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Mobile Travel Apps: The time is now

Posted by Daniele Beccari

Mobile Travel Apps: The time is now

Over the past few years, there has been a huge amount of investment in the development of mobile apps. The promotion and marketing of these apps has also taken off, with paid-for downloads, app cross-selling and app installations becoming the de-facto.

But customer engagement has been disappointing: relatively few users actually interact or book via the app once they have downloaded it. In Criteo’s 2014 Travel Flash Report, in-app bookings accounted for a mere 12% of the overall total mobile bookings – and of course, not every travel client even had an app at that time.

Mobile bookings in travel apps are finally taking off

Later this month, Criteo will launch its 2015 Travel Flash Report, which will reveal some fascinating insights into consumers’ booking behaviour. One of the most notable changes in the past 12 months has been the increase in the number of in-app bookings. This shift has been largely driven by the availability of mobile phones with a larger screen, an optimised user experience as well as easy payment options. As a result, in app bookings really took off in Q2 of this year and accounted for 35-40% of mobile bookings. Not surprisingly, in-app bookings spiked at 49% in July, at the height of the summer season.




 Source: Criteo Business Analytics team.

  So what does this mean for travel companies?

Apps can no longer be viewed as a ‘nice to have’ or a shop front. Apps are now an integral part of the route to market and are as important as the mobile and desktop sales channels.

Many travel companies have been concerned that in-app advertising is ineffective and won’t increase bookings. However, a recent Criteo in-app incrementality test proved that it does drive up the number of bookings by at least 10%. This increase is even more significant when you consider that:

  •  In-app ad inventory is still not as widespread as web inventory
  • This test did not use in-app inventory on social networks, where users actually spend most of their in-app time

 Looking to the future

There is no doubt that apps are going to become more and more important. Travel companies that ignore them do so at their peril. As the market becomes increasingly fragmented, reaching customers is now more complicated than ever, particularly when relying on a manual process. Marketers need to adopt a programmatic solution that can reach individual customers, at the right time, with the right message and most importantly, at the right cost.

More trends and insights for travel marketers can be found in Criteo’s Travel Flash Report 2015 – “Booking on Mobile Goes Mainstream”.

Categories: Performance Marketing