Pitchup founder predicts demise of travel apps

The founder of an outdoor accommodation booking agency has predicted that many travel apps would soon be defunct.

Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com, said consumers were more likely to use smartphone web browsers to search for and book travel.

He said the main apps that people would use in the future were email, social media and gaming apps.

Yates’s company launched an iPhone app in 2013 and an Android app this year, but the majority of customers are still using the mobile site.

He revealed his company’s mobile bookings had risen 736% year-on-year for the 12 months until April 21, but only a small number of reservations were made through the app channel.

“In the first three weeks of April, we had 13 times more activity on our mobile site than on our app,” he said.

“The mobile site recorded 111,695 sessions, while the app had 8,328. I believe that, while people download apps, most don’t actually use them.

“Despite the received wisdom that app usage is dominating mobile, we don’t see this as being the case.

Yates said much of the publicity surrounding apps focuses on downloads rather than use, which gives a misleading impression of the popularity of apps.

He said the reality was that most users focus on small number of popular apps, while others they have downloaded sit dormant on their smartphones.

“Very often mobile sites are easier to use too, with ever growing capabilities thanks to new standards such as HTML5.”

Yates said his company’s experience was in line with Google research. A study referenced by Yates found the average UK smartphone user had 28.5 apps installed, but only actively used 10 in a 30-day period.

He added: “There is evidence that app usage is highest for social media, email and games. So while apps won’t become extinct, I believe this is mainly what people will use them for in the future.”

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