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Technology Pulse: A roundup of digital news
September 5 2013

This month's roundup of news from the technology sector includes mobile research data from several large studies and news from both TripAdvisor and Choice Hotels International.

By The HNN editorial staff

 

Hotel News Now’s Technology Impact Report each month features a news roundup from the hotel technology sector. Subscribe to the free monthly report here
 
Microsoft mobile data
There are four multi-screen pathways for consumers, according to a January 2013 “Microsoft advertising study,” which highlighted several key trends in online shopping.
 
“Content grazing” occurs when consumers use two or more screens simultaneously to access unrelated content. An example is watching a show on TV while at the same time checking email on a desktop and texting a friend on a mobile phone.
 
“Investigative spider-webbing” is a simultaneous path where consumers embark on a content-driven investigation across devices at the same time, either to gather more information or for pure exploration. 
 
An example would consist of watching a movie on TV and looking up on a tablet or PC what other movies the actors have been in.
 
“Quantum journey” means each screen separately and additively takes consumers closer to achieving their goals. For example, a consumer snaps a picture of a pair of shoes on his or her mobile that he or she sees for sale while shopping, and then looks up reviews about the shoes on a desktop at home before purchasing.
 
And “social spider-webbing” means consumers are extroverted and focused on sharing content and connecting with others across devices. For example, a traveler finds a hotel deal on HotelTonight and then uses social channels, such as Twitter, to inform his or her friends.
 
New class of travelers
A new group of travelers who carry at least two devices—a smartphone and a tablet—are being dubbed the “Digital Elite,” according to an MMGY Global/Harrison Group 2013 “Portrait of digital travelers” survey.
 
The “Digital Elite” own and use at least two digital devices (a smartphone and tablet) to plan and purchase travel services. The segment has grown from 5% of all active travelers in 2011 to 33% today, an increase of more than 600%.
 
Smartphone usage among active travelers has risen from 23% in 2011 to 62% in 2013, and tablet adoption is up from 7% of travelers using tablets to access the Internet in 2011 to 43% this year, an increase of 600%.
 
The survey also found that half of the “Digital Elite” have children in their household (50%), compared with just 37% of less-connected travelers, and, while on vacation, the “Digital Elite” are considerably more likely to try to relax while staying in touch with the office (40% vs. 30%).
 
OTA tablet presence
Online travel agencies are beginning to invest more heavily in tablets to keep up with research-focused consumers, according to Mobile Commerce Daily. 
 
Priceline, aimed at travelers who have pulled off the road, uses its app to let consumers segment off an area for hotels by using their finger to draw a circle on an interactive map.
 
Hotwire debuted an iPad app in June and cited tablet bookings as beginning to overtake smartphone bookings. Hotwire claims 75% of its smartphone bookings are made for the day of arrival. 
 
HotelTonight uses full-screen, high-resolution photography and decided to stick with its three-tap and eight-second booking within the iPad app, which is what the brand is known for on its smartphone properties.
 
TripAdvisor revenues jump
TripAdvisor’s revenue for the second quarter of 2013 increased to $246.9 million, up 7% quarter over quarter and up 25% year over year.
 
More than one billion travelers visited TripAdvisor’s website during the first half of the year, the company reported in its second quarter earnings release.  
 
“There was a lot for TripAdvisor fans to be excited about during the second quarter,” said Steve Kaufer, president and CEO of TripAdvisor. “Our strong financial performance was driven by continued traffic growth. We also kicked off our first-ever offline ad campaign to enhance brand awareness.” 
 
TripAdvisor’s revenue from click-based advertising totaled $182.8 million for the second quarter of 2013, an increase of 21% compared to the second quarter of 2012. Revenue from display-based advertising totaled $31.4 million for the second quarter of 2013, an increase of 18% compared to the second quarter of 2012. 
 
Choice launches RapidBook
Choice Hotels International launched RapidBook, enabling travelers to make reservations quickly and easily using a mobile device.
 
"Our guests are constantly changing the way they shop for and book travel," said Robert McDowell, senior VP of global distribution for Choice. 
 
"Today, mobile is the fastest growing way to make hotel reservations," McDowell continued. "But mobile booking must be fast and convenient for busy travelers on the go. RapidBook takes the frustration out of the mobile reservation process by eliminating the need to fill in information and credit card numbers on a tiny phone screen. Users simply enter their information one time when completing their online profile.”
 
RapidBook recalls guests’ preferences, provides similar rooms for future searches and also recalls payment information. Customers spend less time looking for rooms and entering data on their smartphones and can complete their reservations in a fraction of the time it previously took.
 
Compiled by Jason Q. Freed.
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