Excerpt from Mirai
Visits to hotel websites from smartphones (tablets not included) in many cases now represent more than 50% of the total amount. However, bookings made on these devices, although growing strongly, in 2017 'only' just about reached 20% of the total, going up to 30% in some destinations or hotels whilst not even reaching 10% in others.
In other words, the conversion of mobile traffic is 2 to 5 or even 6 times lower than on a desktop computer. This coincides with a recent analysis by Fastbooking. It is also analyzed by Criteo in a recent study, with similar conclusions.
– Why does this difference exist?
– Why don’t many visits from mobile phones result in a booking?
– Is there a transfer of users from smartphone to desktop/tablet to book?
– Why do some hotels have more sales weight from mobile phones than others?
– Why do OTAs convert better on mobile phones than hotel websites?
Given that many of our clients ask us about this subject, at Mirai we have also analysed it from a business and also empirical point of view. Here are our conclusions, based on booking data from our client hotels in Spain in 2017, both urban and holiday.
The mobile phone, the main checking tool
The first explanation is perhaps the simplest one and it consists in the use that we give our mobile phone. It has become a permanent checking tool that immediately answers our questions. Who hasn’t asked Google (or Siri) “When did man first land on the Moon?” or “How old is Mick Jagger?”. We are now addicted to immediacy and constant checking.
Different studies confirm that the mobile phone is the device used the most in this initial “up in the funnel” phase (in comparison to desktop computers or tablets) and not just in the travel industry but rather in all of them. This is a general pattern.
Most of these initial searches end up in nothing. Thousands of searches will never convert or may convert but probably in the distant future, making it very hard to trace that first visit. I myself often search for restaurants I want to go to (I already have my own wish list created) but I have only been to 10% of those on my list. The same happens with holiday apartments for summer or hotels for weekend breaks. I am a dreamer, just like everyone else.
This difference in device use (mobile/tablet/desktop) in the different funnel stages partly justifies the big difference between views and bookings (in other words, the conversion ratio) on each device. Quantifying it, however, is complicated and could vary in each destination or hotel.