Most travel researchers on tablets book on the desktop

Mobile travelers complain of slow sites and apps, a new survey finds.

Kevin Woodward

Tablet owners may use their devices to research travel options, but many—54%—return to a desktop computer to book their online travel selections, finds a new survey.

The survey, “The Connected Traveler: A Mobile Satisfaction Report,” undertaken by Mobiquity Inc., a mobile site and app developer, finds consumers encounter a variety of obstacles that prompt them to abandon their tablets and smartphones to book travel and choose a desktop browser instead. Among smartphone users, 62% will research on their devices, only to book the travel purchase using a desktop computer.

Among the chief complaints about mobile travel sites is that they are slow to load, cited by 52% of tablet owners and 60% of smartphone owners. 44% of smartphone owners said mobile apps were slow. Many tablet owners—51%—said search and selection options were complicated, with 44% reporting sites were not optimized for viewing on tablets.

Among the 45 travel companies in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400, the average m-commerce site home page load time is 9.4 seconds with JetBlue Airways, No. 92, boasting the speediest time, 3.1 seconds.

Poor performance may affect sales, Mobiquity says. 35% of consumers who have an unsatisfactory mobile experience are less likely to book again, the survey finds.

On the positive side, when consumers book travel by a tablet or smartphone they spend on average more than $500. The percentages that book this amount using a mobile web site or app are fairly close. 39% of tablet owners and 33% of smartphone owners plan to spend more than $500 on travel bookings via mobile sites, while 36% of tablet owners and 40% of smartphones will do so with an app.

In comparison, 76% of U.S. online travelers surveyed in January by PhoCusWright, a travel research firm, booked their travel online. Of those, 68% spent more than $500 per trip. PhoCusWright surveyed more than 2,500 consumers in January.

Mobiquity also measured how satisfied consumers were with 19 travel companies’ mobile commerce sites and apps. Among travel companies with apps, Travelocity merited a 100% rating in the survey followed by Kayak, 92%, and Expedia, 91%. Travelocity is No. 28 and Expedia is No. 10 in the Mobile 400 guide.

Among travel company mobile web sites, Travelocity again had the top rating, at 99%, followed by Marriott International Inc., 96%, and Orbitz LLC, 95%. Marriott is No. 3 and Orbitz No. 4 in the Mobile 400.

Mobiquity surveyed 1,000 consumers who use tablets and smartphones in March.


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