There’s nothing quite like a bit of holiday research to get you through a rainy day.

Now, according to new stats from Signal, more of us than ever are using our smartphones to do it.

With 46% of millennials planning a trip using their mobile in the past year, it is the younger generation that is driving the digital shift.

So, how exactly are travel brands catering to mobile users, and more specifically, millennial mobile users?

Here’s a closer look.

Piquing initial interest

Google uses the term 'micro-moments' to describe the times when we reach for our mobile phones for a specific purpose.

In terms of travel, the first interaction that many brands aim to capture is the 'I want to go' moment - i.e. the initial desire to travel.

At this point we might have a location or a place in mind, but mostly it is centred around general research.

Airbnb is a great example of how to engage mobile users in this moment.

Building on the fact that millennials typically crave experiences that excite and inspire, it uses guidebooks to build interest around a particular place.

  

By creating multiple articles about a single location, it means users are likely to get lost in their online journey, clicking further to discover recommendations and guides.

Before you know it, you've spent 45 minutes reading about the best markets to visit in Portland.

Booking.com also uses inspirational content to engage users during these early stages.

Using endorsements from fellow travellers, it is able to showcase a wide number of locations based on specific interests and activities.

While it does not discourage other age demographics, terms like 'adventure-seeking' and 'epic' are nicely aligned to millennials consumers.

  

Offering personalisation

With its interest-led content, the aforementioned example could also be seen as a move towards personalisation.

This is becoming increasingly important for consumers, as 22% of young travellers now desire a personalised and tailored experience on mobile.

Booking.com also demonstrates this by saving the user's past searches and previously viewed hotels.

While it might sound simple, this allows users to feel like their individual experience matters, as well as allowing it to seamlessly continue if they break away.

Secret Escapes also aims to deliver personalisation, mainly through its 'Wishlist' feature.

 

Allowing users to browse and save sales for later not only creates a personal experience, but it also recognises the fact that many people use multiple devices when planning a holiday.

Capturing spontaneity 

Smartphones are naturally aligned to spontaneous buying behaviour.

Hotels.com found that 74% of mobile bookings are for same-day check-ins - this shows how important it is for travel brands to capture spontaneity.

With 85% of millennialls checking multiple sites to ensure they get the best deal, price is obvously a big factor.

In line with this, we can see how Hotels.com specifically focuses on deals and discounts to entice on-the-spot bookings.

 

Likewise, Premier Inn also highlights its 'Flex' feature that allows users to cancel a booking up until 1pm on the same day.

It also creates a sense of urgency by labelling the 'last few rooms' available on the search results.

 

Finally, TripAdvisor hopes that users will be inclined to book whilst browsing recommendations, including a visible prompt to book a tour there and then.

Making booking easy

39% of consumers say that ease-of-use is the thing they desire most from mobile travel sites and apps.

As a result, site speed and user-friendly search functions are incredibly important.

Expedia is one brand that consistently delivers here - its intuitive search bar means that results appear in the drop-down menu instantly.

Likewise, its highly visual calendar makes it easy to select and view dates, and its search results promote the various ways to filter.

 

Finally, HostelWorld - a brand that specifically targets millennials - also focuses on general all-round user experience.

From its predictive search to excellent filter options, it is designed to deliver up-front and easily accessible information.

 

It also uses maps and geo-locational technology to help users even long after they've made a booking.

By providing extra value in this way, consumers are much more likely to use the site again in future.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 24 October, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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