Small Luxury Hotels of the World reveals mobile browsing/booking trends

beach tablet

Maldives Promotion House – Small Luxury Hotels of the World has revealed how significant the mobile economy is to the luxury travel industry with its latest data on global browsing and booking trends.

Tech gurus hyped 2012 as the year of the mobile boom and the latest figures from the luxury hotel brand really highlight the growing ubiquity of handheld devices over twelve months by comparing visits and bookings on slh.com by iPad, iPhone and Android handsets.

The year on year analysis for SLH’s online activity for January, traditionally one of the most popular booking months, not only reinforces the growing trend for mobile browsing and booking, but also underpins the growing demand for luxury travel in the emerging markets, which saw the greatest percentage increase of traffic to slh.com.

In January 2013, SLH’s website hits in China were up by 406% year-on-year; Brazil saw an increase of 104%, followed by Russia with a more moderate 22% increase. The UK saw a very positive increase, up 15%, whilst in line with expectations other more developed travel markets such as the USA and Germany saw slight increases of 1% and 4% respectively, compared to the same month the previous year.

In terms of website visits by mobile devices, the developed economies saw the most significant growth. The iPad continues to be the most popular handset for searching hotels on slh.com, with iPad visits from the UK recording the largest share of total website visits at 22% in January 2013, up 108% year on year, followed by Canada (19%), France (17%) and Germany (16%).

Website visits by iPhone were also marginally up year-on-year with the Canadian and Chinese markets both seeing the most significant jump, recording a 193% and 105% increase in iPhone traffic.

Android visits were also up in most markets, although it still represents a very small proportion of the total volume of website visits, suggesting there is untapped potential for more mobile-friendly content.

The mobile technology market in the UK continues to surge and accounts for an increasing amount of the total online search volume for accommodation. In January 2013, 30% of visits to slh.com from the UK were from a mobile device, compared to 18% in 2012, representing a 50% increase year on year. This data mirrors a nationwide technology trend for the travel industry according to the results of a Google UK survey revealing that during the third quarter of 2012, 33% of all online searches for accommodation were from a mobile device, a sharp increase from the same quarter in 2011 when mobile accounted for just 5% of searches.

These results do not come as much surprise considering that the UK has one of the highest penetrations of smartphones in the world according to Ofcom. As of December 2012, 58% of the population has a smartphone and almost a fifth (19%) owns a tablet. The iPhone is the most popular device capturing 29% of the UK smartphone market.

Meanwhile, the percentage of website visitors making bookings on slh.com across all mobile platforms remains fairly low worldwide, although the conversion rate is growing. Over 14% of all bookings in the last two quarters of 2012 were made by iPad, iPhone and Android, up from 7% across the same period in 2011.

China and Russia saw a particularly large increase in year on year bookings by iPad, with the iPad accounting for 24% (compared to 0% in 2012) and 15% (up 700%) of total bookings respectively. The steady rise of the iPad fan club in the UK continues with 18% of SLH hotel stays booked via iPad in January 2013, up from 7% in January 2012.

The number of bookings made by iPhone and Android remains very small, with the exception of the world’s leader in technology, Japan, where 7% of all bookings via slh.com were made by iPhone.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World currently has a portfolio of 8 hotels in Maldives and over 520 hotels in more than 70 countries.

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