Last month we launched our first ever magazine, Megatrends Defining Travel in 2015, where we identify the global trends in travel in 2015 and beyond, and focus on three emerging key themes: Mobile. Seamless. Experiential. Below is an extract from the one of the trends in the magazine.

2014 has been a seminal year for travel booking, the first year in the U.S. when desktop online bookings have peaked and will expect to see a slow decline of 1-2 percent every year for the next five years, according to data from Emarketer. Meanwhile, mobile booking is poised to grow exponentially over the next 5 years, with 60 percent estimated growth from 2014 and 40 percent in the coming 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 11.19.19 AMBut the impact of mobile is poised to be even more profound in what was traditionally a dark period for travel companies: the period after bookings have been done, before actual travels happen, and during the in-situ travel phase. Most travelers spend 42 percent of the money they’ll budget for a trip in the period before departure, which means a majority of spending, full 58 percent of it, still happens in-trip, and that’s where the big opportunity for disruption lies.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 10.13.17 PMThere are a few intersecting trends driving this:

  • Pervasive connectivity is on horizon. Data plans for mobile phones are becoming all-inclusive, not just inside a country but also international as well, driven primarily by T-Mobile in the U.S. and Europe, that is all inclusive, globally.
  • Wi-Fi is becoming finally becoming free, and hotels are leading the way, but it is also beginning to happen on onboard ships, planes, and within attraction spaces.
  • Mobile tech is changing the timeframe of traveler decision-making. OTAs and other sellers are able to promote offers under conditions of same-day, next-day, and last-minute scheduling.

Consumers are becoming much more comfortable using mobile for the hitherto-complex task of booking, and with booking windows shrinking, the usage of mobile in-travel is a natural extension of it.

This presents opportunities for particular types of companies, including OTAs, which are now looking to move beyond traditional travel booking — which helps explain why Priceline bought OpenTable. It also helps online review sites closing the loop between reviews to transactions, and move into other adjacent categories driven heavily by reviews — that explains Tripadvisor’s acquisitions of Viator and Lafourchette, moving into in-trip services.

Tours and activities also get unlocked, as mobile becomes the de facto means of discovery, with an emphasis on in- destination bookings with real-time availability. This presents opportunities for tour operators, attractions and local events and entertainment companies, startups aiming for these markets, and even hotel companies looking to upsell customers before they arrive or even during the stay.

Expect companies like Yplan, which help travelers and local alike to make last-minute social plans, to become part of a larger company arsenal as mobile becomes the conduit to reach them.

For tourism boards, it also means a way to reach customers in-market, primarily through social media on mobile, using Twitter and Facebook as a real time concierge in answering visitors’ queries, or promoting specific events and attractions.

This is an extract, get this and all the other trends, download the magazine for full trends for 2015.

We want to thanks our magazine sponsors Virgin Atlantic, Amadeus and Egencia for making this possible.

Download the copy for deeper read. Share it if you like it and think others can benefit from them.

DOWNLOAD THE SKIFT 2015 MAGAZINE

Photo Credit: That dark 58 percent of in-trip travel budgets are getting unlocked due to mobile.