min read

Hand in hand: How mobile web and the travel sector are made for each other

by Babita Earle , 13.03.2014

Timing and relevance – these are the keys to optimising your mobile web strategy. And if you’re operating in the travel sector, there’s no better channel to reach your audience. Our research shows that a quarter of all mobile users in the UK reach for their phones to research and book their holiday. So travel companies without a mobile website will be losing significant ground to their digitally-enabled customers and competitors.

The on-the-go nature of mobile allows you to hone your messaging to reflect your targets’ aspirations at precisely the time and place they’re considering their next holiday. So, when we learn that young women earning £10-40K, on their lunch break between Tuesday and Thursday, are the prime group most likely to use mobile to research their holiday, it’s easier to see how to construct messaging that will resonate.

Gaining traction in a crowded market

One of the defining characteristics of mobile web in travel is the long tail of sites. Our findings show that a huge 90% of users spend time across 450 sites. The top three sites (TripAdvisor, lastminute.com and Booking.com) themselves only account for around 20% of sessions. It is this low frequency and high variation that sets a particular challenge for marketers – how to gain traction?

Maximise consumer touchpoints

Digital media is a key component of customers’ purchase journeys and the number of touchpoints available in the travel category is prolific. Understanding and engaging with consumers at these touchpoints offers one solution to gaining competitive edge. If you intervene with the right messaging in their purchase journey, you’ll steer their choices in your favour.

The other way to gain traction is to investigate apps and their encouragement of interactive social usage. Although at present apps are only focused on the major travel brands, such as British Airways, and are developed for very specific tasks, we have found that they attract a more even gender mix and reach across higher incomes.

Pulling in new users

Apps may be the way forward, to attract a greater spread of users across gender, age and socio-economic groups. And whilst messaging tactics will be geared towards key mobile web user groups, the challenge of engaging a male audience, older holiday researchers and those with families, or even those who prefer to browse at the weekends, will result in a change in message focus.

Few travel companies have a mobile only strategy so it’s also important to balance mobile web with fixed use. Although the percentage of people who research and plan their holiday via a fixed site may be declining, it’s a significant proportion that cannot be ignored.

So while travel and mobile web are made for each other, the challenges lie in growing the channel’s reach. Knowing who uses mobile web, when and how, will help build your future strategy, so read the full article here on the new release of our Mobile Insights Travel report and download the infographic.