ShopBack sees rise in travel booking online, growth driven by mobile app

Online travel which comprises online sales of flights and accommodations accounts for more than 38% of Southeast Asia's US$78 billion internet economy last year. According to ShopBack report, the volume of online travel bookings on its platform recorded a 260% growth in 2018, on the back of more consumers buying online travel products.

The report also highlighted that while 60% of transactions were still made on desktop last year, the growth of transactions made on mobile app has far outpaced that of desktop. Analysing last year’s online travel bookings transacted via ShopBack across seven countries in Asia Pacific, mobile app’s growth rate was at least 1.5 times that of desktop.

Citing its study, ShopBack said that it saw more online sales conducted on mobile app across majority of the online categories."Should this trend continue, mobile app is bound to leapfrog desktop in the coming quarters as the leading platform on which online travel sales are transacted," the report said.

The online travel platform, ShopBack, segmented its online travel customers into three distinct profiles: Spontaneous, Last-Minute and Plan-in-Advance. As such, the report said that over 70% of customers who booked and travelled in less than a day (referred to as “Spontaneous” travellers) completed their online travel bookings on mobile app. Regardless of intent, ShopBack said that when marketing to this group of individuals, speed is paramount.

Knowing your target group 

The report said that travel operators should push same-day book-and-travel deals, which will also help business owners optimise its inventory, request minimal information required to complete a booking and also to offer concise contextual recommendations to help travellers prepare for their trips in the shortest time possible.

To further propel the growth in travel bookings on the platform, ShopBack said that all of the recommendations above should be conducted on mobile app. Meanwhile, the desktop-mobile app split was relatively even for customers who booked and travelled within a week (referred to as “Last-Minute” travellers) and shifted towards desktop for customers who booked and travelled with more than a week in advance (hereafter referred to as “Plan-In-Advance” travellers).

"With the luxury of time, travellers seemed to prefer purchasing on desktop, presumably for the ease of navigating and comparing across a wider range of accommodation and flight options," ShopBack added.

Apart from the platform usage, ShopBack computed the travellers’ average purchase value based on consumers' segmented profiles.

It said that “Plan-in-Advance” travellers tend to make higher value purchases compared to the other traveller types. With the exception of Indonesia, “Plan-In-Advance” travellers spent at least US$370 more than “Spontaneous ” travellers in all markets. This can be attributed to the fact that 67% of “Plan-In-Advance” travellers travelled overseas and for a longer duration, which might be costlier.