Skift Take

If Priceline's stats hold up industrywide, then airlines know that their mobile apps and mobile sites will have to cater to younger travelers who seek a lot more flexibility.

Nearly half of travelers booking airline tickets using Priceline’s mobile apps and mobile website booked one-way tickets for domestic and international flights, Priceline says.

That was one of the nuggets that Priceline released today about the habits of customers using its iPhone and Android apps, as well as the company’s mobile website.

Priceline, Expedia and other online travel companies have released a lot of data over the last couple of years about the close-in booking habits of mobile users when they reserve hotels.

But the data that Priceline released today, taken from a sample of mobile bookings earlier this year, sheds some light on customers booking airline tickets using mobile smartphones and tablets. Priceline refers to these users as “untethered,” referring to the flexibility they seek and their on-the-go booking.

“Mobile-equipped consumers are what we call ‘untethered’ travelers,” says Brian Ek, a Priceline spokesperson.  “They like to create their travel experiences on the fly, rather than stick to itineraries planned far in advance.  Hotels are typically chosen closer to check-in day (even on the same day), and many bookings are made while on the road or after arrival in town.”

“Mobile-equipped travelers tend to book their airline tickets a bit closer-in than desktop users.” Ek adds. “And the choice of one-way tickets allows mobile travelers to adjust their length of stay and even return from a different city.”

In addition to their penchant for one-way tickets, mobile air bookers were 32 years old, on average, compared with age 38 for desktop air bookers, Priceline found.

And, they were bargain-hunters, or at least adept at finding cheaper flights using apps and the mobile website. Mobile air bookers paid $283 on average for flights, while destop users averaged $315 per flight, Priceline states.




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