Travel App Users Are Among the Most Loyal in Mobile

Criteo found that approximately one-third of all travel bookings are now made on mobile devices, while Travelport Digital found that 80% of travelers use a smartphone app to research a trip in 2018. Our data shows that travel and lifestyle apps saw their lowest ever customer churn rates this year. With travel apps in such high demand, it’s no wonder they’re seeing great progress in the mobile space.

We took stock of our benchmark mobile data for the first half of 2018 to understand how engaged users were with these apps, uncovering insights that point to positive change as well as a few potential obstacles. In particular, travel app usage has decreased since the first half of 2017, but remained steady since the second. Marketing stats around campaign performance are mostly positive, however opt-in rates have been decreasing. On the upside, users have never been more loyal to their travel apps.

Churn loses steam while retention surges ahead

Retention measures the percent of users who return to an app one month, two months, and three months after the app is downloaded. Churn is the opposite; it measures the percentage of people who do not return to an app one month, two months, and three months after download.

Retention and churn are arguably the most important metrics for marketers to keep in mind when evaluating the health of their apps. If you feel that your retention rate needs work, check out some of the strategies we’ve uncovered as most critical to improving your numbers.

Travel app retention has been increasing steadily since our H1 2016 benchmark report, when apps retained 35% of users after one month of use. Now 47% of users return to their travel apps and 53% churn one month after their first session, which is a testament to the progress that travel and lifestyle app marketers have made.

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While ambitious, it would be ideal if both metrics converged at 50% and ultimately switched positions so that retention climbed higher than churn. Marketers can reach this goal using some of our app marketing best practices.

Android and iOS push conversions have more than doubled since 1H 2017

The percent of users who convert on Android has risen from 0.39% to 0.94%, a 141% increase YoY. The same number for iOS has risen from 0.2% to 0.46%, a 130% increase. Similarly, in-app conversion rates for both platforms have increased by 65% each, signaling that travel app marketers have adopted improved strategies for both channels. Push engagement has also increased for both platforms.

On the other hand, opt-in rates continue to fall, indicating that users are still not quite on board with the way marketers are crafting pushes. Push opt-in has now reached 60% for Android and 36% for iOS, on average 48%. 

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Marketers still have 52% of app users to convert to push opt-in. That’s a whole lot of users who may or may not be interested. If you never ask, you’ll never know, so try using some of our recommended opt-in strategies to gently nudge users forward.

App usage metrics remain fairly steady since H2 2017, but have decreased since H1

Monthly time in app, or the amount of time the average user spent in an app over the course of a month, has not changed since the second half of 2017, but has decreased noticeably since the first. This is largely due to diminishing app launches, which have dropped by 13%.

Retention’s speedy rise may make up for lower usage but it’s possible that the more loyal users are, the less time they will spend in apps due to familiarity. It’s tough to maintain both a loyal and frequent user base, but entirely possible. The key lies in actively personalizing your messages using segments and dynamic content to appeal to the end-user. We find that dynamic, segmented messages receive nearly three times the open rate and two times the conversion rate that blast messages to an entire user base do.

In closing, the news is mostly good for travel and lifestyle apps, but there are certainly areas that could be improved. Retention and messaging metrics may have skyrocketed, however users are spending a little less time in apps. As always, marketers should focus on encouraging push opt-in and creating engaging in-app messages to keep communication with the end-user open and increasing app activity.

Our data shows that travel and lifestyle app marketers who craft effective campaigns see significant increases in app performance. We analyzed the lift in retention and engagement (or sessions per user) one, three, and seven days following receipt of a push.

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Marketers who sent pushes with Localytics saw a 46% lift in retention and a 34% lift in sessions per user after one day compared to users they did not send pushes to. Seven days later, that number hovered around 8 or 9%.


If you’re looking for more cool stats to digest, check out the latest version of our mobile benchmark report below to understand how your apps’ performance compares to the rest of the industry!

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