COVID-19 fallout: Study says people aren’t downloading flight and hotel apps


As the coronavirus continues to spread, upending the tech industry and causing tremors in the business sector, consumers and companies alike are wary of flying and booking hotel stays. 

New data collected by the advertising company AppsFlyer revealed that travel app bookings have steadily slid since news about the respiratory illness hit the air.

While the virus is having the greatest impact on tourism in China, where hundreds have died and thousands of others are sickened, the travel fallout is global. Popular hotel and flight apps are sinking in popularity and taking a revenue hit, the information provided to USA TODAY suggests.

“We’re seeing a 13% decrease in bookings of flights and hotels and a 21% decrease in in-app revenue worldwide,” said Shani Rosenfelder, head of mobile insights at AppsFlyer, in a statement. 

The San Francisco-based data firm analyzed information from 115 leading travel apps and 40 million mobile app downloads from New Year’s Day to Feb. 9. 

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The Asia Pacific region, which generally includes China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, was affected the most by the slowdown in flights, with a 22% drop

in bookings and a 27% drop in travel app revenue from Jan. 21 to Feb. 9, AppsFlyer found. 

The impact of coronavirus in the U.S. was notably less severe. North America saw a 7% drop in bookings and a 10% revenue fall. 

“We believe this is because most travel in this market is domestic, where

coronavirus is seen as less of a threat,” Brian Quinn, president at AppsFlyer, said in a statement.  

Another sign that people are holding off on vacation plans is that travel app downloads slid in late January through early February. Travelers often download several apps when a trip is in its planning stages and delete the app later, Quinn notes.


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