May 23, 2013, 1:19 PM

Travelers prefer tablets and smartphones over laptops

More than half of tablet, smartphone and laptop owners book travel via mobile.

52% of travel booked in the first quarter of 2013 on a tablet, smartphone or laptop was booked on either a tablet or smartphone while 48% was booked on a laptop, according to a survey of 1,300 tablet, smartphone and laptop owners.

44% of these consumers are willing to spend $500 or more when booking travel with their mobile device, says the “Q1 2013 Mobile Audience Insights Report” from location-based mobile advertising network JiWire. Nearly 50% of mobile consumers use both their smartphone and tablet for travel research, the survey says.

Mobile apps are the preferred resource over mobile sites for travel research and purchasing, the survey finds. Travel aggregator apps (such as Travelocity or Orbitz) and airline apps are used three times more often than mobile sites for consumer research and purchasing, the survey says.

Smartphones and tablets continue to dominate public Wi-Fi usage, according to measurements of the public Wi-Fi networks JiWire links to. 60% of public Wi-Fi connections in Q1 2013 were made by mobile devices, which represents 33% growth year over year. Smartphones accounted for 38% of public Wi-Fi connections, tablets 22% and laptops 40%.

The numbers were just a little different for Wi-Fi in airports. 37% of public Wi-Fi connections in airports in Q1 2013 were made by smartphones, 28% by tablets and 35% by laptops, JiWire says.

“Mobile continues to impact all aspects of consumer behavior, and we’re certainly seeing this shift with travel-related services,” says David Staas, president of JiWire. “This quarter’s report uncovered how the increasing use of smartphones and tablets is influencing travel research and purchases, revealing significant cross-device behaviors. Understanding these trends will be important for advertisers and content developers to effectively engage their audience going forward.”

JiWire clients include Comcast, Hyatt, British Airways and Ann Taylor.

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