Guest Post: How mobile’s rise heralds a new Great Age of Discovery

Guest Post: How mobile’s rise heralds a new Great Age of Discovery

By Jon Buss, managing director UK and Northern EMEA at Criteo

Mobile technology has a long history of changing the way we travel. During the Great Age of Discovery when Columbus sailed the seas, he navigated by dead reckoning.

It wasn’t very accurate, and neither was he. It was nearly 250 years later that John Harrison invented a small, handheld ‘sea watch’ which made navigation an exact science. It helped transform the speed and efficiency of sea travel.

Today, mobile devices are again changing how we travel, and making it faster and easier for consumers.

As we discovered in the Criteo Travel Flash Report 2015, travel bookings on mobile are rocketing, doubling in the year to June 2015. Nearly a quarter of us explore, locate and book everything from flights to accommodation to rail ticket to car hire on our mobiles and tablets.

The journey we take before we travel is also changing. Smartphones and tablets are particularly popular for the last minute getaway; 58% of same-day transactions are on a mobile device.

Mobile bookings also account for one in five one night stays. And if you booked a short stay apartment over the last year, there’s a one in three chance you did so on a mobile.

The longer the holiday, the more complex the journey. For trips over 7 nights browsing across multiple devices is the norm.

The desktop remains a key place for comparison and for high-value, high-engagement trips such as cruises or summer holiday packages. In fact, 50% of global travel transactions happen in the context of a multi-device journey.

Advertisers, of course, need to know what to do with these findings. Clearly, travel companies need to prioritise mobile apps and optimise the mobile buying experience.

While marketers may get less exposure on mobile, consumers expect more relevance and convenience. They prefer marketers who make the buying journey easy and payment frictionless.

Marketers using automated, user-centered marketing to execute minute, real time decisions will have an edge in this highly competitive environment.

The cross device journey may be more complex but our ability to understand how consumers move across platforms grows ever more detailed.

Marketers should invest in cross-device visibility – using either digital identities or synchronised identifiers across channels – and in cross-device attribution to spend wisely.

Travelers are enjoying a new Great Age of Discovery – the world is at their fingertips, and bookable. The shift to mobile will continue to accelerate, and we expect more than 30% of all travel transactions to be handled on a mobile device in 2016.

Marketers that can help consumers navigate to their destination quickly and easily will transform the way we travel.

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