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Google expert warns tourism industry of mobile booking 'battleground'

By Claire Cromie

Half of all hotel and holiday bookings will be made on a mobile device by 2017, a Google expert has said.

Stephen Murphy, agency lead at Google, shared insights with business owners and marketers in the tourism industry at the Digital Tourism DNA conference at Titanic Belfast on Thursday.

He said over half of all Google searches are already carried out on a mobile device and urged hoteliers and travel agents to improve their mobile websites if they are to succeed in a "micro-moment world".

These moments are the new battleground for marketers, who need to capture people’s attention in real-time.

"Be there", said Mr Murphy, when consumers are searching for a service or product online. People are no longer brand-committed, so showing up in the first page of Google results is crucial.

"Be quick," he continued, "the mobile experience has to be seamless and frictionless - or I'm gone."

Some startling statistics he shared from Google show that:

  • 29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another app or site if yours is too slow
  • 40% will abandon a site that takes over three seconds to load
  • 1 in 5 dissatisfied visitors will never return to a website where problems have occurred.

Mr Murphy added: "The new bounce rate is when people bounce from you to your competitor."

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