Mobile and metasearch continue to leave traditional outlets behind for US travel shopping

Recent research by Phocuswright shows that mobile usage for travel shopping and booking among US consumers continues to gain traction as they leave their laptops behind.


Summary:

  • Mobile usage for travel shopping and booking continues to gain traction as consumers leave their laptops behind, according to Phocuswright research;
  • US Consumer Travel 2018: Shopping and Booking study shows 40% of travellers used smartphones to shop for travel, up from 28% in previous year;
  • Report says general search engines such as Google or Yahoo garnered the highest percentage of travel shoppers, followed by OTAs such as Priceline or Expedia;
  • Skyscanner executive suggests airlines need to develop branded storefronts, rather than being fixated on driving customers to their respective websites or apps.

In a recent report titled US Consumer Travel 2018: Shopping and Booking, Phocuswright found that more than 40% of travellers used smartphones to shop for travel in 2018, up from 28% the year before. The company surveyed nearly 4,000 leisure travellers for its research.

Phocuswright also found that while online travel agencies (OTAS) and suppliers (hotels and airlines) have long battled one another for travel bookings, “in 2017…metasearch was the real winner”.

According to the report, general search engines such as Google or Yahoo garnered the highest percentage of travel shoppers, followed by OTAs such as Priceline or Expedia. Phocuswright concluded the most dramatic shifts occurred among lodging bookings. The report also stated that obtaining better prices the reason more than four in 10 recent hotel loyalty members joined their respective programmes.

The shift to metasearch is not surprising, and suppliers such as hotels and airlines need to ensure their brands remain relevant as customer shopping and booking patterns evolve. At this year’s CAPA – Centre for Aviation Americas Summit in Houston, Texas Skyscanner senior director of strategic partnership Hugh Aitken stated that 97% of Chinese consumers use the business-to-consumer retail site Tmall, and that is what “the world airlines need to be thinking about”. He believes airlines need to develop branded storefronts, rather than being fixated on driving customers to their respective websites or apps.