Travel Marketers Are Mobile Laggards
Mobile search is overtaking the travel industry and the vertical’s marketers are tech laggards, finds recent research presented by Think With Google. Travel marketers are still thinking desktops rule, but if consumers find what they want quickly and can convert fast, they do. For instance, most family vacationers and luxury travelers are searching on mobile devices, Google finds.
“As travel planning shifts to mobile,” reads the research synopsis from Jaclyn Loo, senior product marketing manager with Travel at Google, “consumers expect to find relevant information faster than ever before. Today, having a fast, easy-to-use mobile experience is critical. And the marketers who provide the best travel websites and apps are more likely to drive bookings and create long-term value.”
And lest travel marketers think consumers can’t possibly be judging them by their mobile appearances, Google cites this statistic: “31 percent of consumers who used mobile for travel-related activities in the past month looked for travel information on a daily basis.”
So the May post Loo writes isn’t all castigation. “Travel Planning and Purchasing Has Evolved on Mobile” provides three suggestions for travel marketers looking to improve their mobile presences:
Travelers Research, Convert on Mobile
Make it easy to find discounts and coupons, because that’s what most mobile searchers seek, Loo says. Among the searchers surveyed, the mobile surfers had spent nearly $300 each during the past 90 days.
Even when they reach their destinations, travelers may look for last-minute purchases, such as things to do.
On Mobile, Immediacy Trumps Loyalty
Mobile searchers want to immediately find relevant content, Google finds. Most of these searchers aren’t worried about loyalty programs — they’ll take the information wherever they can get it, the research shows.
This matters because, for instance, Target Marketing knows branded hotel sites have been pushing their loyalty programs to gain direct, rather than third-party, bookings. So these travel marketers also have to ensure mobile searchers find what they need.
Consumers Want Faster Experiences
Images are great, but they could be slowing down the site. Travel marketers can find a way to include images, but should have mobile sites load in less than three seconds — or 53 percent of its visitors will leave, according to Think With Google.
“The travel category as a whole is also lagging industry benchmarks for mobile page weight,” Loo says, with “weight” slowing down the sites.
Most mobile travel sites take more than 10 seconds to load, the research shows.
There’s a reason that’s bad for travel marketers, writes Daniel An, global product lead with Mobile Web at Google.
“Despite the fact that more than half of overall Web traffic comes from mobile,” he writes in his February post on Think With Google, “our data shows that mobile conversion rates are lower than desktop. In short, mobile page speed equals revenue.”
An’s post, “Find Out How You Stack Up to New Industry Benchmarks for Mobile Page Speed,” further states that the travel vertical doesn’t contain the worst marketing laggards.
“Pages from the automotive, retail and technology sectors, on average, take the longest to load,” he says. “And they also have some of the most bloated pages on the Web. Our research has been eye-opening. For 70 percent of the pages we analyzed, it took nearly seven seconds for the visual content above the fold to display on the screen, and it took more than 10 seconds to fully load all visual content above and below the fold.”
What do you think, travel marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
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