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Travelers Lean on Mobile’s Location-Based Information

Travel searches on mobile devices most often related to transportation

Part of mobile’s appeal to travel consumers is its ability to draw on location-based information, aiding customers on the move who are looking for car rentals, hotels and other services on short notice. A Q1 2012 report by mobile-local ad network xAd found that almost half of all local travel searches completed on a mobile device in the US were related to transportation. Travel agencies accounted for another 25% of searches, tours and attractions constituted 14% of searches and 12% of searches related to lodging and resorts.

xAd also examined mobile-local search data in the three subcategories of hotels and lodging, car rentals and airlines, finding relatively high clickthrough rates for all. The CTR for ads shown after an airline search was an impressive 17.8%, followed by 17% for car rental searches and nearly 10% for hotel and lodging searches.

According to the report, the leading secondary action—the user’s next action after an initial click—for both car rental and airline searches was the placement of a phone call to a business, at 73% and 89%, respectively. For hotel searches, more than three-quarters of secondary actions consisted of looking at maps and getting directions.

These secondary actions are the result of reluctance among consumers to navigate brand websites on a mobile device. Instead of dealing with an inconvenient interface on a small screen, customers preferred to call businesses directly. In the case of those performing hotel or lodging searches, consumers turned to map and directions apps to find the information they sought. In both instances, users sought the most efficient path, underscoring why brands seeking to secure bookings from mobile customers must focus on optimizing local search with a click-to-call button in results.

With mobile travel research and bookings still emerging and expected to grow rapidly, brands have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve. eMarketer estimates that 16 million people in the US will book travel on a mobile device this year, with that figure set to more than double to 36.7 million people by 2016.

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Check out today’s other articles, “National Brands Expect Big Returns on Local Ad Investment” and “Smartphones Important, but Still Dramatically Trail PC Usage in Canada.”

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