Speaking at the Mobile Insider Summit last month, Megan Hughes, director of product, mobile at Orbitz, noted that a third of the travel site’s hotel bookings now take place via mobile compared to only 3% four years ago. That was among the trends she highlighted that show how the consumer mobile shift is affecting Orbitz, and major travel sites as a whole.
New research from retargeting ad platform Criteo provides further indications that mobile is playing a growing role in the travel booking process. The firm based its findings on first-party transaction data from 1,000 travel sites in the first half of 2014. These include travel suppliers as well as online travel agencies (OTAs) that work with Criteo.
The firm’s analysis spanned 300 million bookings and over $150 billion in transactions. Criteo used its AD-X tracking technology to determined click-through rates and resulting conversions.
During the period, Criteo found a 20% increase in mobile bookings compared to only 2% on the desktop. About 21% of hotel bookings were made on a smartphone or tablet, with 15% of air travel and 13% of car rental bookings handled via mobile as well.
When it comes to vacation packages -- the most lucrative type of travel booking -- desktop computers still lead the way. But the study found the value of bookings for other types of travel purchases, like car rentals and cruises, was not significantly different across desktop, the iPhone, iPad or Android devices. And Android devices had higher average bookings than the other three options.
The study showed that the average booking for air was 21% higher on mobile than desktop, and 13% higher for auto rentals. This reflects the pattern that last-minute bookings tend to take place more often in mobile, and are typically more costly than those made further in advance.
This is mostly because a large share of mobile bookings are made on the same day, and unlike week-long vacation bookings (or flights), last-minute hotel stays tend to be shorter and of lower value,” stated the report. Similarly, Orbitz found that 65% of hotel bookings via mobile are last-minute versus only 15% on the desktop.