PHOTO: Americans are looking to their smartphones more often than ever to reserve a hotel room. (Photo via Flickr/Lea Latumahina)
Mobile hotel bookings in the U.S. grew tremendously in 2016, according to research from hotel price comparison platform HotelsCombined.
Bookings made on smartphones increased by 67 percent last year compared to 2015, while reservations made on tablets rose by 30 percent year on year.
Meanwhile, desktop bookings increased by just 4 percent.
According to HotelsCombined's data, Americans typically use mobile phones to book 48 hours prior to check-in, with 72 percent of mobile bookings coming within that timeframe. When booking on the same day as check-in, though, Americans prefer their tablets as tablet bookings account for 40 percent of all last-minute reservations.
However, mobile and desktop aren't far behind when it comes to bookings made within 24 hours of check-in at 36 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
California booked more hotels via mobile than any other state in 2016, followed by Kansas, Texas, Florida and New York. On the other hand, Rhode Island, Vermont, Michigan, Iowa and Indiana experienced the largest growth in mobile hotel bookings last year.
"HotelsCombined noticed the shift towards mobile bookings back in 2014. Since then we have seen mobile bookings continue to grow year on year, while desktop bookings have decreased," said HotelsCombined travel expert Chris Rivett in a statement. "We believe that this number will continue to rise as more and more people embrace a mobile or tablet as their primary device."
Although mobile hotel searches have been increasing at a higher rate than desktop searches of late—the former grew 137 percent in 2016, 25 percent more than the latter—the total volume of desktop hotel searches was still seven times greater than that of mobile searches last year.
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"It's clear that Americans are getting more comfortable booking on mobile, but for travel search and discovery desktops are still preferred," added Rivett. "Travelers will often sit down at home with a laptop or computer for the discovery phase as it can often require research on all aspects of a trip and discussion with family or friends. After that, there’s usually a mulling period, followed by a decision, and then the hotel booking itself is often made on a mobile device."
Rivett also points out that some travelers often jump straight to the booking phase in hopes of getting the best price in a hurry.