A relatively recent phenomenon as a result of the recession, last minute mobile hotel booking has been driven by the plethora of websites offering these deals to travelers. These websites have garnered much attention among hoteliers, in addition to the traveling public. However, as the public’s acceptance and usage of mobile devices has begun to mature, travelers are utilizing their smartphones for much more than finding the cheapest travel deals. According to research from Phocuswright’s Traveler Technology Survey 2014, travelers are using those mobile devices increasingly for booking their hotel stay days or even weeks ahead of the intended travel.
- Only 14 percent of mobile hotel bookings, made via smartphone, were made for travel one day or less in advance.
- 24 percent of the smartphone bookings in the Phocuswright study were for travel taking place in the next two to six days.
- The clear majority, 62 percent, of hotel bookings via smartphone were for hotel stays a week or more in advance of intended travel.
These numbers, all from the Phocuswright survey, point to a level of maturation in the mobile travel market not seen before. This has been brought about by the willingness of travelers to book hotel stays on their smartphones much earlier in the booking funnel. They are now increasingly choosing to make transactions on their smartphones, even when they may be in a position to utilize other platforms. In the past, mobile travel was primarily booked on the go, during the actual trip.
Of course, demographics play a significant role in determining the level of prevalence for last minute mobile hotel booking among travelers. Despite travelers of all ages now using their smartphones to book travel well in advance, certain age groups are much more likely.
- Travelers over the age of 55, a market segment with potentially more time on their hands for spontaneous travel and booking last minute, are the most likely to book hotels at the last minute. Last minute bookings made up nearly 25 percent of the mobile hotel bookings for this age categor
- Among 35-54 year olds, only 8 percent accounted for last minute mobile hotel bookings. This is probably a result of this age group being more likely to be traveling with children.
- Millennials, the most comfortable with technology, amounted to 17 percent of the total. This age group was only slightly above the average overall of all age groups.
The Phocuswright survey clearly illustrates for hoteliers that the last minute hotel booker is not the issue it once was. Travelers of all age groups are becoming increasingly comfortable on their mobile smartphones, and are changing their travel buying techniques as a result.
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