Approximately 25% of all travel-related bookings are made online in Asia compared with half in the United States, said Bambos Kaisharis, Google’s industry head of travel for Southeast Asia. “Mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches in many parts of Asia, especially in Korea, Japan and Indonesia,” he said. Expectations are high for further mobile use because smartphone models using the Android operating system and priced well below $300 are entering even the least developed Southeast Asian markets, speakers said. For instance, German research company GfK recently reported sales of smartphones in Thailand grew from one in every five mobile phones less than two years ago to more than two in five during the past 12 months. Nearly 2.9 million smartphones were sold during the first four months of the year. Travelers in Asia also are using their smartphones for planning and check-in with greater frequency, said Tomas Laboutka, CEO of last-minute booking app HotelQuickly, during a presentation titled “Last-minute booking models.” “Forty-eight percent of travel planning in the Asia/Pacific is via mobile,” he said, while “65% (of guests) are already checking-in within 24 hours of booking.” Get the full story at HotelNewsNow