Net savvy smartphone users book travel from their phones: Google report

18 Jul,2013

By A Correspondent


With the growing adoption of smartphones in India, Google India released a study conducted by research agency Ipsons titled ‘Multi-screen traveller’. The study was conducted to understand the behaviour of smartphone users in India and its impact on the travel vertical – focusing on a target group which uses multiple devices to get online for their travel related needs.


The study revealed that 76% users use both computer and mobile across the travel stages (dreaming, researching, booking, experience, sharing) while 60% users move from one device to another when they switch from researching to booking. Out of the 1500+ leisure travellers surveyed – 87% users said that they have used mobile phones to research about their trips and 66% respondents also booked a trip element on it. 60% said that the information they find while researching on their mobile phones influences their booking decision.


In terms of triggers for holiday planning, online sources were rated higher than offline mediums with Internet getting five touch points in comparison to offline which offered two touch points. The biggest triggers for holiday destinations/planning were online pictures – where 88% users said that online pictures trigger their holiday planning. Browsing pictures on social networks, blogs, travel sites get users to start thinking of their next vacation destination.


In the planning and research phase, the target group did not differentiate between their choice of Internet access device – user’s rated using desktop, mobile and tablets at over 85% – clearly highlighting the multi-screen behavior of the users for holiday or trip planning.  Smartphone’s & tablets were also the first go to devices for travel researchers even at home.  Convenience was rated as the biggest motivator for use of mobile.


Speaking about the study findings, Vikas Agnihotri, Director – Travel & BFSI, Google India, said “We already know that smartphone users on an average spend 76 minutes on the internet through their mobile. The Smartphone user base is set to explode in India to touch 70 million by end of this year. Over 1/3rd of travel related search queries on Google India are now coming from mobile and tablet devices, with queries from smart phones growing at 397% YoY. This study establishes that today’s hyper-connected, hyper-informed Smartphone user is consuming online content across devices. This impacts the complexity in engaging users from a marketer’s standpoint. With travel being the most evolved and mature vertical, we believe that the findings from this study will help them to devise strategies to engage the users across multiple online screens/devices.”


The study also looked at the booking behavior of the smartphone and tablet users, wherein 66% respondents said that they’ve booked using a mobile phone and 69% on a tablet. While the absolute numbers of transactions is low in the real world, the report does indicate the growing trend of bookings being completed on mobile devices from mature users.


From the respondents – 36% users said that they booked a flight on a mobile, while 25% have booked a hotel room and 13% have submitted a holiday lead from their mobile device. The study also revealed significant cross-device attribution. Out of 87% who researched on their mobile phones, 76% booked on mobile and 80% booked on a computer as well. Concerns around security were cited as the biggest barrier for booking on mobile.


The respondents also highlighted the convenience and preference for mobile applications over using mobile browsers for booking their trip and sharing information on the trip. For booking and sharing, mobile app usage was 12% to 15% higher in comparison to mobile sites.


The study highlighted that the Indian travel planner goes through a variety of resources around destination research, like browsing through pictures on social networks (74%), reading trip information on travel sites & apps (56%) and watching videos about destinations (52%).


While on the trip – users also showed high usage of Internet from their mobile phones. Mobile was used as the information and communication wallet when traveling. 74% respondents said they shared or posted on their social network and 46% respondents re-scheduled a trip element using the phone. Over 30% checked maps, weather and events from their mobile phones on a vacation. Post holiday, over 50% respondents said they uploaded photos and posted reviews using their phones and interestingly over 10% had started researching for their next holiday.


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