Mobile phones usage for travel

By Josephine Wawira

51% of smartphone owners use them for travel related activities

In the latest report on how people use phones for travel, Google in collaboration with Ipsos has provided insights on the influences mobile devices have on travelers’ decisions.

According to the report, 51% of smartphone users in the I-want-to-go moments turn to their devices for information as well as activities related to travel. These may include booking hotels online, buying flight tickets online, reviewing accommodation properties for comparison in rates and convenience among others. The frequency of this trend is astounding, with 71% (of the users in the report) do so on a weekly basis.

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Copyright: Maglara (Shutterstock)

Information sought is related to travel tips, best destinations, and as one would expect, available packages and discounts from various hotels and service providers. For instance, Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online hotel booking website, reports approximately 75% of traffic from mobile devices.

Furthermore, the report shows the preference of mobile applications for travel related use, with an average of 2.3 travel apps installed on smartphones. Yet, it is important to note that a higher percentage of travelers (65%) still use mobile sites for travel, as compared to 58% who prefer to use the apps, according to Google.

With on-the-go convenience that is related to mobile devices, it is obvious that travel will continue becoming seamless in coming years. From conducting online searches, booking accommodation and flights, to mobile payments, the penetration of mobile devices especially in Africa gives more optimism for the travel industry. As GSMA Intelligence – a trade body that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide – predicts, there will be 725 million unique subscribers of mobile services by 2020.

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