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How the Top 5 Online Booking Sites Compete on Mobile

Jun 24, 2014 2:32 pm

Skift Take

Layering nearby capabilities and restaurant reviews on top of hotel and flight reservations are a power play in popularizing mobile app usage.

— Joyce Manalo

Free Report: Social Media Trends for Tourism Boards

The Future of Personalized Marketing In Travel


TripAdvisor App for iPhone Screenshot via iTunes

Booking.com App for iPhone Screenshot via iTunes

Hotels.com App for iPhone Screenshot via iTunes

Expedia App for iPhone Screenshot via iTunes

Airbnb App for iPhone Screenshot via iTunes

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.

Even though TripAdvisor is the third most visited desktop website, it beats out its Top 5 peers globally in terms of user reviews captured on Google Play and iTunes.

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
Hotels.com 34,500,000 USA 56,206 70,013 126,219
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

Source: SkiftIQ

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.

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