Demand For Smartphone Travel Apps Answered by Hoteliers

By April 01, 2010

Compete's Smartphone Intelligence survey sought to find out how smartphone users were using their devices as pertaining to leisure travel. In the company's blog, Danielle Nohe gave a brief rundown on the data in her March post. In

the first section, Compete found that 38 percent of smartphone users conduct some of their leisure travel research and 27 percent conduct some of their leisure travel bookings using their smartphone.

How they use their phone on their trip

Find information about my destination while traveling - 34 percent
Check the status of my lodging or transportation reservation - 29 percent
Research lodging options - 25 percent
Research destination options - 23 percent
Research transportation options - 23 percent
Research on a specific lodging or transportation brand's Web site - 22 percent
Research on a specific travel agency's Web site - 21 percent

It is also important to understand the role of mobile applications when considering how these travelers use their handsets. Of those who download apps, only twenty percent have downloaded travel-related apps. Despite this small ratio, over forty percent of smartphone owners would find apps with travel-related features useful. Specific features were responses:

Notifies me of unplanned schedule changes for booked trips - 52 percent
Notifies me of rate changes for planned or booked trips - 48 percent
Consolidates all my travel reservations into one itinerary - 42 percent
Helps me manage my rewards/points with multiple companies - 41 percent

This large discrepancy between actual app penetration and potential usefulness points to a lack of integrated marketing. The opportunity is there, since consumers are looking to use their phone to assist them in leisure travel. At least some hoteliers are planning mobile marketing, eMarketer reports in a related article. Worldwide this year, over 25 percent of responding hotels will implement SMS text marketing and a mobile site, and 24.1 will release an iPhone app.

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