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Layering nearby capabilities and restaurant reviews on top of hotel and flight reservations are a power play in popularizing mobile app usage.
A large online desktop presence is not an indicator of a similarly strong mobile presence.
In this case, we compared total reviews across iTunes and the Google Play story for the top five biggest desktop booking sites: Booking.com, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Hotels.com, and Expedia (Read “The Most Popular Online Booking Sites in Travel”). The total number of reviews for iOS booking apps is estimated at 400,000, while Android’s reviews are at 700,000.
Most of the booking sites have had apps in either one or both app stores for quite some time. TripAdvisor released its app for both operating systems in spring 2010. Airbnb and Booking.com followed suit in autumn 2010. And Expedia and Hotels.com released their app for both mobile markets in Spring 2011.
|Brand||Est. Desktop Visits May ’14 (SimilarWeb)||iTunes Most Popular by Country||iTunes Customer Ratings (Global)||Google Play Customer Ratings (Global)||Total App Ratings|
|TripAdvisor||159,600,000||USA, Italy, Great Britain||161,214||425,856||587,070|
|Booking.com||210,500,000||USA, Russia, Italy, Great Britain||154,028||136,825||290,853|
|Expedia||63,500,000||USA, Great Britain, Canada||11,157||34,190||45,347|
|Airbnb||32,500,000||USA, Italy, France||12,390||23,258||35,648|
Each of the apps are most popular in the U.S. In looking at iOS reviews globally, Booking.com’s focus on Russia has proven its app’s popularity and Airbnb and TripAdvisor’s strong presence in Italy is linked to its nationals’ higher usage of location-based services and GPS than the British, as reported in Nielsen’s Mobile Consumer, 2013.
In the iOS market, Booking.com and TripAdvisor are close rivals. Although TripAdvisor is way ahead in ratings, Booking.com has its own niche, with enough room to grow and fall in the Android market to withstand unexpected pressures.