Exploring the opportunity of mobile bookings

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Mobile use is showing no signs of slowing, with mcommerce predicted to outstrip ecommerce by 2021 - so how can you engage this captive audience?

While smartphone sales may be in decline - IDC reported a 6.6% YOY drop in shipment volumes back in April - the overwhelming consensus is that usage is continually growing.

In 2018, 52.2% of website traffic was generated through mobile phones and the average adult in the US spent 3 hours and 35 minutes on their device every day - a YOY increase of 11%. Additionally, apps account for 90% of internet time on a smartphone and by 2020 global mobile app revenues are expected to hit US$188.9bn.

Mobile bookings

Looking closer to home, a recent survey, found that 65% of global travellers booked accommodation online in 2018*, with markets such as Denmark (at 84%), Japan (at 80%) and Singapore (at 82%) showing particular preference towards this method of booking.

Last year, mobile bookings exceeded desktop bookings among our customers for the first time. This really reflects the continuing growth in mobile adoption and presents a great opportunity for partners, which can be capitalised on with the introduction of mobile rates.

Mobile rates let partners offer a targeted discount to guests who book through mobile, either through the app alone or through the mobile or tablet version of the website alongside the app. Throughout the booking journey, potential guests are incentivised with these mobile rates through a really clear value proposition, which in turn encourages conversion.

To help partners tailor their mobile rates, we recently launched a new setup page on the Extranet that lets you activate the rate, choosing your distribution reach, the level of discount and any key blackout dates along with the ability to deactivate as required. Mobile rates go hand-in-hand with guest behaviours and property bookings from mobile traffic actually increase by 26% when such rates have been activated. Also in the works is real time performance data on live mobile rates.

Reaching new markets

Considering your target demographic may indicate particular value in targeting guests on their mobile device. For example, if your property is geared towards a younger market it’s worth bearing in mind that 92% of millennials own a smartphone and two out of three mobile bookings are made by this generation. Or if you have broader appeal then activating mobile rates for tablet discovery may be helpful, on the basis that 64% of Gen X have such a device.

In many markets mobile use considerably exceeds desktop, so the adoption of mobile rates could also help reach those guests who may not use or even have access to a laptop or PC. For example, according to internet monitoring firm Statcounter, mobile use in India dominates at 71.89% market share compared to just 27.66% on desktop, with South America not far behind with 69.06% mobile vs 30.04% desktop.

Mobile bookings also go hand-in-hand with booming online payment methods such as PayPal or Alipay, so it’s worth considering how you support alternative payment methods to further engage these customers. In China, for example, mobile payments using the likes of eWallets were predicted to account for 85.2% of all online payments in 2019 and countries such as Sweden are embracing new cashless economy models. Utilising’s payment solutions you can appeal to more international guests who prefer to use alternative payments when booking on mobile.

Once the mobile rate is in place, it’s important to understand how it is impacting your business. In August you will be able to access real time performance data on the Extranet. This will include room nights, ADR and total revenue, along with historic performance data so you can evaluate against previous impact. In the coming months we’ll also be working on developing commercial reporting further to give you an even more in-depth indication of performance.

Since launch, we’ve seen some really cool signals around mobile rates, with both guests and partners responding well. It’s an evolving market and one with huge opportunities, so we’ll be monitoring the trends closely and working towards some pretty ambitious next steps as we aim to support our partners further in growing their mobile bookings.

*Research was commissioned by and independently conducted among a sample of adults who had taken a trip in the last 12 months / planned to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total, 23,723 respondents were surveyed from 31 countries worldwide. Respondents completed an online survey in October 2018


Interested in mobile rates?

To learn more about mobile rates head to Solutions.


What do you think of this page?

  • In 2018, 52.2% of global website traffic was via mobile and the average adult in the US spent 3 hours and 35 minutes on their device every day
  • 65% of global travellers booked accommodation online in 2018
  • Mobile rates provide a targeted discount to guests who book through the app or mobile / tablet website
  • On average partners receive 26% more bookings from mobile traffic when mobile rates are activated