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Stay Relevant: Get Mobile, Provide Options

Travel firms with mobile-friendly websites will steal a march on the competition

The rapid transition from desktop to mobile bookings is gaining momentum across every retail segment.

But new analysis by affiliate marketing network affilinet has revealed the travel sector is witnessing the biggest surge in traffic via handheld devices with mobile sales doubling year on year.

The company analysed its year-on-year traffic for general online shopping and web travel purchases and the results revealed the travel sector has seen the biggest surge in online browsing via handheld devices, from just 13% of traffic coming from mobiles and 11% from tablets in 2015 to 39% on mobile and 17% via tablets in 2016.

This represents a whopping 196% increase in mobile traffic and a significant 65% lift in tablet use. At the same time, desktop browsing witnessed a substantial fall, from 74% of traffic to travel sites using traditional computers to just 41%.

“This spike in traffic increase is not hugely surprising, especially when you see the IAB OPM study from last year reporting the average number of internet-enabled devices in a UK household at 8.3,” says Richard Greenwell, head of operations and affiliate development.

However, he notes the percentage of actual sales on desktops within the travel sector still sits at 66%, revealing that while consumers are happy to research their holidays through a handheld device, “the process of paying for one is still proving to be tricky”.

An Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) booking trends survey conducted earlier this year draws similar conclusions, revealing that when it comes to booking holidays online, many people are using their mobile devices.

When asked what device they used when booking a holiday online in the last 12 months, either through a travel agent, tour operator, booking engine or direct, nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents said a mobile phone or tablet device such as an iPad, according to the research, which was conducted on behalf of ABTA by tourism market research specialist Arkenford Ltd.

However, the PC/Laptop remains the device of choice, used by 89% of people who booked a holiday online, which could indicate that consumers are finding desktop versions of travel websites more user friendly than mobile versions.

Unsurprisingly, ABTA found the younger generation had embraced the use of mobile devices to book holidays online, with nearly half (47%) of those aged 15 to 24 using this method to book an overseas trip in the last 12 months. The number booking online via a mobile device drops significantly for those aged 45 to 54 with just over one in ten (11%) in this age group having used a mobile device to book via the web.

ABTA’s head of communications, Victoria Bacon, says the results prove “consumers want choice”.

“Travel agents and tour operators need to ensure they have the right tools and technologies to market their products and offer consumers the option to book and browse, through a range of different methods,” she says.

Getting your online presence right is imperative and requires a partnership with an experienced travel technology provider.

Traveltek has been building travel websites for more than 20 years, educating agents and operators about the power of the web and introducing them to a suite of innovative products that has boosted their online presence to new heights.

We have transformed offline agencies with small information-based sites into e-commerce giants.

Our in-house team offers unrivalled expertise, delivering creative solutions to user interface problems and working in tandem with external agencies to ensure travel brands translate well to the web.

We’ve kept pace with rapid advances in technology and user trends, mastering the art of developing mobile-friendly web solutions with multi-lingual options.

Traveltek offers much more than a booking engine – our front-end websites support an extensive list of features, from enquiry forms, email sign-ups and special offer listings and searches, to automatically-generated offers, hand-picked cruise deals, image carousels, and much more.

We also believe in empowering our clients to define the user experience – after all, you know your customers better than anyone.

Our cutting-edge Page Builder CMS gives companies total control over their travel websites

Whether you build your own site or we do it on your behalf, we will ensure your web presence is world class.

At the end of the day, it’s about providing customers with choice and high service standards across all touch points.

Regardless of how your clients book –  in person, on the phone, or online via their desktop or smartphone – the aim should be to offer them a consistent and flawless experience.

Let Traveltek look after your web presence and rest assured your online customers will be in safe hands.