Travelers Expect More from Mobile on the Road

by Net Future Institute on April 25, 2013

By Chuck Martin

What does it take to cause someone to stop using a commerce app?

Some people may download an app they heard about from a friend while others may try one they stumbled across in the Google Play or Apple App store.

There the apps from well-known brands, like the Starbucks app to pay for coffee or The Home Depot app to buy things for later in-store pickup.

Then there is the somewhat unique category of travel, where intended usage can range from researching a trip down the road to booking a flight or hotel on short notice for any number of reasons.

A new study now shows where some of the pain points are in travel apps and how consumers respond.

As expected, the tablet is the preferred device for planning future travel while the smartphone is the choice mobile device for booking travel while on the go, with three quarters (76%) of smartphone owners choosing that device, according to the study by ResearchNow.

One of the issues the researchers looked at is what happens when a consumer has a negative mobile experience around travel, and they found plenty of issues:

  • 60% of smartphone owners, 52% of tablet owners found mobile travel sites slow to load
  • 51% of tablet owners rated search and selection options on travel apps as complicated
  • 20% of tablet owners were disappointed the apps were not integrated with their loyalty programs

The researcher found that poor mobile experiences can jeopardize revenue for travel brands. The most frequent causes of an unsatisfactory travel experience with smartphones were:

  • 44% — Slow load time
  • 36% — Complicated search and selection
  • 30% — Poor navigation
  • 13% — Not linked to loyalty/miles  programs
  • 8% — Not designed or optimized for mobile

So what does it matter? It turns out that more than a third (35%) of connected travelers would be less likely to book again with the travel brand after a slow, confusing of non-optimized experience when research or booking travel on a mobile device, according to the ResearchNow study commissioned by Mobiquity.

The good news is that mobile was a rather obvious necessity for travel companies to tackle and some are getting a lot better at it, at least based on my heavy use of travel apps while on the road.

They really have no choice, since the discerning mobile traveler will simply delete the app.

   Chuck Martin is editor of mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk. He is author of “The Third Screen,” “The Smartphone Handbook,” and the soon-to-be-published “Mobile Influence.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute and a frequent mobile keynote speaker around the globe.

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