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UK Travelers Pick Up Smartphones for Research

Lack of mobile-optimized sites means travelers still book on desktops and laptops

The mobile phone is proving to be indispensable in the UK when organizing a holiday. Of the 1,550 UK smartphone owners surveyed by mobile payments and marketing group Weve, nearly nine in 10 used their phones to research and plan their vacations.

The top travel-related activities conducted via smartphone were looking for hotels, searching for flights and comparing prices. Searching holidays in general was also cited by more than four in 10 respondents. Despite the value the mobile phone has in organizing trips, the bulk of transactions were made on a desktop or laptop, and half of those who didn’t book via smartphone said this was due to sites not being optimized for mobile use.

Similarly, polling by TNS Infratest and Google found that smartphones were used the most during the middle of planning trips. Nearly seven in 10 UK smartphone users said they researched via smartphone in the middle of the travel purchase process; just 17% of respondents used such a device to make the final purchase.

The study also found that 26% of UK smartphone users researched via their phones when organizing trips, compared with purchases related to tech (20%), entertainment (19%) and retail (14%). However, just 12% of respondents researched and bought travel-related items on their smartphones.

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