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Consumers don’t like booking holidays on smartphones. That is the conclusion of leisure market analyst Mintel in its most up-to-date review of the UK holiday market.
Holiday bookings on smartphones remain “relatively uncommon” and “are still unpopular among consumers”, Mintel concludes in its Holiday Review UK report, which identifies the latest trends in the sector.
“Fewer than 3% [of people] booked their last holiday via a smartphone,” Mintel found in research carried out in November, despite most bookings being made online.
“Most holidaymakers book their trip on a laptop or desktop. Mobile bookings on tablets and smartphones are still relatively low.” This is despite the fact that “76% of UK consumers own a smartphone, and tablets are present in 56% of households”.
Mintel notes 27% of respondents in its survey of 2,000 internet users said they were “just as happy to book on their smartphone” as on a laptop or desktop. But almost half (46%) of online holiday bookers said they wouldn’t be happy to book on a smartphone and 27% were unsure.
However, Mintel still considers there to be “scope to increase bookings via this channel”. It found 40% of 16-35-year-olds would be just as happy to book on a smartphone and suggests “mobile booking could be the norm once under-16s reach an age where they start to holiday themselves”.
Mintel suggests: “Brands need to make sure their smartphone booking process is fluid, while addressing privacy concerns.
The key is to get consumers comfortable rather than get them to switch devices. Brands should ensure one-click-per screen functionality, which limits the number of steps the user has to make.”
It argues companies should still seek to develop mobile booking because of the “data trail from which [consumer] profiles can be constructed and strategies developed”.
Mintel’s research also found one in five holiday bookings (19%) made on a laptop were “direct with a tour operator’s website”.
It suggests only 9% of holidaymakers booked their most recent trip in-store with a travel agent. However, the research – conducted online – includes domestic bookings.
The report identifies a surprising lack of influence for social media. When people who had taken a holiday in the past year were asked what factor most influenced their choice of destination, 25% said friends or family and 5% travel agents. But Mintel noted: “Just 4% are influenced by social media.”
This finding tallies with latest research by German travel analyst IPK, whose World Travel Monitor – released this month and based on a survey of 500,000 consumers in more than 60 countries – identified the internet as the main source of holiday information, used by 78% of travellers, and social networks were the least-used source of online information.
IPK chief executive Rolf Freitag, speaking at German trade show ITB, said: “Many organisations in travel concentrate their budget on social networks and these are not selling much.”
The Holiday Review UK 2016 report by market intelligence agency Mintel is available for £1,750 from mintel.com