September 10, 2010, 12:26 PM

Mobile travelers book quickly, and choose luxury

82% of mobile customers book within one day of their arrival versus 45% on PCs.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

Users of Priceline.com’s Priceline Negotiator mobile app book hotel rooms closer to arrival and tend to stay only one night.

Travelers using smartphones book hotel rooms in a very different manner than travelers sitting behind their desktop PCs, and as a result, travel companies may have to alter their strategic plans to address the mobile audience, says popular travel company Priceline.com.

In a two-week study of customers using the company’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad apps compared with customers on desktop PCs, Priceline.com found that 82% of mobile customers booked their hotel rooms within one day of their arrival at their destination compared with 45% among Priceline.com’s non-mobile customers.

Further, 58% of mobile customers were within 20 miles of their hotel at the time of booking; 35% were within one mile. This suggests that those customers had already arrived at their destinations before making their reservations, Priceline.com says.

79% of mobile customers booked stays of only one night versus 62% for non-mobile customers. And 82% of mobile customers chose hotels of a 3-star or higher quality level while 75% of non-mobile customers did the same.

“Early data supports the notion that mobile device-enabled travelers buy their travel differently compared to those on a desktop,” says Priceline.com senior vice president John Caine, who is part of the company’s mobile development team. “If this is the case, then travel companies may need to tweak their existing offerings and technologies, or create entirely new ones to address this segment of the traveling community.”

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