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Priceline.com credits mobile for driving last-minute getaways among millennials

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February 9, 2015

Millennials are increasingly buying last-minute trips via mobile

Millennials are increasingly buying last-minute trips via mobile

Priceline.com believes that the growing volume of last-minute getaways booked via its services can be attributed to millennials’ browsing tendencies on their smartphones, as well as enhanced booking functions in apps that drive impulse purchases of vacations.

A recent survey by Wakefield Research, commissioned by Priceline.com, discovered 49 percent of Americans that did not take a last-minute trip in 2014 regretted not doing so, while 73 percent of millennials claim they are likely to purchase a spur-of-the-moment vacation in the upcoming year. According to the results, 58 percent of respondents believe a 2015 last-minute vacation is on the horizon, proving that this year is an optimal time for booking apps to compete against each other for the upper hand in the crowded mobile travel space.

“In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in our customers’ comfort levels with reserving last-minute vacations,” said Fabiola Carcamo, mobile product director at Priceline.com, New York. “In 2014, 80 percent of reservations made on a mobile were same-day reservations and 25 percent of those are within 5 miles of the hotel.

“This has helped fuel Priceline.com’s efforts to offer a more diverse array of last-minute reservation tools across all devices – Deals Near Me, Tonight Only Mobile Deals and Express Deals – in addition to adding 2,000 new mobile exclusives hotel deals. More specifically, our Express Deals, which allow consumers to select the neighborhood, star level and amenities before reserving a room, grew 10 times since its late 2013 launch,” she said.

“We’ve also seen mobile hotel reservations surge on holidays like Thanksgiving weekend where travelers are taking short trips or choosing to stay an extra night during their travel.”

Favorite times to travel
The study revealed that booking apps and travel brands should be focusing heavily on advertising trips around major late-winter and early-spring holidays, with 42 percent of Americans saying they would like to travel over the long weekend coinciding with Valentine’s Day, while 32 percent are aiming to get away during Easter.

Meanwhile, 11 percent are searching for a getaway during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Only six percent were planning to travel over the long weekend falling on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, suggesting that consumers are burnt out on travel after the holidays in December.

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Tablets are a go-to device for browsing and booking vacations

Marketing for specific occasions is also a sound strategy, as the survey found many triggers that spurred customers to purchase a last-minute trip. Fifty-five percent of Americans admitted they would be most likely to buy an impulse vacation for a romantic trip, while 42 percent would spring for a getaway centered on a special occasion such as a birthday.

Girls’ and guys’ getaway weekends were also popular choices, as were last-minute trips for weddings and sporting events.

The right marketing tactics
As the booking app space becomes more crowded, brands will be forced to evolve to keep up with consumers’ needs (see story).

While integrating with technologies such as Apple Pay and Touch ID will enable the checkout process to become more streamlined, engaging in seasonal marketing tactics, such as flash sales or themed getaways, will likely elicit a positive response.

The sheer convenience level of last-minute booking sites and mobile apps is poised to make the travel sector even more competitive this year, which will optimize consumers’ extensive options and also fuel brands to be as mobile-friendly as possible.

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Offering themed getaways or seasonal trips could offer travel brands an edge among millennials

“Priceline.com is a mobile-first company committed to the highest levels of product development and innovation,” Ms. Carcamo said. “As such, we ensure products are fast, integrated with the latest technology (like Apple Pay) to allow consumers to find hotels, rental cars and flights anywhere, any time.

“Travelers should be on the lookout for new mobile features this year that will make it easier and faster to access last minute travel deals and manage their itineraries while traveling.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Alex Samuely is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at alex@mobilemarketer.com.

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