Advances in technology, business models and products are what create and reinvent industries. Anybody involved with the travel business today will tell you that the sheer volume and speed of innovations and trends spawned by mobile are presenting tremendous opportunity as long as companies can translate this incredible dynamism into customer value and increased revenue.
A good mental framework for companies attempting to harness the existing and future potential of mobile is to always remember how any changes will impact the customer experience.
Online marketing no longer requires users to be in front of a PC. Mobile means travelers can receive in-app notifications and email marketing messages wherever they are. It also seems they’re keen to get them; last year, open rates for email marketing messages passed 50 percent for the first time, according to specialist agency Litmus. Not grasping and acting on the shift to mobile marketing is a missed opportunity.
Yes, mobile devices encourage personalized travel offers, but there’s a conundrum. A study by travel data specialist Boxever found that 56 percent of consumers really want to receive offers based on their unique interests, yet 49 percent are hesitant to share their data. One way to improve the value travelers see in personalized offers is to take care to send ones that are genuinely tailored to what they want.
It’s important to remember that many travelers regularly use a smartphone, a tablet and a PC. Travel companies need to ensure that the experience users have is consistent across devices. This means more than just what the traveler sees on the different screens. Internally, it requires companies to share data and responsibilities so there’s no disconnect for consumers.
As the use of smartphones and tablets increases, mobile travel payments should as well. Making this easy and secure will be critical. According to a report from Jumio, more than 25 percent of British consumers decided to abandon an in-process mobile travel purchase because they were worried about security and had troubles inputting travel payment information.
The GPS in smartphones allows companies to serve up relevant and timely offers—which is why there’s plenty of attention being devoted to how to improve the availability and effectiveness of location-specific products. Traveler tracking is also important to businesses that routinely send employees to politically unstable parts of the world.
Clearly, mobile is ushering in many changes and technologies to the travel industry. Incorporating them should be guided by a straightforward philosophy:
“When we look at the shopping experience, it’s all about less is more and finding the minimum number of steps needed for a guest to be comfortable making a booking on their mobile device,” says Sarah Kennedy Ellis, vice president of Sabre Hospitality Solutions.
To learn more about how some of the top travel companies in the industry are pursuing a mobile future that makes the lives of travelers easier while boosting their own revenue, check out the Tnooz-Sabre report, Mobile in Travel: The End-to-End Impact.