As Hotels.com™ celebrates its 25th birthday this year, we reflect on what a fantastic journey we have been on over the past quarter of a century and look forward to what’s ahead for us as a business.
I’m particularly excited about the opportunities before us for shaping the future of the travel industry when it comes to mobile innovation.
For Hotels.com it all began in 1991 in a small office in Dallas, and back then we were offering hotel bookings to US and Canadian travellers via a toll-free telephone number. We were a 100% call centre business, so our story has really taken us on a journey of technology development, from telephone to smartphone.
It’s fair to say that some of the most exciting evolutions in the travel market over the past 25 years have centred on technology, and that remains at the heart of everything we do at Hotels.com today.
We are proud of our fantastic history and where we sit as a business — at the forefront of the travel market, global lodging experts and technology leaders.
The mobile platform is a trailblazer within our business, our app has more than 50 million downloads and we see more than 1 in 3 transactions coming from mobile. As mobile usage matures and smartphones just keep getting smarter, it is our mission to keep innovating and provide an unsurpassed hotel booking experience to our customers.
We’re therefore delighted to share with you our Hotels.com™ Mobile Travel Tracker. This study of almost 10,000 travellers, offers real insight into the impact that smartphones are having on the booking and mobile behaviour of today’s modern traveller.
It’s no surprise that the mobile device is now the number one travel companion, with 76% of people choosing it as their favourite travel accessory – twice as many people actually prefer to travel with their mobile device than their loved one!
We’ll continue to share insights and trends from the Hotels.com Mobile Travel Tracker over the coming months, but there were several key highlights that stood out and really demonstrate how people’s behaviour is changing, thanks to mobile:
- We are now a generation of secret hotel bookers. The most popular situation for booking a hotel is now between the sheets, with people also admitting to booking in the office when they’re supposed to be working and even whilst sitting on the toilet!
- Our travel booking behaviour is becoming very last minute, as people admit they’re becoming more spontaneous at making same day hotel bookings thanks to mobile. 14% of people even book their hotel in the airport departure lounge – now that is super spontaneous!
- The right payment method and customer reviews are now more important than price according to today’s travellers. It’s not all about getting the best deal, as our research shows there are more important factors when booking a hotel on mobile like guests’ opinions based on trusted guest reviews.
- We can’t seem to put our mobiles down whilst travelling. Approximately only 1 in 10 of us disconnects from the online world whilst away but in fact for half the population, their mobile is their main source of information when they’re travelling. For today’s holidaymaker it is all about searching. Whether that’s searching how to get from A to B usingv maps, searching online to compare deals or searching to book a hotel. When it comes to apps though, we head straight to social media first to stay connected and show off.
- Using mobile in the future whilst travelling has endless possibilities. Travellers are excited about the prospect of leaving instant hotel reviews, using their mobile to book a restaurant or taxi, using their device at a hotel self check-in kiosk and they are even prepared to order room service from their smartphone.
Now if you’ll excuse me, but like the 23% of people who book hotels when they’re meant to be hard at work, I need to take a break and book a hotel for the weekend!
President, Hotels.com brand