Can mobile really be the future of holiday buying?

Transport, Travel & Tourism Blog

Lynn Tweedale

One of the hazards of working in travel and tourism is you’re always ‘thinking’ holidays that seem so far out of grasp, but as the never-ending drizzle may finally be springing forwards, I’m starting to divulge in the daydream of my next getaway.

You’d think that perhaps as someone in the know, I’d be a bit more clued up as to what I was doing, but, like the average Joe, I’ll be doing the usual brochure browsing, website searches and peer reviews for inspiration.

Am I normal?  Well…loosely speaking, but I’m a bit more of a traditionalist if the latest research is anything to go by.

Whilst TravelSupermarket states that 42% of us use websites in our quest for holiday information, research by web analytics firm Qubit indicates that 8% of us now browse our holidays on a mobile phone!

Personally, the shiny images of infinity pools in the traditional brochures are what make a sale for me, so how can this translate on to such a small screen?  Not so well, as the rest of Qubit’s findings indicate.  Whilst people may browse on a mobile phone (whilst sat in traffic on the number 65 bus), conversions to sales are exceptionally low at only 0.16%. It obviously isn’t working as a user experience.

Those of you who know me from my Financial Services days know my passion for an omnichannel nirvana.  Travel is no different – whilst customers may use a mobile for some searching, most will also use other channels such as an old-school PC, tablets, travel agency branches, phone and my glossy favourite.

Software provider UserZoom also backs up this argument.  Their research shows the user journey often starts on one device and ends on another, but the content offered by some brands varies across touchpoints.  Travel companies need to make sure all information and the feel of each interaction, no matter the method/device are consistent and smoothly transitioned to take advantage of the sales momentum.

There will always be some barriers to purchasing via mobile, such as the inconvenience of the small screen size and the security concerns of booking via a mobile device, but making the journey as consistent and easy as possible will prevent the shopping cart abandonment from misinformation frustrations.

It’s great to see customers and travel providers grasping technology advancements, but for me, my holiday is pure escapism – my phone is off and well and truly out of this (brochure perfect) picture.


Pass me my sunscreen and a mojito!


TravelSupermarket – Travel Trends Tracker
Qubit – Travel vs. Retail: How travel professionals need to think differently to engage, convert and retain customers
UserZoom – Mobile & Tablet Usability of Holiday Websites


  • Mobile Bookings
  • Mobile Payments
  • Online Holidays