Mobile Devices Dominate Hotel Web Traffic

Mobile continues to see dramatic growth and change. We’ve analysed the latest data on which devices are being used, which are growing and which are declining. The verdict? Hotel website visits are now dominated by mobile, and hotels as a whole lag slightly behind most online retailers in terms of mobile visits.

However, mobile revenue and transactions lag behind mobile visits, both in the hotel industry and for online retailers as a whole. We’re going to quickly explore why that’s happening, and what will need to change for mobile revenue to catch up.

From hotel website traffic to a look at the broader shift to mobile for online retailers, here’s a quick snapshot of what’s happening today, and what hotels need to do to get the most from mobile in 2017 and beyond:

Mobile Still Growing Strongly for Hotels:

What We’re Seeing

  • Website Visits: Now dominated by mobile. As of December 2016, mobile contributes to over 58% of total visits, with both desktop and tablet in decline.*
  • Revenue: Desktop remains the largest source of revenue. Desktop is in decline and mobile is taking that growth – but it’s not there just yet!
  • Transactions (Bookings): Desktop remains the largest source of bookings. However, it is in decline and mobile is taking the share of this.

How significant is this growth?

It’s very significant. In the span of just two years, we’ve seen mobile traffic shoot up by 46%, from 39.7% in December 2014 to 58% in December 2016. Mobile traffic officially outstripped desktop traffic in July 2015, and has only continued to grow.

Check it out in the graph below:

website visits by device

For the travel industry as a whole, Criteo finds that airline and hotel mobile bookings made up 27% of all online bookings during the second quarter of 2016.

Mobile revenue and transactions are still behind desktop, but they’re catching up quickly! What mobile patterns is your hotel website seeing? Are your mobile website and booking engine ready for your mobile users?

What About Other Online Retailers?

For all online retailers, analyzed across 500 million web sessions, Unbxd finds that mobile users now total 61%. This indicates that the hotel industry continues to lag slightly in terms of traffic. Additionally, they find that mobile still gets 63% lower conversions compared to desktop.

Purchase research is more popular on mobile than actual purchases. This is why mobile traffic is so high while revenue still lags.

Many users start the research process on mobile. 33% of those users start their mobile research with a branded website. Make sure your website is offering the resources your users are looking for! If they can stay on your site to find what they need, they’re more likely to make a booking.

Mobile Purchases Lag – But for How Long?

Part of the lower conversion rate on mobile is due to psychological barriers and security concerns. More users today feel comfortable making smaller purchases on mobile, but prefer to make larger purchases like hotel rooms on desktop or even offline.

As recently as May 2016, e-commerce provider Avangate found that only one in five consumers felt comfortable using their mobile phone to make any kind of purchase. In 2015, the shopping cart abandonment rate reached an all-time high of 70%, and it’s still climbing.

Mobile purchases lag desktop in terms of both ease and security. Almost two out of five mobile shoppers have abandoned a travel booking on a mobile device due to poor user experience. Players like Apple Pay, Android Pay and other mobile wallets are trying to change that, though, and they’re seeing success.

Getting mobile purchases to match mobile traffic is one of the great challenges of the next few years. When hotels and other online retailers start to see mobile conversion rates matching desktop, it will speak hugely to success they’ve had in creating a great mobile user experience. The revenue benefits for the industry at large will be in the billions.

There are many factors to address, including but not limited to:

  • Transparent pricing
  • Ease of filling out forms on mobile – reduce form fields where possible!
  • Secure, quick payments
  • Quick loading times
  • Mobile web design aimed at conversion optimisation

Sitepoint recommends keeping mobile designs clear, focused and simple, and remember that users will be clicking with a thumb or a finger – not a mouse! For a closer look at those factors and what hotels can do, here’s a resource to help.


For hotels and, in fact, all online retailers, mobile revenue and transactions are still behind desktop, but they’re catching up quickly! What mobile patterns is your hotel website seeing? Are your mobile website and booking engine ready for your mobile users?


*This data is based off all Net Affinity clients and is sourced from Google Analytics
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