Three out 10 cell phones in use in the United States are now “smart phones” with Internet connectivity, leading to one of the most intriguing questions facing travel service marketers today: how are travelers using these devices to plan, purchase and share information about destinations and travel service suppliers? The results of the new Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2010 Portrait of American Travelers survey provides some insightful answers.
Nearly two in 10 (19 percent) travelers have downloaded a travel-related application (app) to their smart phone. Among them, nearly one-half have navigated a destination using the built-in GPS functionality (47 percent) or searched for the latest information on flight schedules and delays (46 percent). Nearly three in 10 have compared airfares or hotel rates (29 percent) or shared information or photos about their travel experiences (28 percent) using their smart phone, Ypartnership reports.
Approximately one in six has booked air travel or lodging (18 percent) or viewed a virtual visitor guide that provides information on things to do and see while visiting a destination (15 percent). Finally, more than one in 10 (11 percent) has used their smart phone to download and redeem mobile coupons, while one in 20 (6 percent) has downloaded an audio walking tour of a specific destination.
“Clearly, mobile devices are destined to play an increasingly important role in the distribution and sale of travel services in years ahead,” said Peter C. Yesawich, chairman and CEO of Ypartnership. “Both shopping and more real-time engagement in the discovery of what a destination has to offer are likely to rival talking and texting in the years ahead.”
The Portrait of American Travelers is national survey of 2,524 U.S. households that was conducted in February 2010. The results provide an in-depth examination of the impact of the current economic environment, social values and media habits on the travel habits of Americans with an annual household income of $50,000 or more.