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25pc of US Hispanics book travel via mobile: survey


One quarter of United States Hispanics have booked travel reservations on mobile in the past year, according to a Best Western survey.

Sixty-two percent of U.S. Hispanics use their mobile phone to research their travel options, and 28 percent rely on the phone to find attractions near their hotel, the survey showed. The findings, announced at the 30th annual National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in San Antonio, TX, underscore the importance of brands catering to mobile-savvy Hispanics’ needs and habits.

“Yankee Group data does validate these findings that some ethnicities do have a higher usage – anywhere from a five to 10 percent differential – of on-the-go technologies such as using phones while shopping, desires for mobile rewards and a strong demand for self-service,” said Sheryl Kingstone, research director of Boston-based Yankee Group.

“However, it’s important to not look at traditional demographics, but user behavior. Our research shows there is a significant difference between Advanced Users vs. an average user,” she said. “More advanced users will be 30 to 40 points higher in mobile usage than the average user today.”

A representative for Best Western, Phoenix, AZ, did not respond to media inquiries by press time.

The survey is the latest to verify Hispanics’ acute understanding of mobile, in this case underscoring the group’s comfort level with researching and booking travel through devices such as mobile phones and tablets.

Eight out of 10 complete their travel bookings online, according to the survey. It also showed that 85 percent of Latino travelers typically travel primarily for leisure – either for vacation or to visit friends and family.

Family-affair travel as a family affair is increasingly common with Hispanics, according to the survey. In the past year, seventy percent have traveled with a family member from a younger generation, and 60 percent have traveled with a family member from an older generation, the survey found.

Of those who primarily travel for business, more than half, or 52 percent, are somewhat to very likely to bring family members along with them on a business trip.

The survey also found that nearly 60 percent are somewhat to very likely to extend a business trip by one or more days to add leisure time to the trip.

Forty-nine percent, who indicated the primary reason for the majority of their travel was business, stayed in hotels five or more times in the past year, compared with 18 percent who indicated the primary reason for most of their travel was vacation.

When traveling for both business and leisure, access to free Wi-Fi is most important, followed by complimentary breakfast and happy hour specials, the survey showed.

Cutting edge
The survey’s implications for marketing to ethic groups in general are clear, Yankee Group’s Ms. Kingstone said.

“Travel and transportation, quick-server restaurants and retailers must act quickly to give their customers the critical information they want while on the go,” she said. “It’s not just Hispanics, but all ethnicities are relying more heavily on their mobile phones.”

“Companies like Intercontinental hotels group and Hilton are staying on the cutting edge by creating applications that meet users’ on-demand needs across their mobile journey – from finding and booking hotels with integrated reward info to onsite check-in and checkout using apps or SMS,” Ms. Kingstone said.

“A few have also begun piloting the use of Wi-Fi and beacons to deliver location-based content and services available at many of their resorts.”

Final Take

Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.