More Americans are Using Their Smartphones to Book Their Travel

December 24, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s a major shift for travelers and travel agents, whether you’re a business traveler or a vacationer: we Americans are using our smartphones more and more to manage all aspects of our travel.

A recent Travel Market Report article says, 61 percent of consumers have booked and paid for their trips through a mobile device of some kind. This is according to a new survey from Travelport.

A photo of a smartphone taking a photo of a plane wing. More people are using smartphones to book their travel.Travelport also found that we prefer using apps for our travel search and booking. We’re not necessarily going to mobile-friendly websites anymore, although that’s still very important for travel agents and travel booking websites. We’d rather use our favorite airline and hotel mobile apps, as well as the travel aggregation apps, to do our booking from there

U.S. consumers are also embracing new travel technologies for payments and voice search.

Our research highlights a clear opportunity to engage U.S. travelers with enhanced features on mobile apps,” Simon Ferguson, president and managing director of Travelport Americas told Travel Market Report.

This kind of technology could pose a threat to the travel agency business, but Ferguson doesn’t see it that way. He said agencies are always giving their clients new ways to stay in touch with them via social media or a mobile app. He said nearly half of all U.S. travelers said they would like to be able to live chat with a travel agent while they’re actually on their journey.

Some of the key findings in the report include:

  • 61% of U.S. travelers have book their travel and pay for it through their smartphone within the past year.
  • 64% of people use their smartphones as they’re traveling to their destination.
  • Leisure travelers use 7 – 8 apps for trip research — 52% use maps, 51% use weather, and 50% use a branded airline’s app.
  • 63% prefer checking into a flight on an app over a website, and 62% want to generate a boarding pass with their mobile app.
  • 79% of people consider trip status updates to be very helpful, relying on push notifications to alert them of changes to their travel.

While Ferguson may not think there’s a major disruption coming for travel agents, we can see this having a major effect. With all the mobile apps that let people do their own research, book their own travel, and even get their updates about changes to their travel plans, travel agents will have to dig deeper to find new ways to provide value to their clients.

Business travel arrangements will be an important service offering, especially if you can figure out how to help smaller startup executives book their travel. Specializing in certain kinds of leisure travel bookings is another possibility, such as booking accessibility travel for people with mobility issues.

What are your thoughts on using mobile apps to book and organize your travel? Do you prefer using your laptop to mobile booking, or do you favor a travel agent instead? Tell us your preferences on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Skitterphoto (Pixabay.com, Creative Commons 0)

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