The recent warm weather in the UK has help to accelerate the move away from desktop search to mobile, according to Google.
Giving an update this week at the latest Travolution Editorial Advisory Board meeting Robin Frewer, Google’s director of travel and finance, said mobile growth was continuing.
Tablet growth is particularly marked at 100% year on year, said Frewer, while mobile is growing at 70%. Overall, mobile now accounts for just over 40% of travel searches on Google, with tablet accounting for 18%.
“This is driving people to think about mobile in a different way,” Frewer said. “While it was sunny people were willing to travel and they were searching but they might start on a mobile and finish on a desktop.”
Tracey Cheffey, executive producer at Travelzoo, said in the first week of June the site saw a 40% increase in mobile traffic.
Operations and IT director at Attraction World, Russell Parr, told the meeting that mobile traffic, including tablet, was now at 30% compared to just 12% a year ago.
Frewer said the warm spell had seen demand for travel reduce but Parr said that there were good signs for 2014 with a significant shift to early bookings.
And Andy Washington, Expedia UK managing director, said the online giant had seen signs of the short-haul Mediterranean market come back after an initial dip.
“The market has come right back. Even though we have had hot weather there is still pent up demand that will keep the market up.
“One tour operator I looked at has 1,600 holidays to sell in the next week, one had 1,600 to sell the next day. There is still plenty of availability in the school holidays. Prices are pretty good.”
Washington added that during the slump at the start of the heat wave – which On Holiday Group chief executive Steve Endacott claimed was as high as 20% – mobile traffic dropped by half that of desktop.
Mark Maddock, UK managing director of lastminute.com, said the switch to mobile has been most acutely seen for its lifestyle product including restaurant, spa and theatre bookings. He said this was sitting at 60% and outpacing mobile share in travel.