Travel

Booking.com says mobile app is key to US growth: Travel Weekly

As Booking.com continues to expand into the US market, the company is adopting a mobile-centric marketing approach capitalizing on the growing number of hours Americans spend on their phones.

“The app is an important platform as it gives us more ways to interact directly with travelers,” said Glenn Vogel, CEO of parent company Booking Holdings, during the announcement of the Q1 OTA results. “And, ultimately, we see it as the center of our connected journey.”

The company’s US reopening began in February with a Super Bowl ad featuring actor Idris Elba.

“Booking.com is by far the largest online travel agency globally, but we are clearly a contender in the US,” Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Arjan Dijk said in an interview. “And my mission is to make sure that we are not contenders, but No. 1.”

Dijk claims that Booking.com is the market leader in many regions of the world due to its product selection, pricing and ease of use. According to him, these are three principles that are important for any player in the field of e-commerce.

“The key thing in the US is actually that we think that as a brand we can add more value,” he said, referring to the offering he offers both inside and outside the US.

And the Booking.com app will help expand OTA reach for consumers as mobile phone usage continues to rise. While studies vary, some estimates suggest that Americans spend up to six hours a day on their cell phones.

In fact, according to Booking.com, in the first quarter of this year, 40% of total bookings were made through the app, and 60% of total room nights were made through mobile bookings, mostly through the app, which currently has over 100 million monthly active users.

Dijk expects those numbers to rise, with mobile orders eventually eclipsing desktop orders (he pointed to Meta, which doesn’t even report desktop Facebook usage anymore).

“People have three, four, up to seven travel apps on their phone,” Dijk said. “So that means if you want consumers to see you, you have to be part of one of those seven.”

So Booking.com is taking a mobile-first marketing approach, he said. For example, OTA commercials often contain links to a mobile app.

“We clearly see momentum in the US market,” Dijk said. “We are seeing very strong growth. And you know how it works with TV advertising – we don’t necessarily expect it to lead to bookings immediately, we use different channels for this, but it’s much more about raising our awareness. “

“Context Experience”

While Booking.com continues to support desktop bookings, Dijk believes the value proposition for using the mobile app will increase in the future. For example, OTA hopes to offer a more “contextual experience” soon. For example, if a traveler is staying at a hotel in Amsterdam and it’s raining, perhaps the app will put forward a museum suggestion…

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