Global marketing research company Nielsen recently released information that may shed light on the ways mobile-device-carrying travelers behave while on a trip (or planning one) – information that may prove to be valuable to hoteliers, travel operators, destinations, tour companies, and business owners in the travel and tourism industry.
It’s all part of a new Nielsen study that explored the usage of travel-related mobile apps and websites among a panel of more than 5,000 U.S. smartphone owners on either the Android or Apple iOS platform. Key findings showed that:
- Users spent 95 percent of their time accessing travel information from travel apps versus only 5 percent from the mobile Web.
- The mobile app, Google Maps, is largely responsible for this huge discrepancy, easily ranking as both the top travel app and mobile website for traveling smartphone owners and accounting for 78 percent of time spent accessing travel information from a mobile device
The study suggested that consumers prefer to use the mobile Web to browse for information that would be relevant to planning a trip; this explains why travel reviews aggregator TripAdvisor ranked second to Google Maps in the list of top travel mobile sites, with 4.15 million smartphone owners visiting the popular review site during June 2012 alone.
Mobile travel apps, meanwhile, are useful to people who are looking for travel guidance. This is why, in the list of top ten travel mobile apps, seven apps featured a map or navigation function. But perhaps one of the more interesting parts of the list is the inclusion of the mobile app of restaurant review site Urbanspoon, which ranked as the top 8 mobile travel app with 2.2 million unique visitors in one month.
Here are a few more key takeaways from the study:
- More and more smartphone users are relying on their mobile devices to access travel information, as well as to find local businesses, travel reviews, and geographic location. This makes it urgent for companies in the travel industry to claim their pages and business listings on leading travel review sites and aggregators like Google+ Local, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Urbanspoon, among many others.
- Businesses with a mobile-friendly website and/or an exclusive mobile app (for Android and iOS) are in a great position to be able to gain a competitive advantage over competitors who have neither. Why? Because these days it’s equally important to reach out to smartphone-carrying on-the-go users as it is to connect with users of desktop and laptop computers.
- Verifying geographic location is more critical for businesses than ever. Not only are people using search engines and social platforms to find businesses; they’re also accessing the most relevant travel information based on where they are located, and which businesses are nearby.