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“Spontaneous travellers” boost mobile bookings

Thomas Laboutka addresses the No Vacancy event in Bangkok
Thomas Laboutka addresses the No Vacancy event in Bangkok

The rise of spontaneous, affluent travellers is driving mobile bookings in the Asia Pacific region, a conference has heard.

Speaking at the No Vacancy event in Bangkok today (25 June 2013), Thomas Laboutka, who founded last-minute hotel booking app HotelQuickly, said an increasing number of Asian travellers are leaving their choice of accommodation until the day of arrival, which is driving the importance of mobile booking channels for hotels.

“Mobile is where the future is,” Laboutka told delegates at the event. “Forty-eight percent of travel planning is now done on mobile in the Asia Pacific region. We are entering an age of spontaneous, affluent travellers in Asia.”

Laboutka also cited data which said that up to 70% of mobile searches lead to action.

And the importance of mobile as both a research and booking channel was backed-up by Bambos Kaisharis, Google’s industry head of travel for Southeast Asia. Addressing the No Vacancy event, he argued that while many bookings may be attributed to desktop computers, the booking process often actually starts on a mobile device.

“Only one in four bookings happen on the device where the research started,” said Kaisharis. “In fact 60% of bookings that started on a mobile device will end on a desktop, and this can lead to undervaluing the importance of mobile.”

One in four online travel bookings in Asia Pacific are currently made on mobile devices, and while this is less than the US, where the rate is approximately one in two, the event’s speakers agreed that it was crucial for the industry to recognise the importance of mobile.

“In the online space, if you don’t have a mobile strategy, you don’t have a strategy,” said Kaisharis.

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