of choice for planning and browsing purposes.

Fifty-two percent of travel related browsing is on mobile, and that number is only slated to increase. This data comes from an infographic released by AppLift, which lays out the details on how mobile has swept over the travel industry in the past few years.

Global mobile

Mobile has been similar to a snowball rolling down a hill: it just keeps getting bigger.

More industries are constantly being disrupted and reshaped by new mobile technologies, and customers now do a majority of their browsing and digital activities through their mobile devices.

This is no different for the travel industry, which has seen a huge upswing in mobile use recently.

AppLift lays out the changes in a new infographic. In 2015, less than 44 percent of travel bookings were done through mobile devices.

Mobile travel behavior. Image credit: AppLift

While this is still a respectable number, 2017 is projected to see that number rise to almost 60 percent of all travel bookings coming through mobile devices.

This is in tandem with overall browsing and searching for travel information through mobile landing at 52 percent.

Additionally, 44 percent of travelers use their mobile devices to organize their trips while abroad and to keep on schedule. Another 72 percent use mobile devices to find restaurants while on a trip.

Finally, looking at the top travel applications by country shows that airline, booking and ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft are by far the most popular means of mobile travel search.

The APAC region, including India and Australia, is the area of the world where the most revenue from mobile travel comes in, followed closely by North America and the European Union.

Travel companion
The desire for mobile travel bookings is especially strong in Asia.

For young travelers in Asia, mobile is increasingly the most prevalent way of staying connected.

Criteo estimates that by 2020, three out of four households in China, and two out of three in Vietnam, will be equipped with smartphones, making the countries more connected and susceptible to campaigns involving mobile activation.

In terms of travel, related sales through mobile have surpassed 50 percent in Asia this year. By 2020, this will extend to almost three quarters of all online travel bookings (see story).

Mobile travel behavior. Image credit: AppLift

Some of the top travel brands have responded to this desire, both in and outside of Asia, by upping their mobile presence.

For example, Preferred Hotel and Resorts launched a new mobile application to streamline the hotel booking process for its loyalty customers.

The app puts the company’s digital loyalty program, iPrefer, into a simple mobile package. This development was a response to a growing desire among travelers to manage both their loyalty programs and travel information through their mobile devices (see story).

Other initiatives have followed from airlines, resorts and travel agencies.

With the increasing importance of mobile technology as an aid for travelers, the travel industry’s relationship with mobile will continue to deepen.