Mobile-ready, but desktop still dominates accommodation bookings made by youth

Nov 23, 2018

A decade ago, travel agent offices that students could walk into accounted for about 70% of youth travel bookings. Fast forward to 2017 and the global study of youth and student travel, New Horizons IV, indicates that online now accounts for about 80% of youth travel bookings. Is it now just a matter of being mobile-ready? Well, yes, but the shift is still in progress and it seems the desktop computer still reigns supreme.

When it comes to travel accommodation, New Horizons IV revealed significant growth in bookings made via mobile device, up from just 6% in 2012 to 20% in 2017. However, the majority of travel accommodation booked by youth was booked via a computer (61%). Furthermore, the computer was the top booking medium for all types of accommodation.

The overall growth in online bookings for youth travel accommodation was at the expense of visits to travel agent offices, down from 15% in 2012 to 10% in 2017. Social media bookings remained at the same level as reported in 2012, about 2%.

Youth utilised online travel agents (OTAs) and third-party websites for 46% of travel accommodation bookings in 2017, which is up from 31% in 2012. Direct bookings declined in 2017 to 33%, having accounted for 38% of youth travel accommodation bookings in 2012.

Hostels took a higher percentage of direct bookings from youth travellers than did hotels. It is also interesting to note considerable percentage of bookings made for sharing economy type accommodation that were considered to have been made ‘direct with supplier’. Hotels, on the other hand, were the type of accommodation youth travellers most often booked via OTAs or a travel agent office.

You’ll be able to learn more about the latest youth travel accommodation trends in the forthcoming WYSE Travel Confederation report New Horizons IV: Youth Travel Accommodation Usage and at the STAY WYSE Hostel Business Conference in Amsterdam 31 January – 1 February 2019.