MobileBusiness TravelConsumer TrendsTechnology Innovation

Mobile Hits the Mainstream: Leisure and Business Traveler Trends

Published January 2012
Carroll Rheem
Carroll Rheem
Marcello Gasdia
Marcello Gasdia

Director, Consumer Research

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Mobile Hits the Mainstream: Leisure and Business Traveler Trends

With smartphone adoption crossing the 50% mark for leisure travelers and nearing three fourths of business travelers, the mobile Web is teeming with new users and fresh opportunities. Trip planning and research, booking and a range of other travel-related activities are beginning to flourish on the small screen. Mobile has indeed hit the mainstream, and travel companies must understand the impact of the mobile Web on their businesses, and how to leverage this quickly developing platform.

Phocuswright's Mobile Hits the Mainstream: Leisure and Business Traveler Trends delivers an in-depth look at the accelerating impact of the mobile Internet, with a focus on how travelers use the mobile Web for travel-related activities. Drawing on a combination of leisure and business traveler surveys, along with focus group sessions, this report provides an insightful snapshot of travelers' attitudes toward and usage of the mobile Web, and explores the fundamental trends that are shaping this dynamic channel.

Phocuswright's Mobile Hits the Mainstream: Leisure and Business Traveler Trends reveals how travelers are increasingly turning to the mobile Internet to support their travel needs – before, during and after their trips. The report includes:

  • Smartphone adoption rates among leisure and business travelers, including smartphone penetration by age and operating system, and future purchase intentions

  • Key metrics on mobile Internet usage, such as frequency of usage, as well as situations and settings in which travelers access the mobile Internet

  • Analysis of the types of activities that travelers engage in via the mobile Web, along with their attitudes toward functions that involve location-sharing, providing personal information, conducting financial transactions and more

  • Travel-related activities conducted by leisure and business travelers via mobile phone, including research, purchase and post-purchase activities

  • Detailed examination of how leisure and business travelers use smartphones and the mobile Internet to plan and book travel products, including air, hotel, car rental and local activities

  • Use of mobile websites versus applications for travel-related activities, including types of sites and apps, factors that drive usage, frustrations and interest in future mobile Internet capabilities for travel

  • Leisure and business travel spend by smartphone ownership, operating system and mobile booking profile


The mobile platform is not just a PC alternative – it is also stimulating an entirely new realm of functionality and engagement. Phocuswright's Mobile Hits the Mainstream: Leisure and Business Traveler Trends helps companies keep up with this evolving platform and hone their strategies for new frontiers in mobile communication and commerce.

Also available: Mobile Hits the Mainstream: Technology and Industry Trends (an Innovation Edition publication). This report studies the trends shaping mobile travel worldwide, tracking mobile device adoption in key global markets.

Not sure this is the report for you? Contact our experts to find the research that fits your needs. +1 860 350-4084 x501

  • Overview, Methodology and Research Highlights
    • Overview
    • Methodology
    • Research Highlights
      • Mobile has indeed hit the mainstream
      • BlackBerry is losing business … even with business
      • Some platforms get more action than others
      • Advancing on the home front
      • A brave new world of interaction
      • You might have an app for that, but
      • A sweet spot for search
      • Right here, right now
      • The bookings are coming
      • Travelers aren’t loco for location-sharing
  • Smartphone Adoption
    • Quick Stats
  • General Mobile Internet Usage
    • Quick Stats
  • Travel-Related Mobile Internet Usage
    • Quick Stats
  • Mobile Planning and Booking
    • Quick Stats
  • Demographics
  • Sponsors

Phocuswright's Mobile Hits the Mainstream incorporates several consumer research elements, including both quantitative and qualitative components. The quantitative research phase consisted of two separate surveys which were fielded through Global Market Insite, Inc. The leisure travel survey was fielded August 16-22, 2011, targeting the general U.S. population that travels for leisure and plans travel online. The business travel survey was fielded September 2-10, 2011, targeting the general U.S. population that travels for business. As the primary purpose of this study is to understand mobile Internet usage as it relates to travel, a substantial portion of both the leisure and business surveys was targeted specifically to mobile Internet users. Therefore, Section 4: Travel-Related Mobile Internet Usage, summarizes results from just the leisure and business travelers who use the mobile Web.

Respondents who qualified for participation in the leisure component of the study are referred to in this report as "leisure travelers," and were required to:

Have taken at least one leisure trip 75 milesor more from home in the past 12 months that included paid lodging and/or air travel

Have used the Internet to select a destination, compare and choose leisure travel products, book travel, or share travel experiences online in the past 12 months

Have played an active role in planning their leisure trips in the past 12 months

To qualify as a business traveler, respondents were required to:

Have taken at least one business trip in the past 12 months that included a flight and/or paid lodging

In addition, business travelers who were not governed by a company travel policy (unmanaged business travelers) were required to have played an active role in planning their business trips within the past 12 months.

For the leisure and business travel surveys, Phocuswright received 1,948 and 2,053 qualified responses, respectively. The respondent pool can be projected with confidence onto both the U.S. online leisure traveler and business traveler populations. The error interval for analysis is +/-2.3% (leisure travelers) and +/-2.2% (business travelers) at a 95% confidence level.

For the qualitative research phase, six focus group sessions were conducted August 15-19, 2011 in New Jersey, Illinois and California. Two sessions were conducted in each city, one with respondents below the age of 35 and another with respondents 35 and older. At least half of the participants in each session fell into one or more of the following categories:

Frequent travelers who have taken five or more leisure trips within the past 12 months

Business travelers who have taken at least one business trip within the past 12 months

Members of affluent households (combined annual household income of US$150,000 or higher)