The rapidly growing adoption of mobile devices and technology by U.S. travelers, as reported in Phocuswright’s Traveler Technology Survey 2014, is transforming the face of American travel as this technology is incorporated in its planning and completion. This will only increase as travelers become more proficient and comfortable in the use of these devices and in turn, become further reliant upon them. The Phocuswright study indicates that, as 2014 was winding down, the majority of travelers have at least some degree of understanding of how to plan a trip utilizing their mobile devices. Travelers who are completely adept at mobile trip planning have the capability of selecting their destination, shopping for, booking, and then sharing with others their travel arrangements. All right from the palm of their hand, which travelers are discovering as they become more comfortable with using their mobile devices.
Several meaningful statistics from the Phocuswright study clearly illustrate the rapid expansion in the use of mobile technology in travel planning by consumers.
- Nearly 70 percent used their mobile device at some point of the lifecycle of their trip. This includes either picking a destination, shopping for their travel arrangements, and/or booking travel. This represents a rise from 47 percent during 2013.
- 32 percent of travelers shopped for their travel using their smartphones. A further 25 percent took the process further to the completion of their booking.
- The Phocuswright research indicates the comfort level for travelers using their smartphones for trip planning is on the rise. 32 percent of those travelers who chose to plan their trips using a smartphone in 2014 found the experience very easy. This showed an increase from 23 percent in 2013.
2014 represented a big step forward in the actual use of mobile devices by travelers to plan their trips. With almost 70 percent utilizing those devices in the process of trip planning, for the first time a majority of travelers have used a mobile device to either select a destination and shop for, or book a trip. However, travelers are still using PCs, at least at some point of the travel planning funnel, by 8 out of every 10. Of course, age demographics do play a role in the adoption level of mobile trip planning.
- Among younger travelers, trip planning on mobile devices is by far the preferred method. This was especially true for millennials aged 25-34, who used their mobile devices to plan travel at the rate of 86 percent.
- With the exception of travelers over 65, the majority in all age groups planned at least some of their travel using mobile devices.
- Once again, Millennials are increasingly rejecting the desktop web, according to the Phocuswright research. Only seven out of ten even used PC’s at all during travel planning, as compared to eight out of ten for all other travelers. Nearly half of all Millennial travelers chose a destination from their smartphone, while a further 38 percent went on to complete the process and book using their phones.
U.S. travelers are also using their smartphones once they are on their trips and at their destinations. Almost half, 46 percent, researched travel activities such as restaurants for example, on their smartphones. At the same time they are sharing their experiences with others via social media. In the last part of this series we will examine this aspect of traveler technology in 2015.
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