It was the best of finds, it was the worst of finds...
Surveys into travellers booking habits are commonplace. At one end of the scale there are VC-backed bespoke research firms; at the other, small PR agencies who commission small studies for small clients and come up with A Big Result.
One observation is that, quite often, surveys say different things. Statistics Weekly, if such a title exists, could explain why in more detail but sample size, methodology, phrasing of the questions and the timing of the survey all come into play.
Earlier this week ABTA - "the UK’s largest travel association, representing travel agents and tour operators" - released its Holiday Habits Report 2016 which said that "mobile phones are less popular as a device for booking than they were a year ago".
A few days later, the London office of Chicago-based global marketing tech firm Signal unveiled some research which said that "[UK] travellers are using their smartphones for both planning and booking airline tickets and hotel rooms more frequently than they did a year ago".
So we have two surveys, looking at the same source market with a similar sample size covering a similar period, coming to a completely different conclusion.
ABTA's "mobile is less popular than a year ago" finding is based on "responses from a nationally representative sample of 1,962 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to August 2016. Fieldwork was conducted in August 2016." The survey was conducted by Arkenford.
Signal's "smartphones are used more frequently than a year ago" finding is based on 2,000 consumers and the question was formulated around bookings in the twelve months to September 2016. This survey was conducted through ICM.
The difference in definition between "holidays" and "airline tickets and hotel rooms" could perhaps explain the disconnect in findings.
The idea that mobile bookings - even for "holidays" - are less popular in the UK than a year ago goes against the grain, but if that's what ABTA's sample said, then that's what they said. Sometimes a dissenting voice is worth listening to, if only to re-confirm the established wisdom.
NB Image by Digitalista/BigStock