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Mobile is becoming a normal part of UK travelers’ research process, according to March 2014 polling by comScore for Expedia Media Solutions, which found that nearly half of smartphone- or tablet-owning UK internet users who had booked travel within the past six months had used a smartphone, tablet or both devices to research or plan their trips.
However, mobile booking was not as common, with just one-quarter of respondents saying they had made hotel reservations or booked flights that way. Instead, UK travelers preferred to conduct such activities on a PC or laptop.
This preference was likely due to the barriers to booking travel via mobile, which 45% of both smartphone and tablet owners said was slower than and not as easy as it was on other devices. Security concerns were also an issue, cited by 26% of smartphone users and 18% of those with tablets. In addition, screen size was a major barrier when it came to booking via smartphone, cited by 47% of owners.
Though smartphones may not be popular for booking trips, they’re proving useful while traveling. Data published in March 2014 by BDRC Continental indicated that smartphone usage during trips had increased for UK internet users of all ages between 2012 and 2014—except among the youngest age bracket, where it remained the same. The 25-to-34 age group was the most likely to use smartphones on trips this year, passing those ages 20 to 24. With the exception of 55- to 64-year-olds, smartphone usage while traveling had become a majority activity among respondents.
According to Expedia, checking the news and weather were the most common activities conducted via tablet or smartphone among UK internet users who brought such devices on their most recent trips. Researching activities and restaurants were also popular on smartphones, and tablets were commonly used for checking in on social networks or using a location service.
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