Thomas Cook optimises for mobile to cope with Christmas tablet deluge

Thomas Cook is poised to unveil a fully mobile-optimised website to capitalise on growing levels of bookings made on tablet devices.

The move follows recent data from Google which showed that of the travel related searches made in the UK in the second quarter of this year, 13% were made on mobile phones and 15% on tablets.

Cook predicts this latter figure is set to soar in the travel sector and is to respond to this demand with the new online capability.

New marketing director Mike Hoban said: “In the first quarter of this year more than 5% of our web pages were viewed using mobile devices and this figure is rapidly increasing at 5-10% per month, so in addition to launching a brochure app, it’s also vital that we step up our presence online with a mobile website as we expect holiday bookings via tablets to double in 2013.

“Traditionally, people were browsing for a holiday on mobile devices, but still preferred to book either face-to-face or on their PC or laptop at home, but as affordable tablets flood the market this Christmas, we expect them to replace many home laptops and as a result, more and more customers will start to book via mobile devices too.”

The need to remain connected online is driven by social media and work, a Cook survey found.

A third (34%) of people said they use their mobile device to update social media while on holiday, while one in five admit they use their devices mainly to check work emails.

By comparison, the poll of 2,000 people found that just one in four holidaymakers used their device to read books and listen to music, and one in five people rely on it for navigation and maps, helping them to go off the beaten track and explore their holiday destination.

The research also revealed that the average family takes five different mobile devices with them on holiday.

The survey found that almost a third of children take their own mobile device on holiday, while on average one tablet is taken on holiday for every family.

IPads and iPhones were the most popular travel companions with, on average, every family having at least one Apple item in their luggage, closely followed by Kindle, Kindle Fire and Galaxy Samsung.

So huge is the tablet’s influence on how Britons will holiday in 2013 that nearly one in three people now consider free Wi-Fi as vital or important to their choice of hotel, according to the study.

More than 1,000 of Cook’s hotels offer Wi-Fi – a choice which could save customers more than £280 per week based on data roaming charges.

Top Tablets tipped to be taken on holiday in 2013:

1. iPad
2. Kindle / Kindle Fire HD
3. Galaxy Samsung Tablet
4. Google Nexus 7
5. iPad Mini

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