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Travel Apps: Usage, Awareness and the Generational Divide

November 4, 2015

The mobile phone has revolutionized the way that we connect with each other, the way that we make payments, and the way that we travel. But who’s using what travel apps to meet their business travel needs?

To help gain a broader perspective of how different generations behave before, during, and after business trips; the Global Business Travel Association Foundation (GBTA Foundation) surveyed business travelers on their use of mobile apps for their business travel, researching the usage, awareness, and differences among the different generations.

Related: 5 Corporate Travel Trends to Watch

Common Uses for Travel Apps Among Business Travelers

Across the board, adoption was surprisingly low (less than half of travelers have adopted airline (46%), hotel (45%), travel reservation (34%) or general travel (23%) apps), but among those who did download found use of said apps for the following:

  • Checking flight status (39 percent)
  • Flight check-in (38 percent)
  • Navigation (37 percent)
  • Looking up information (34 percent)
  • Booking hotels (33 percent)

This parallels estimates by Phocuswright, which found that many users searching and buying looked to the mobile web for their travel search. An example of this was TripAdvisor, which according to Phocuswright saw 62% of mobile visitors coming from mobile web.

Related: Take A Tour of Today’s Most Popular Travel Apps

Is There a Generational Adoption Gap between Millennial Travelers and their Older Counterparts?

One of the more surprising trends is just how similar Millennial travelers and Generation X Travelers are in terms of travel app use, according to the study.

Related: Mobile and Millennials: How Travel Brands can Better Accommodate

Among the four main categories of applications (hotel, travel reservation, general travel and review), Millennials (18-34) and Generation X (34-55) have adopted at nearly equal pace, with Boomers (55+) downloading at a much slower pace:

  • Hotel (Marriott, IHG, Hilton etc.)
    • Millennials: 48%
    • Generation X: 49%
    • Boomer: 33%
  • Travel Reservation (Expedia, Orbitz, etc.)
    • Millennial: 41%
    • Generation X: 35%
    • Boomer: 22%
  • General Travel (Itinerary, Destination)
    • Millennial: 27%
    • Generation X: 25%
    • Boomer: 13%
  • Review Apps
    • Millennial: 30%
    • Generation X: 27%
    • Boomer: 16%

The only major difference is the adoption of transport apps like Uber, Lyft, or Taxi Hailing apps, in which Millennials adopted at a higher rate (35%) than Boomer and Generation X counterparts, who adopted at 18% and 25%, respectively.

The full GBTA Foundation study, in partnership with Carlson Wagonlit, will be presented at a webcast on October 20, 2015. Learn more about the study from the following resource:

Learn More: Common Habits of the North American Business Traveler [Infographic]

This study aligns with data shared in our latest infographic, which highlighted other trends surrounding business travel in North America.

For even more, see the following resources:

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