Consumers are not about to start booking holidays by mobile phone, but travel firms may be under-using mobiles to promote products and communicate with clients.

Adam Winterflood, managing director of mobile travel-guide company Travelbuddy, told an ABTA Travel Convention seminar in Barcelona: “People will not book holidays on a mobile at the moment, although some might book a flight. But mobiles can extend travel companies’ communication.”

Winterflood said current mobile technology was inadequate for researching and booking travel by phone. “I would not search for a holiday on a mobile,” he said. “You want to research and see pictures.”

But he argued the industry was missing out on mobile use in other ways, pointing out about two-and-a-half times as many people in the world send texts as email – with 3.3 billion using mobiles compared with 1.4 billion online and 200 million on social networks.

Winterflood said surveys suggest 85% of users take their mobile abroad when travelling.

Matthew Thurlby, corporate account manager of data management company GB Group, told the same seminar that companies were failing to use the behavioural data – as opposed to personal data – on consumers.

He said: “Behavioural data is the most important we have in business and not enough businesses are using it.”

Ian Dowds, UK vice-president of online advertising agency Specific Media, agreed. “We do not need age and gender data,” he said. “We only need to know what people are after online.”