Are mobile devices driving direct bookings and guest engagement?


Since Chris Anderson wrote “The web is dead. Long live the Internet” in 2010, a pivotal article announcing the demise of traditional web browsing, the topic has been endlessly hyped in the media. However, there is a need for more factual study that takes an objective approach to measuring the impact of the usage of mobiles devices on hotel direct bookings.

In their recent Hotel Supplier Website Benchmark report, Cendyn/ONE looked at the evolution of traffic and bookings by device in a sample that included more than 100 three- to five-star boutique hotels, resorts and casinos around the world, totaling over 400 million dollars in room revenues. The study compared visits, transactions, room revenue, Average Length of Stay (ALOS), and Average Daily Rate (ADR) to uncover how shifts in mobile usage are truly affecting e-commerce and website direct bookings. The study shows evidence that smartphones are becoming more than just a Top of the Funnel (TOFU) device.

Smartphone will become the primary trip planning device

Cendyn/ONE’s Benchmark Study about the effects of mobile on direct bookings shows that over the past two years, 17% of web searches have shifted to smartphones from desktop (16%) and tablets (1%). As a result, when it comes to hotel direct supplier websites less than 1 out of 5 searches are made on a tablet, while desktop accounts for 1 out of 2 searches and smartphone 1 out of 3. If this trend continues, smartphones will become the primary device for trip planning within two years.

Desktop still dominates the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) booking activity

On the other hand, when it comes to online conversions desktop continues to dominate the landscape. Desktop’s conversion rate is twice as high as tablet and five times higher than smartphone. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that smartphones are a growth segment for hotel direct bookings. After doubling in 2015, smartphone booking volumes have almost caught up with tablet. Nonetheless, the ADR of rooms booked via smartphone was nearly unchanged when compared to 2014. Not surprisingly, Millennials are a driving force behind smartphone conversions; however usage has also spread to the 35-44 age group, who seem to be embracing smartphones with larger screen sizes. When it comes to people over 55, the trend is to search on the mobile and then book on desktop or tablet.

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