How Mobile is Reshaping the Travel & Tourism Industry
The travel industry has seen a massive transformation owing to the widespread penetration of the internet. Looking towards 2020 and beyond, the travel industry experts exchange avowal of the fact that the world of tourism is contracting.
Living amidst an out-and-out explosion of mobile technology innovation, to the point where online use from mobile devices is expected to outstrip desktop usage, it doesn’t come as a shock to know that 85 percent of travelers worldwide are smartphone users of which 32 percent use the device to book the travel. The probable justification of this explosion in the mobile trend can be credited largely to the easy-to-access technology choice that the mobile trends offer.
Mobile wallets and mobile payments are a fairly new phenomenon which travelers are slowly but steadily delving into. Experts feel that they will be responsible for a 360 degree change in the buying habits and customer expectations in the times to come. Interestingly, a Sabre survey showed that over half of travelers said they would prefer to check into hotels using a mobile app. A similar Deloitte study found about 13 percent of hotel guests already use mobile payments for their hotel bills.
Mobile Trend Proliferation – Making it a Hyper Connected World
The choice of the youth
Mobile technology is fulcrum to millennials’ life. They are highly adept at using the new apps, are prolific users of varied social media platforms, and form a key cohort of the new-age travelers. The age group, hitting their mid-30s by 2020 will form panoply of the new age travel business world.
Consumer is king
Thanks to a platter-full of choices, the consumers are more aware than they ever were. Gone are the days when companies held the reins in the purchasing process. Consumers now dominate where and what to buy. Word-of-mouth marketing has never created so much razzmatazz as it’s doing now – much of which owes its impact to the influential online social networks.
Coming of age of the social media
There is no denying the social media phenomenon that is growing ever-so-fast and will continue to have a massive impact on our world. With the hope that the social media will mature over the coming decades, it would probably mirror the social relationships offline as well and the travel industry will be no exception.
Emergence of 4G technology
Technology giants predicted back in 2012 that there would be mainstream adoption of 4G technology by 2016 leading to endless new users of the mobiles. Rightly called the catalyst of the mobile technology revolution, the adoption of this new age mobile innovation has much to contribute in terms of the rising trends on the mobile industry in the travel sector.
2017 is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, and what a change it brought to the mobile world!
These statistics from a recent Travelport report might make the picture clearer:
Airlines on mobile
• 36% of the airlines currently feel they are not investing enough in mobile
• 35% of the airlines believe having a mobile strategy is very important for successful business
• 95% of airlines intend to invest more in mobile in 2017
TMCs on mobile
• 78% of the TMCs believe having mobile strategy is very important for successful business
• 33% of TMCs currently feel they are not investing enough in mobile
• 100% of TMCs surveyed intend to invest more on mobile in 2017
Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices have not only transformed the travel research and booking arenas but also brought about a fundamental shift in how travel companies view these gizmos as tools for improved interaction with customers. It is a little surprising that more travelers today spend a large chunk of their time living in the virtual environment. ComScore reported in one of its latest studies that 88 percent of activity on smartphones and tablets originates from apps. Today’s e-commerce, including travel, is therefore strongly dependent on user-friendly responsive sites and mobile apps.
How Mobile Trends are creating a lasting dialogue with travelers
Travel companies focus on targeting customers with customized services and discounts, special promotional offers and other perks all on their mobile devices. Thanks to mobiles, travel brands have access to much more user data than ever before, allowing them to tailor their content based on user behavior. Travel brands have started experimenting with Chatbots that use machine learning to provide automated personalized support and services to travelers on the go. Customized services should have integrated services for both the business and leisure elements for the travelers. This provides a leg-up on the competition along with informative insights about the priorities of the users.
A real challenge for travel companies is to have their customers speak about the trip even after the bags are unpacked! Mobile apps facilitate the travelers to keep on rolling the conversation before, after and during the trip. This sparks increased interest amongst the tourists to explore newer destinations. Also, chat apps give customers the opportunity to stay connected with travel providers across the travel life cycle. They also allow travel agencies to announce new services and offers with customers instantly and get real-time feedback. Mobile apps today are the unseen yet direct channels which foster customer relations and as well as potentially expand the customer-base.
The growing mobile trends are one of the best ways to contribute to sustainable tourism. Going paperless for the vouchers, tickets, confirmations and other necessary formal documents is a wonderful way to utilize the mobile apps for. These not only does assure the complete details in one place but is also shelved for any further or future reference.
Getting to know your customers
Depending on what mobile apps the travelers gravitate toward can give a clear picture of the customers’ interests and expectations. Some travel companies are thus using mobile apps for establishing a gainful insight of the customer’s habit.
Maintaining the conversation with the consumers after the travel experience gives them a sense of satisfaction and is best done through mobile. It is wiser to increase the ‘white noise’ which wheedles the travel company’s engagement efforts.
The time is not far when digital currency will replace cash in the coming years. Consumers around the globe are becoming increasingly comfortable using their credit cards online, and smarter cyber security systems such as 3D secure and OTP (one-time-passwords) have significantly reduced online fraud. Mobile wallets are replacing physical wallets and provide travelers a convenient option to make payments.
Services like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, though available only in select countries right now, are a great step towards this, integrating payments in the OS itself allowing customers to transfer money even through text messages. In emerging economies like India and China, mobile wallets are growing at a rapid pace, and are now the preferred mode of payment online for a lot of people. Paytm, Wechat and Ali Pay have emerged as strong players in this space and have revolutionized e-commerce in these economies.
Top travel providers, realizing this trend are also incentivizing customers to use digital payments by providing discounts and cashback when paying through e-wallets/cards.
Mobile payments are also another step towards gathering the traveler data for businesses, which is termed as the ‘digital breadcrumbs’ by Amadeus. The record of “who, when and where” will augment the process of customer profiling and communication. The next decade will see the rise of ‘knowledge economy’ where the customers will be archiving more and more information and the travel businesses will be required to exploit these ‘digital breadcrumbs’ to maintain their competitive edge.
Living on the cusp of the transition where the global travel and tourism industry is all set to ripe for massive change, it is little wonder that the travel-scape, a decade from now will be highly personal and digital. The ‘Smartphone’ has become and will remain in near future the ubiquitous travel companion, allowing the tourists access to all their travel related information literally at their fingertips. On a practical ground, the growing mobile trends will help tourists to quickly find their feet in new surroundings, for instance, the intelligent translation services.
There’s no question that mobile is not just a fad – it’s the future of travel. The bad news is that firms that don’t incorporate mobile into their digital strategy will go out of business. The good news is that mobile usage is on the rise and it’s still not too late to invest in mobile technologies. We at TravelCarma provide a powerful Travel ERP Platform available in the form of mobile responsive websites as well as mobile apps. Contact us today to find out how our solutions can help you capture the demand for mobile bookings today.