The tsunami of mobile bookings has been heading for the digital shore for several years now, with some companies like Hotel Tonight thriving exclusively at the peak of this incoming wave.
A recent study underwritten by Hotwire reveals that the wave is crashing to shore at a greater rate for those under 34 - meaning that mobile bookings will become de rigueur for younger consumers as they age into their peak income years.
The study, which was conducted by Harris Interactive, surveyed 2,000 American adults aged 18 or older about their mobile booking habits as part of Hotwire's third annual American Traveler Behavior Study.
Respondents under 34 were far more likely to have completed a booking on a mobile device.
Here are the specifics:
- 18% of adults who have ever booked travel have done so at one point on a mobile device.
- 37% of adults aged 18-34 have booked travel on a mobile.
- 25% of those aged 35-44 have made a mobile booking.
Of those that have completed a travel booking on a mobile device:
- 12% have booked travel on a smartphone.
- 10% have made a booking on a mobile browser.
- 7% of those making bookings did so on an app.
- 10% have booked on a tablet.
- 8% have booked on a tablet via a mobile browser.
- 3% used a tablet-based app to make a booking.
In the release
, Hotwire honcho Henrik Kjellberg sees this trend as vital to the business, especially because the company saw a 60% year-over-year increase in mobile bookings in the first 9 months of 2013.
Mobile purchasing has become an increasingly large trend in travel, given that more than half of Americans now own smartphones. So, I see the 18 percent as the tip of the iceberg in terms of mobile travel booking, considering players in the space are continuing to optimize their sites and products for the mobile booker.
Mobile is ideal for last-minute travel bookings as many providers offer incredible discounts through easy-to-use travel apps like Hotwire's, especially on bookings made the day of arrival. We expect the number of mobile bookings to grow exponentially, outpacing desktop bookings in the next year or two, as more people of all ages become comfortable booking through their mobile device and making last-minute purchases.
Of course, close-in bookings will always be the more ripe use case for on-the-go mobile bookings.
As smartphone screens continue to grow larger and handset manufacturers strive towards integrated mobile payment solutions, mobile bookings should eventually be less painful and far more seamless than the current iteration.
Expect mobile bookings to rise exponentially as the friction-to-purchase decreases substantially in the coming 18 months.
NB: Mobile wallet image courtesy Shutterstock.