Mobile is now the dominant mode for hotel searches in the US with a 53% share of search volume, new data reveals.
Some audience segments have moved faster to adopt mobile search than others, notably the economy and midscale segments.
Almost three quarters (73%) of all searches for the economy hotel segment are now taking place on mobile devices, compared with 62% for midscale hotels, 53% for upscale and 45% for luxury hotels.
However, luxury brands are seeing more growth of shares of mobile queries compared to more economical market segments.
High-end hotels saw an increase of 23% in share of mobile searches in July to December last year over the same period in 2015, compared with 19% for upscale hotels and 14% for economy hotel brands.
The lower growth rate of mobile searches for the latter is partially due to the fact that most searches for hotels in this segment are already happening on mobile, according to a joint study by travel performance marketing firm Sojern and Google.
Desktop and mobile behaviours follow similar patterns throughout the working week, with weekends seeing a significant uptick in mobile searches (27%-28%), and mobile bookings peaking at 14% on Sundays.
Sojern’s data shows that a quarter of all hotel searches are conducted on mobile 30 days or more in advance of the trip, but only 11% of mobile bookings are done within that window, indicating a “leaky pipeline” – those mobile searches are not converting into mobile bookings.
Hoteliers should be moving quickly to improve their mobile booking experience in order to capture this accelerating search volume, according to the study.
Overall, Sojern and Google saw year-over-year growth in searches for hotels.
The opening of Cuba for US travellers has caused a flurry of searches to Havana and the beach resort of Varadero.
Santorini in Greece and Sodankylä in Finland have added new hotels and resorts recently, driving US traveller intent to these destinations, while Lisbon rounds up the top five fastest rising international destinations.
Sojern property solutions senior vice president, Kurt Weinsheimer, said:
“Travel audiences are incredibly savvy researchers and comparison-shoppers, sometimes visiting 30 or more websites, apps, and aggregators to research and book.
“When you account for the different devices being employed and overlay that with the multitude of channels visited throughout the path-to-purchase, the complexity for marketers increases exponentially.
“There are also important nuances to this when you slice by audience segment.
“For example, what we see is that while luxury hotels guests still predominantly completing bookings via desktop, mobile searches – including smartphones and tablets – are growing the fastest for this particular segment.
“We also see that luxury hotel travellers conduct 50% more searches overall compared to economy and mid-range segments.”