Millions of Americans Dial Up Travel Plans From the Phone

While total spending on online travel continues to grow, it is the mobile travel market that has everyone excited.

In a report released today, eMarketer estimates that 16 million Americans will book travel from their mobile devices this year, increasing 33 percent from 12 million in 2011. Even more people — roughly 37.8 million — will use their phones to research travel this year.

It’s no wonder that big online travel agencies, like Priceline and Expedia, are quickly expanding into mobile. One common mobile strategy is to build an app that gives deep discounts to people who book a hotel room from their phone for the same night.

Travelers who may not have access to a computer are an obvious market for hotel information, flights, maps, reviews and other services.

EMarketer said despite mobile’s rapid growth, total spending on online travel is growing more slowly than overall online retail sales. This year, online travel spending is set to increase 11 percent to $120 billion in the U.S.

But clearly all the trends spell bad news for travel agents and physical travel agencies. EMarketer expects a majority of Internet users to research and book via the Web.


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