Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Thu May 21 2015

Mobile Travel World, Marketing Strategies Detailed in Report

Travel Technology | Ryan Rudnansky | May 21, 2015

Mobile Travel World, Marketing Strategies Detailed in Report

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

As the world continues to revolve around mobile devices, Expedia Media Solutions recently came out with a report entitled “The Mobilized Travel Consumer” that helps travel marketers best direct their efforts in the United States.

Referencing recent reports “Travel Decisions in a Multiscreen World” and “The Rise of Mobile Adoption,” The Mobilized Travel Consumer report lays out handy information about how U.S. travelers engage with mobile devices and digital content.

For one, roughly 172 million people owned a smartphone in the U.S. in 2014, up 22 percent from 2013. On top of that, 93 million people owned a tablet (up 36 percent). Consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. spent more time on mobile devices compared to the previous year, as well (up 30 percent and 22 percent, respectively).

All told, 156 million people in the U.S. engage with digital travel content, and 90 percent of regular monthly visitors use their smartphone or tablet.

Mobile vs. Desktop

In the U.K., two-thirds of all travel site visitors engage with travel sites via mobile devices, while an eye-opening 25 percent of U.K. consumers now use their mobile devices exclusively when visiting travel sites, abandoning the desktop computer altogether.

Traveling forward, half of all U.S. travelers plan to book with a tablet in the next year (up from 29 percent in the past six months). On top of that, 29 percent plan to book with a smartphone (up from 21 percent in the past six months).

In the U.K., 70 percent of those who booked travel via a smartphone would do so again; in the U.S., 80 percent would book again on a mobile device. A whopping 90 percent of all consumers in both countries would book again from a tablet.

Indeed, capture the attention of travelers who book via mobile devices and you are likely to reap the rewards over the short term and the long term.

When to Market to Mobile-friendly Travelers

Of course, market to mobile-friendly travelers at the wrong time and it’s a waste of time and effort.

In the U.S., 65 percent of consumers own three or more devices while 33 percent own five or more devices, according to Travel Decisions in a Multiscreen World. The times of the day they use these various devices varies.

For example, in both the U.S. and the U.K., the PC is usually used during work hours, while tablets and smartphones are most often used in the evenings and nights at home (from 6 a.m. to midnight). Smartphones are used at various times from day to night.

During the planning phase, most consumers still use a PC, whether it be at work or at home. Tablets are used almost as much as PCs when planning at work or on the go, but rarely at work. Smartphones are generally used for planning at home and on the go. Predictably, tablets and smartphones are most used on the go when planning or making changes to the itinerary.

In all, 28 percent of consumers use their smartphone or tablet for planning. For travel-related shopping, 21 percent of consumers used their smartphones, while 19 percent use their tablets.

Digital Marketing Strategies

Considering travelers use various mobile devices during different times, it’s important to have a wide-ranging and cohesive marketing strategy throughout the day, according to The Mobilized Travel Consumer report.

In terms of social media, apps like Hootsuite allow you to schedule times for posts across various social media platforms.

Expedia also offers targeting solutions for advertisers and marketers to reach consumers on multiple platforms at critical times.

It’s also important for travel companies to advertise on mobile-friendly websites. According to Travel Decisions in a Multiscreen World, of all travel-related ads that appear each month for the PC, some 500 million are viewed in windows that are shrunk to less than 75 percent of the PC’s actual screen size. In that sense, presenting ads that are blown up on the screen can be vital in grabbing the attention of the digital travel consumer as a variety of businesses vie for his or her attention.

Last but certainly not least, travel companies need to factor mobile search on the Internet into their marketing efforts, as well as target specifically for the mobile device.

In terms of mobile search, it’s worth noting that Google—the largest and most wide-reaching search engine—now ranks sites higher in search results if they are mobile-friendly. In that sense, mobile-friendly sites get more eyeballs on their content, and that can greatly help advertisers on these sites.

Expedia has a TravelAds solution that helps marketers target consumers who are searching via a mobile device, while also offering mobile targeting solutions such as offer-based campaigns and mobile-exclusive deals. Marketers can also target mobile consumer after they’ve already purchased travel, allowing for upselling opportunities when the consumer inevitably returns to his or her mobile device.

According to The Mobilized Travel Consumer report, luxury and business travelers are most likely to click on ads when using mobile devices.



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