April 19, 2012, 11:08 AM

The majority of smartphone owners use their devices for travel

And nearly one in five booked flights or rooms on phones, comScore finds.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

51% of smartphone owners accessed travel content on their devices during the three-month period ending February 2012, with nearly one in five smartphone owners using their device to book air travel or hotel reservations, finds web and mobile measurement firm comScore Inc.

The most popular air travel-related mobile activity was checking airfare prices—26% of all smartphone users checked fares, according to comScore Travel Advisor, a new area of research for the company. Smartphone users were nearly as likely to look up an airline phone number, flight schedules, and check a flight’s status, with 25% of smartphone owners using their phones for each task.

“The on-the-go convenience of smartphones has facilitated their emergence as an essential companion for travelers,” says Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile. “We all know how hectic a travel experience can be, but smartphones have really stepped in to meet a variety of needs for travelers, such as coordination of schedules, locations, trip itineraries and transactions. With more than half of all smartphone users now engaging with travel content, there has never been a better opportunity for suppliers and online travel agencies to invest in their mobile strategies to provide a great experience and win loyalty from their customers.”

While many of the most popular behaviors were consumers seeking information, they also completed transactions. 21% of smartphone consumers checked in for a flight on their device, while 18% booked a flight on their smartphone and 10% cancelled a flight, comScore finds.

Among other air travel-related activities, 24% of smartphone owners looked up airport information on their devices, 19% received price alerts for flights, 17% received text message alerts for flight status and 13% tracked the status of a checked bag, the Travel Advisor report says.

Among hotel-related activities, 29% of smartphone consumers looked up hotel address and directions, 23% looked up things to do and attractions near the hotel, 22% researched restaurants near the hotel, 22% read a hotel review, 21% compared hotel prices and availability, 18% received price alerts for hotels, and 10% cancelled a reservation, comScore finds.

Travelers making use of their smartphones are mostly male: 62% versus 38% female, comScore says. Overall, 52% of smartphone users are male and 48% are female.

More than half of mobile travelers are 18-34 years old. 21% of smartphone owners using their devices for travel purposes are age 18-24, comScore says. 33% are 25-34, 24% are 35-44, 11% are 45-54, 8% are 55-64, and 4% are 65 and older. Those percentages add up to more than 100% due to rounding.

Mobile travelers also skew more affluent than the average consumer, comScore finds. 26% make $100,000 or more a year; 23%, $75,000 to $100,000; 22%, $50,000 to $75,000; 23%, $25,000 to $50,000; and 7%, less than $25,000. Those percentages add up to more than 100% due to rounding. The median household income in the U.S. is about $50,000.

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