March 27, 2013, 5:17 PM

Most travel-oriented mobile commerce occurs at home, not on the go

A new ForeSee study examines consumer satisfaction with mobile travel sites and apps.

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More than 70% of mobile travel site and app users book travel from home, while only 12% are on the go, finds customer satisfaction measurement firm ForeSee. 13% book on mobile from work, 2% from school, 1% from a store and 2% from other locations. 43% of mobile travel site and app users are researching and 23% are booking, according to ForeSee’s “Mobile Satisfaction Index: Travel Edition,” a survey of 6,000 travel mobile site and app users. 21% are searching for promotions, 10% are checking rewards status and 3% are performing other tasks.

Mobile travelers are fairly satisfied with travel-oriented mobile sites and apps: Overall satisfaction with sites and apps registers 77 on the study’s 100-point scale. Foresee considers scores in the 70s satisfactory, scores in the 80s superior and anything below 70 lacking. So scores in the high 70s are okay, but still leave room for improvement, ForeSee adds.

Southwest Airlines provides the most satisfying mobile travel experience, scoring 82. It tops all measured companies and is five points higher than the nearest airline competitor. Trailing behind Southwest in the airlines category are American Airlines at 77, Delta Airlines at 77, United Airlines at 75 and U.S. Airways at 74. The average satisfaction score for airlines’ mobile sites and apps is 77.

“Simple is the rule. Customers are attracted to the convenience of the mobile platform and do not want a complicated experience,” says Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “That’s much easier for a hotel company to do because they have fewer moving parts and a predictable inventory. Airlines introduce more variables like seat selection and variable pricing. Online travel agencies have the most difficult challenges because they’re dealing with all of these factors.”

Choice Hotels International has the second highest score for satisfaction with mobile sites and apps among all companies measured. It reached an 80. In the hotels category, Marriott International scored a 79, Hyatt Corp. 78, Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts 78, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts 78, Hilton Worldwide 77, Starwood Hotels & Resorts International 77, and Best Western International 76. The average satisfaction score for hotels overall is 78, making it the highest-performing category of all measured travel industries.

Among car rental companies, Avis Rent-a-Car and Enterprise Rent-a-Car score a 78. Budget and Hertz both score a 77 and Dollar trails at 75. The average satisfaction score for car rental companies is 77.

Kayak and Travelocity share the top spot among online travel agencies with a score of 78. Expedia and Priceline both register a 76 while and Orbitz score a 75. The average satisfaction score for online travel agency sites and apps is 76.

When it comes to apps versus mobile sites, customers using mobile apps (78) are slightly more satisfied with their mobile travel experience than those using mobile sites (77). Apps may benefit from a slightly higher score because their platform, unlike mobile sites, is tailored specifically to a mobile device, ForeSee says.

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