This week we’re examining the ever-expanding growth of mobile booking.

What was once a novelty and a niche behavior, for many travel brands selling online, is increasingly the norm. In fact, according to some new forecasts out this week, travel purchases made on mobile may make up more than half of all digital travel purchases by 2016. How might that impact marketers’ mobile, e-commerce and design decisions moving forward? Read on below for more details.

Forecast Predicts 50% of Digital Travel Purchases in 2016 Will Be Via Mobile
The inexorable rise of mobile devices shows no signs of slowing down. According to new research, this also applies to mobile purchases, which some research sources expect will account for more than 50% of digital travel purchases in the U.S. by 2016. While many travel brands have already adjusted to travelers’ increasingly mobile-focused research and buying habits, the huge number of consumers embracing this behavior is likely to have important consequences for app-makers and website designers moving forward. Read more

Understanding Cross-site Travel Research Habits
It’s no surprise that travelers visit multiple websites, including online travel agency pages, metasearch sites and supplier websites, over the course of the typical online purchase process. A new study by Expedia Media Solutions purports to take a closer look at traveler motivations behind such behavior. As it turns out, travel booking behavior may be more complicated than the simple “supplier vs. OTA” decision the industry has been lead to believe. Read more

HotelTonight Tries to Get Guests to Stay Longer With New +1 Booking Feature
Travel startup darling HotelTonight has been struggling in recent weeks, with the company announcing last week it was laying off 20% of its staff. This week, the company is back with a new app feature called Tonight +1, which lets customers booking a same-day hotel instantly add a second night’s stay for an equal or lesser price. The company says the feature was designed based on research which found a third of its repeat bookings came from the same customers in the same city for the next night. Read more

Tours and Activities Companies Struggle to Bring Suppliers Online
Mobile is an increasingly important channel for travelers to find and book tours and activities. Yet for well-known companies like Viator working in the tours and activities space, getting the suppliers that run tours to list and sell their tour packages digitally has been an ongoing challenge. “They were taking our electronic communication, printing it out, walking to the other side of the room and handing it over to somebody else to enter into their system,” said Viator CEO Barrie Seidenberg in a recent interview. “That just doesn’t work when you are talking about thousands of bookings everyday.” Read more

Marriott’s Starwood Acquisition Creates an Advertising Giant
One interesting side-effect of last week’s $12.2 billion dollar purchase of Starwood hotels by Marriott is the increased advertising spend of the combined brands. According to recent analysis by Kantar Media, which examines traditional ad formats and digital display, Marriott spent $96 million in on measured media in 2014, while Starwood spent $55 million. With over 30 combined hotel brands under the new merged company, expect some impending shake-ups in terms of agency rosters, campaigns and ad spending. Read more

Virgin America Uses Bus Shelters and Google Street View for New Cabin Tours
A number of travel brands in recent years have taken to Google’s “Street View” feature to help promote new flight cabins and highlight unusual tourism attractions. This week’s latest example of the trend is Virgin America, which is debuting a new ad campaign showcasing its A320 cabin layouts online and also via interactive bus shelters in six cities across the U.S., including San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. Read more

Photo Credit: A new forecast predicts travel purchases on mobile devices will make up more than 50% of all digital travel purchases in 2016. Kārlis Dambrāns / Flickr