Your Customers Are Shopping on Mobile- So Why Aren’t They Buying on Mobile?

Almost half of travel customers said they use Mobile or a combination of Mobile and PC to research for their trips, according to a Digital Travel Summit end user study of 522 end users, conducted in Q1 of 2017. This result isn’t surprising- Mobile technology continues to disrupt industry after industry, and as phones get smarter, consumers are taking advantage of their portability to research and buy products from anywhere they need to be.

What is surprising is how few consumers actually prefer to complete their purchases on Mobile. While 76% preferred to use their personal computers, only 17% stated that their preferred method of booking was through their mobile device. This means there is a significant group of customers who will look up trips on their phones and tablets, but won’t buy unless they are back in front of their personal computers. What this translates to is lost opportunity, and lost revenues.

Why is there a disconnect between how customers research and how they buy travel experiences? It could partly be due to a preference for what they’re familiar with, but with app based purchasing causing significant disruption in other areas of consumers’ lives, it’s more likely that apps can be re-examined and made to encourage purchasing immediately after customers identify the destinations they want through their research.

There’s already a precedent for app based travel purchasing in brands like Uber and Lyft, which provide ridesharing services using easy to understand platforms. For these services, ordering is typically as simple as inputting a destination and hitting a button, and while booking a more involved trip can demand a lot more thought than simply calling a cab, there’s still much to be learned from these mobile-first businesses. For travel brands, bridging the gap between the research phase of the customer journey and the purchasing phase can hinge on this type of streamlining and simplification.

Three quarters of travel shoppers report that they shop the same way when booking business travel and personal travel. The implication here is that whichever brands can close the gap between customer research and trip purchasing on Mobile will be able to carry that competitive advantage over to their business customers. The stakes are high as travel brands compete- those that continue to improve their Mobile strategies will gain a serious competitive advantage across their streams of business.

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