This post is written by Mike Dudas, Chief Revenue Officer of Button.

It’s well-known in the travel industry that the consumer journey from initial research to booking is often a lengthy one. Consumers take time to compare destinations, evaluate flight and hotel pricing, and consider fellow traveler recommendations, all well before making a final purchase decision.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, smartphones are increasingly playing a key role for travelers on this path to purchase. A study from Google found that an individual’s consumer journey to plan a vacation over two months consisted of 400 different digital moments—87% of which took place on mobile. What may be surprising, however, is that nearly half of travelers who made their final booking decision on mobile moved to another device to complete the booking.

Over 100 Taps, One Destination

One of the most obvious reasons why consumers are putting down their smartphones and picking up their desktops to make their final bookings is because the mobile journey is often a long, arduous one—even when the consumer is at a point where she is primed to purchase.

We counted the absolute number of taps it takes a customer to go from a metasearch query to final booking. We found, on average, that a consumer journey consists of over 100 taps: an airline booking from metasearch to OTA was a journey of 151 taps. To add to the pain, prices even jumped hundreds of dollars when moving from metasearch to OTA. Meanwhile, the average for metasearch to OTA for hotels was a journey of 102 taps.

After all of this, it makes sense that a consumer would abandon their smartphone to complete a booking on desktop, where nimble fingers to a keyboard could do the job faster.

Shorter Path = Higher Conversions, Happier Travelers

So how can you create a shorter path to purchase when people are primed and ready on mobile? The research points to native apps. Criteo found that apps generated 57% of mobile bookings in Q1 2016. Apps are surging as the focal point for consumers to transact on mobile, given the advantages they provide over the mobile web. A Facebook-commissioned study found that shoppers preferred to transact in apps because they provide a more secure and smoother checkout experience, can hold payment credentials, and are easier to navigate, with easier to read product details. Simply put, a better user experience translates to increased sales.

But the solution of native apps is often easier said than done. Getting people into your app in the first place can be difficult and expensive, with just a few apps dominating time spent and the average cost per install continuing to rise.

Furthermore, context is king in the mobile app economy, even more so than desktop. Search is far more fragmented and verticalized on mobile than on desktop, where the path to purchase often starts with Google. On mobile, a restaurant search starts on Yelp or OpenTable, a hotel or flight search on Kayak or Skyscanner, and a destination search on TripAdvisor.

At Button, we’ve created a technology that enables consumers to find you in these contextually relevant places, and book in-app with just a few taps. For example, a consumer reading a travel article about Cinque de Terre, Italy that shows a Hotels.com Button or link can be easily connected to bookings in the Hotels.com app.

The success of our partners shows that being found in context works: they see, on average, a 44% install rate and 22% conversion rate when a consumer is sent to complete a purchase in their apps. And it’s why publishers like Condé Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure, as well as booking providers like Hotels.com and GoEuro have partnered with us to connect travel inspiration to purchase.

Learn how to power a shorter, higher converting path to purchase on mobile:
Click Here!

This post is written by Mike Dudas, Chief Revenue Officer of Button.

This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor Button.