••• travel and leisure research

Travelers research hotels with smartphones but don’t book with them

A new study of 2,000 consumers from Boston research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) found that mobile, social and online factors influence leisure travelers very differently at separate stages in the purchase journey. Mobile devices play an important role in the initial research phase of hotel planning but are used sparingly to book hotel stays. Over 60 percent of travelers used a mobile device – 47 percent a smartphone – during their hotel purchase journey. But only 6 percent booked their hotel via a smartphone. Mobile applications are used infrequently throughout the hotel purchase journey. In total, only 6 percent of shoppers used a mobile app.

Consumer reviews trump social media in influencing research and evaluation as well as final decisions. Only 13 percent of bookers used social media during the purchase journey vs. 59 percent who consulted consumer reviews.

Price-comparison sites play an important role even when they are not the final purchase location. Nearly half of travelers (49 percent) used a price-comparison site such as Expedia, Priceline or Kayak. Thirty-six percent of those who used one or more of these sites ultimately booked their stay with them.

“There’s no shortage of information available to travelers as they plan and book hotels for their vacations,” says Judy Melanson, senior vice president of CMB’s travel and hospitality practice. “We know their path involves multiple sites and sources of information. The challenge for hotels is to decide how to align their marketing budgets to best intercept potential travelers – delivering desired content on the appropriate device and through the right channels and partners.”

••• financial services

Tablets are money in the bank for banking

Many tablet or e-reader owners use their devices for banking activities and see this as their primary banking method, according to a recent survey by Synergistics Research, Atlanta.

Nearly half of Internet households own a tablet or e-reader with Web browsing capability. Of these tablet/e-reader owners, three-quarters are using these devices for banking or bill payment activities. This represents one-third (34 percent) of all Internet households and usage increases steadily with income. Furthermore, three in 10 tablet banking users view it as a primary method of performing financial activities. The largest proportion – close to half – see it as a secondary method. One-fifth use tablet banking as an emergency method when it is absolutely necessary.

“It is quite impressive that in a relatively short time frame three-quarters of tablet/e-reader owners, representing one-third of Internet households, are using their devices for banking activities,” says William H. McCracken, CEO of Synergistics. “Providers should expect that tablet banking will increase as more tablets/e-readers get into the hands of consumers and should incorporate tablet banking as a part of their online channel strategies.”