Australian travelers rely on digital devices more than ever before, increasing their use of smartphones, computers, and tablets for researching travel options and purchasing flights and hotel rooms. In fact, nearly half of consumers use two or more digital devices when planning and booking travel, according to a new survey conducted by Signal.
The survey of 500 Australian consumers sheds light on travel planning and booking patterns in a multi-device world, suggesting how travel suppliers can create better cross-channel experiences to engage always-on travelers and increase conversions and loyalty.
Key findings include:
- The future of travel planning and booking is increasingly mobile
The vast majority of consumers who have taken a trip in the past year planned (80 per cent) and booked (72 per cent) their travel using a computer, tablet or smartphone. Mobile devices are especially gaining in popularity as 42 per cent of travelers used their smartphones for planning and booking airline tickets and hotel rooms more frequently than they did a year ago.
Importantly, a notable minority say that smartphones or tablets are their preferred device for planning (23 per cent) and booking (20 per cent).
- Mobile-loving Millennials drive the trend
Computers are the most popular device among travelers for both planning (66 per cent) and booking (64 per cent), but Millennials (ages 18-34) are propelling the mobile revolution, as they are 5 times more likely than Baby Boomers (age 56 and older) to plan and book air travel and hotel rooms on their smartphones.
They’re also more likely to engage across devices: 73 per cent of Millennials use multiple devices when planning and booking, versus just 30 per cent of Baby Boomers.
- Travelers want individual experiences
Consumers want more relevant advertising from airlines and hotels, with 31 per cent reporting it as the top thing travel suppliers can improve about the planning and booking experience. Personalisation is also a concern, with 30 per cent saying that airlines and hotels don’t send personalised offers when researching travel and making buying decisions.
“Travelers are more digital than ever. They’re using multiple screens to make informed decisions about high-consideration travel purchases: comparing prices, booking tickets and accommodations, and even making upgrades or additional purchases after they book,” said Warren Billington, managing director, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia, Signal.
“This means the pressure is on for travel suppliers to recognise travelers as they move across devices and create seamless, one-to-one experiences. However, there’s a huge opportunity to use the rich customer data available to travel marketers to deliver superior experiences.”
The survey also uncovered that cross-device behaviour doesn’t stop once tickets and rooms are booked. The use of multiple devices continues once travelers have left home, with 58 per cent of AU consumers traveling with two or more connected devices.
To provide the best planning and booking experiences, Signal recommends travel marketers consider the following strategies:
- Leverage customer data to understand the cross-device journey
The travel planning and booking experience is more digital than even retail, as more people have planned or booked travel online than have browsed online retail sites (73 per cent) or bought clothing/shoes/accessories online (66 per cent). Travel suppliers must leverage the vast array of first-party data available to them from all these digital interactions.
By unifying all of that rich data into a cohesive customer view, travel marketers will be well-positioned to understand and respond to each individual, whether they’re planning on their tablets, booking on their desktop, or upgrading their reservation post-booking.
- Be a resource to travelers by delivering seamless experiences across touchpoints
Australian consumers use a multitude of digital resources to plan their trip, such as search engines (61 per cent), hotel and airline sites (54 per cent), third party travel sites (44 per cent), online articles (24 per cent) and social media (18 per cent).
It’s critical to understand customers as they move across these channels and touchpoints to serve them the right messages at the right time.
- Use profile data to deliver the personalisation and relevance travelers want
By linking data to customer profiles that persist over time and get richer with every interaction, travel suppliers can provide the most relevant messages in real time and engage in ongoing, cross-channel conversations to build brand loyalty.