Last updated: 11:42 PM ET, Fri May 02 2014

Small Luxury Hotels See Increases in Mobile Browsing, Booking

Hotel & Resort | Claudette Covey | April 02, 2013

Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) revealed how significant the mobile economy is to the luxury travel industry with its latest data on global browsing and booking trends.

The latest figures from the luxury hotel brand highlight the growing ubiquity of handheld devices over 12 months by comparing visits and bookings on the company’s Web site, by iPad, iPhone and Android handsets. 

The year-to-year analysis for SLH’s online activity for January, traditionally one of the most popular booking months, not only reinforced the growing trend for mobile browsing and booking, but also underpinned the growing demand for luxury travel in the emerging markets, which saw the greatest percentage increase of traffic SLH’s Web site.

In January, SLH Web site hits in China were up by 406 percent year to year; Brazil saw an increase of 104 percent, followed by Russia with 22 percent increase. The U.K. saw a positive increase, up 15 percent, while the U.S. and Germany saw slight increases of 1 percent and 4 percent respectively, compared to the same month the previous year.

In terms of Web site visits by mobile devices, the developed economies saw the most significant growth. The iPad continues to be the most popular handset for searching hotels on slh.com, with iPad visits from the U.K. recording the largest share of total Web site visits at 22 percent in January, up 108 percent year to year, followed by Canada (19 percent), France (17 percent) and Germany (16 percent).

Web site visits by iPhone were also marginally up year to year with the Canadian and Chinese markets, which both saw the most significant jump, recording a 193 percent and 105 percent increase in iPhone traffic to slh.com. Android visits were also up in most markets, although it still represents a very small proportion of the total volume of Web site visits, suggesting there is untapped potential for more mobile-friendly content. 

The mobile technology market in the U.K. continued to surge and accounted for an increasing amount of the total online search volume for accommodations. In January 30 percent of visits to slh.com from the U.K. were from a mobile device, compared to 18 percent in 2012, representing a 50 percent increase year to year. This data mirrored a nationwide technology trend for the industry according to the results of a Google U.K. survey revealing that during the third quarter of 2012, 33 percent of all online searches for accommodations were from a mobile device, a sharp increase from the same quarter in 2011 when mobile accounted for just 5 percent of searches. 

Meanwhile, the percentage of Web site visitors making bookings on slh.com across all mobile platforms remains fairly low worldwide, although the conversion rate is growing. More than 14 percent of all bookings in the last two quarters of 2012 were made by iPad, iPhone and Android, up from 7 percent across the same period in 2011.

China and Russia saw a particularly large increase in year on year bookings by iPad, with the iPad accounting for 24 percent (compared to 0 percent in 2012) and 15 percent (up 700 percent) of total bookings respectively.

The number of bookings made by iPhone and Android remains very small, with the exception of Japan, where 7 percent of all bookings via slh.com were made by iPhone.

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