The use of internet booking engines for booking flights, rooms or tours have been growing drastically in the recent years. Internet booking engines are basically search engines with a specific topic/company of interest.
An automated booking system was first used by American Airlines under the name “Electromechanical Reservisor”, which was able to provide temporary storage requiring physical look-ups.
Complex reservation systems, however, appeared first in 1953, when American Airlines produced the Semi-automatic Business Research Environment (SABRE) which lead to computerized booking systems. Later on, those systems spread to travel agents as well .
In our century, however, a computer is not the only means of using an internet booking engine. Being able to connect via our smartphones or tablet PC’s, one could make a booking even after arrival nowadays.
But how much of travel booking are made via mobile devices? Is it only a small percentage or are mobile booking going to dominate tourism in the future?
Criteo, a digital performance advertising company that has over 1,000 employees and 17 offices across the world published the results of an extensive research after the first half of 2014, regarding mobile bookings and their ratio to online bookings in general. The results are quite striking in that mobile bookings are more common than most people would think and they are on the rise.
Mobile Booking Growth Rates
According to Criteo’s report, booking via mobile devices outrank desktop bookings to a great extent. In the first half of 2014, the growth rate of mobile bookings was 20% while desktop bookings could only grow by 2%.
In the related period, 21% of all hotel bookings worldwide were made via mobile devices. This number does not even include the sales performed through mobile apps.
Another interesting finding that Criteo reached was that mobile booking behavior revealed differences according to countries. According to the report, Japanese travelers utilized mobile booking opportunities three times as much as Germans in 2014 H1.
Booking Value On Mobile Devices
On average, the booking value on mobile devices are almost even with desktop bookings. However, in several categories such as car rentals, air ticket purchases or hotel bookings, mobile devices outperform desktop computers.
The report also suggests that more complex booking actions, like booking packages with a lot of details, are more often performed on devices with larger screens (tables, desktop computers).
The booking value on mobile devices was generally high due to the fact that last minute bookings were predominantly made via mobile devices. However, hotel bookings in terms of booking value on mobile devices had a lower value since last minute hotel stays tend to have a lower value, according to the report.
The travel report of Critero is really beneficial for hotels, car rental services and travel agents all in that this comprehensive report may allow them to design their marketing strategy accordingly. It appears that making bookings through mobile devices is going to soar due to the ever-increasing internet speeds and accessibility. So, it may be a good idea to invest on targeting mobile devices for marketing.