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For Business, Corporate Travel & Meeting Buyers & Arrangers

Western travellers slow to embrace mobile booking

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Business travellers in Europe and the US are continuing to use desktop devices to make their travel bookings despite a surge in the introduction of mobile booking technology.

A report by Phocuswright and Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) found that only an estimated 10 per cent of total US travel bookings will be made on mobile devices this year.

China is leading the way when it comes to booking travel on mobile devices with an estimated 53 per cent share of all online travel bookings last year – compared with just a 25 per cent share in the UK and 21 per cent in the US.

The report predicts that the fastest growth in online travel will be in the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin America regions.

Global online travel bookings are forecast to reach $567 billion in 2017 – a 10.5 per cent increase on 2016’s figure of $513 billion.

But the report says that online bookings for flights are reaching “saturation” in the US and Europe – around 60 per cent of US air bookings are expected to be made online in 2017 compared with around half of all sales in Europe.

Ariane Gorin, senior vice president and general manager for EAN, said: “It’s clear that mobile is an area ripe for growth globally. Messaging, voice search and AI will drive a new wave of mobile innovation and result in big mobile gains for those companies which embrace the shift.

“More young travellers entering the booking pool will ensure that smartphones will play a growing role in the future of travel planning and purchasing. 

“For travel providers, it is crucial to be present on mobile from the early stages of the booking process – this is where young people will be inspired, do their research and plan their trips.”

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