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Smartphone the most essential travel item, survey finds

Worldwide, smartphones are travelers’ most indispensable items when they travel, even ahead of their toothbrush and driver’s license, according to the Expedia/Egencia Mobile Index.

The index, commissioned by and Egencia (Expedia’s business travel brand), was conducted by consulting firm Northstar. It was based on input from 9,642 travelers from 19 countries.

Among U.S. respondents, one-fifth considered their smartphone to be their most essential travel item, on par with the number of respondents who said their driver’s license was the most important item to travel with. In the United States, those items tied for the most essential item for travelers.

Worldwide, 66% of respondents said smartphones are the most essential item, while 74% considered it an important travel item.

China, Taiwan and Thailand topped the charts on the countries where respondents placed the most priority on having smartphones while traveling; in China, 94% of respondents said they consider their mobile phone an important travel companion. Taiwan saw the same percentage, and in Thailand, it was 91%.

The study also found that worldwide, 84% of travelers said they want to access information from anywhere. Over half, 60%, said they do not “unplug” on leisure trips, and 35% said they use their smartphones more on vacation than at home.

Globally, 60% of travelers said they wouldn’t go on vacation without a mobile phone, and 63% sleep with their phone next to their bed on vacation.

“We have found that travelers are using mobile devices at every stage of the travel process, from researching and booking trips to capturing and sharing the travel experience,” said Aman Bhutani, president of Brand Expedia Group.

Smartphone booking values up 198% year on year, finds study


By Travolution
By Travolution

In its latest mobile browsing and booking trends report, brand consultancy Nucleus also found that mobile had rised to 43% of all website traffic in June 2014.

Apple remains the dominant operating system, with 77.9% share and 87.8% of bookings, while Android accounts for just 19.6% of the market.

Brands that have invested in responsive design or smartphone-friendly websites are naturally seeing better mobile results, with luxury sites reportedly leading the way.

However, despite evidence that users are increasingly shifting to mobile, and Google’s warnings about penalising mobile-unfriendly sites, the travel sector was found to be lagging when it comes to implementing responsive web design.

Founder and chief executive of Nucleus, Peter Matthews, said: “We are in our fourth year of studying the growth in mobile web browsing and are seeing further significant shifts in user behaviour with affluent smartphone users, in particular, now completing high value bookings on their phones.

“Wider availability of 4G and the launch in September of the larger screen iPhone 6 are likely to accelerate this trend.

“It’s surprising in this context that there are still so many travel brands without either a mobile-friendly website or app and fewer still taking advantage of the flexibility and efficiencies of responsive design. This prolonged inactivity is beginning to look like a death wish.”

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