Mobile’s growing adoption prompts festive flurry of usage claims in travel

Mobile’s growing adoption prompts festive flurry of usage claims in travel

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More predictable than the much longed-for flakes of white stuff falling from the skies over Christmas, is the flurry of claims from travel firms over impressive looking increases in mobile use.

And so it was this year, with many of the main UK travel firms lining up to boast about their mobile stats over the holiday period, including on Christmas day itself.

All the press-released claims must come with a health warning, that large percentage figures are almost always cited with no based numbers on which to assess them.

But taken together they only add to the clamour surrounding mobile and the spike seen every Christmas when new tablets and smartphones are unwrapped and fired up for the first time.

Here are some of the highlights on what travel firms were claiming this year:

•   Mobile searches for First Choice holidays were up 100% on Christmas Day and 88% on Boxing Day.

•   Christmas Day also saw a 63% increase for sister brand Thomson holiday searches on tablets compared to last year.

•   The Tui-owned operators say they saw 940,000 people visit their sites on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with searches up 30% on last year.

•   Thomas Cook Airlines said festive traffic doubled compared to last year, with mobile surpassing desktop/laptop as a proportion for the first time.

•   Monarch Airlines reported bookings on tablets and smartphones on Christmas Day were up 32% year-on-year and 80% on Boxing Day.

•   Monarch’s head of digital and marketing, Ian Chambers, said: “With bigger screens, a better mobile booking experience and more confident mobile customers, our mobile conversion rates have improved, resulting in bookings being significantly ahead over Christmas Day and Boxing Day.”

•   Specialist online retailer saw almost a 100% increase in consumers searching for deals on 25 December, the majority (57%) using iPads.

Seamus Conlon, managing director of, said: “In previous years, the spike in cruise research occurred in January when travel agents reopened for the New Year. However, with the world becoming more mobile and cruise information becoming more accessible across consumer devices, families can now read reviews and research earlier than ever before, with many finding the best deals on Christmas Day.”

To date the jury is out on how the traditional January peak selling period is going, although Travolution sister title Travel Weekly reports official GFK data this week that suggests a strong start.

David Hope, business group director of GfK, said: “Shop channels showed the strongest growth – up by one third on last year in the first three days.”

However, there was a contrasting view from Lowcost Travel Group, which incorporates hotel room supplier Lowcostbeds and OTA Lowcost Holidays.

Director, Paul Riches, said: “Lowcostbeds has had a strong start. Bookings were not as high as expected between Christmas and New Year but since January 2, it has been very busy.”

January 5 was busier than Lowcostbeds’ best day in January 2014, added Riches, while enquiries via mobiles were up more than 50% year-on-year.

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