Most smartphone owners use devices for travel planning

Does the prevalence of smartphones mean more people are traveling smarter? Possibly, according to a new report from comScore.

Years ago you couldn't even book a plane ticket without a travel agent. Now you don't even need a computer.

A new report from comScore reveals that slightly more than half (51 percent) of all smartphone owners in the United States used their mobile devices to access some sort of travel-related content or information during the 3-month period, ending February 2012.

Mark Donovan, senior vice president of mobile at comScore, explained in the report that smartphones have stepped in to address the needs of travelers (i.e. coordinating itineraries, etc.).

Donovan added that this really opens up the door for travel content providers -- so long as they realize the opportunity now:

Both OTAs and suppliers need to understand the demographic and behavioral characteristics of these mobile travelers in order to build effective mobile strategies that complement their online presence. Failure to develop a strong mobile presence could result in unsatisfied customers and lost opportunities to convert new audiences, leaving brands vulnerable to competitors who adapt more quickly to addressing consumers’ shifting consumption habits.

Here's a snapshot of what those suppliers should consider and what the average mobile traveler looks like:

  • Nearly one in every five smartphone owners use their phones to book air travel or hotel reservations.
  • Four in every five mobile travelers accessed both air and hotel content.
  • The most popular air travel-related mobile activity was checking airfare prices, followed by looking up a phone number (i.e. for an airline), looking at flight schedules, and checking a flight's status, respectively.
  • 62 percent of smartphone owners that accessed travel information were male.
  • 78 percent of smartphone travelers were between the ages of 18 and 44.
  • Mobile travelers had similar income levels compared to the average smartphone owner. Most of them earn approximately $75,000 annually.