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80% of Travellers Use Smartphones on Trips, But Not To Book

By SHANNON KELLY

Recent data shows that travellers are (figuratively and literally) tethered to their smartphones for trip planning and on the ground while travelling. The study, from eMarketer Inc., found that approximately 80 per cent of respondents use their mobile phone “all the time” while away. It also found that some 36.4 million Americans are expected to do travel research on their phones in 2012, with an anticipated 72 million using their phones for trip research by 2016. However, less than half of that number will, apparently, book their travel using their phone.

The primary reasons that travel booking via smartphone isn’t more popular? One is that people are still wary of entering secure data like credit card information via mobile—though it remains to be seen whether the growth of mobile wallets will affect consumers’ attitudes about safety of online payments.

Another reason people don’t book online that, with a few exceptions, mobile booking sites are generally not as easy to use as the traditional Web sites—either because the company hasn’t optimized its site for mobile or because photos are small and research requires lots of scrolling and multiple clicks. Case in point: Canada’s largest airline, Air Canada, does not have a mobile site (it does have a mobile app), though WestJet and Porter Airlines do.

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