Report: Mobile has the largest digital reach in travel industry

mobile content

In the U.S. and the U.K., significantly more people engage with travel content on mobile devices than on desktops, making mobile the platform with the largest digital reach across the travel category, according to a new study conducted by comScore and commissioned by Expedia Media Solutions. The study explores how the interaction between travel booking websites and other influential online and offline touch points can impact the purchase journey for American, British and Canadian travelers.

Canadian travelers are slowly shifting away from desktop-only usage at 36 percent in 2016 compared to 46 percent in 2015; but overall, more minutes are still spent on desktop than mobile devices in the country.

In the U.K., multiplatform usage represents 54 percent of total digital travel users in 2016—up from 37 percent in 2015—which is significantly higher than the 30 percent multidevice usage in the U.S. and 29 percent in Canada, showing that British travelers are the most device-agnostic users.

The U.S. market is ahead in mobile travel content engagement, surpassing desktop engagement more than a year ago, but year-over-year mobile growth was relatively stagnant compared to Canada and the U.K.

The research shows that consumption of digital travel content is on the rise with a growth rate of 44 percent in the U.K., 41 percent in the U.S. and 18 percent in Canada. Travel content is also widely consumed in each country by 75 percent of digital users in the U.K., 70 percent in Canada and 60 percent in the U.S.

As booking nears and users are exposed to more advertising, recall declines as much as 44 percent, illustrating that timing is everything and advertisers should target travelers early in the booking path in an effort to influence decisions, reports MediaPost

While the growth rate, number of users and time spent on digital travel content varies by country, the study found that travelers in the three countries share some behavioral similarities when it comes to travel planning. During the research and booking process, digital users are actively seeking travel content and are receptive to new information; nearly one third or more of online travel bookers across the three countries were influenced by advertising.

"Despite broad variances in the number of American, British and Canadian digital users, the time they spend consuming online travel content, and the devices they use to access information, the key influences and resources utilized throughout the booking path were often consistent across the three countries," Matthew Reichek, VP of product & analytics at Expedia Media Solutions, stated in a press release about the study. "These insights, coupled with the finding that nearly one third or more of online travel bookers were influenced by advertising, reveals powerful opportunities for marketers to efficiently reach travelers from multiple markets during the path to purchase."

The 2016 Traveler's Path to Purchase study examines the 45-day period leading up to online travel booking, including desktop and mobile device usage, content consumption, resources utilized, destinations considered and the role of digital advertising in the decision-making process, as well as behavioral comparisons across the three countries.