Why it’s time to get serious about mobile to connect, collaborate and enhance the travel journey
By Lisa Israelovitch, CEO and Co-founder, Umapped
Mobile has weaved itself into almost everything we do, so it makes sense that everyone is using mobile while traveling. Technology is changing more quickly than in perhaps any other time in history, and those travel brands and professionals that fail to innovate and adapt risk losing out to the competition, decreased profits or even worse, extinction. Just look at the likes of huge brands like Blockbuster, Polaroid, Xerox, MySpace – the list goes on. All steamrollered by technology innovations in the marketplace and changing consumer expectations.
Recent studies show that the travel industry boasts over 50% growth year-over-year in mobile, yet many travel suppliers and advisors still view mobile as merely an extension of online experiences. However, the real value of mobile lies in the idea that it extends, enhances and transforms the entire travel experience. This means that mobile engagement has moved from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘have to have’ as more and more travelers increasingly turn to their mobile devices to stay connected and simplify all aspects of their daily lives. So much so that 60% of travelers globally say they would be unwilling to go on vacation without a mobile device. Travelers now consider it to be the single most indispensable item they carry with them when they travel, ahead of their toothbrush, deodorant, and driver’s license. In fact, the same study revealed that 72% of Millennials and 64% of all business travelers use mobile devices to check travel itineraries one or more times a day during trips. Google, who is recognized as always on the forefront of the next big thing, has announced the launch of a new smart travel app, Trips, that makes it easier to plan trips and search for information when on the go. When asked about their latest venture in the travel space, a company spokesperson was quoted as saying that, “We love to travel and are hard at work dreaming up new ways to make the travel experience hassle-free.”
In the highly competitive travel marketplace, it is crucial to be unique and offer differentiative products or services. Consumers today are texting, talking, communicating, buying, searching, watching videos, and taking photographs all on their mobile devices. It’s clear that technology waits for no man or company and ignoring the potential of mobile is a surefire way to lose out to eager competitors who are itching for an opportunity to shine. One of the best strategies to stand out and attract more customers is to provide increased value, build relationships and share expertise in real-time. According to Phocuswright, travelers’ use of mobile messaging has risen dramatically, and the impact on travel – from shop and book to experience and share – will only grow. Nearly 50% of U.S. travelers used text messaging, and more than three in 10 used chat apps to share their travel experiences in 2015, while 55% of consumers say they would like to receive real-time notifications and text message alerts. This confirms that the market opportunity for collaboration and engagement solutions between travel companies and travelers is enormous, but still largely untapped. Being the first one to offer new and more useful products on the market is an advantage that can be profitable.
In 2017, Travel professionals need to focus on ways to offer streamlined and personalized travel experiences, leveraging mobile technology to generate incremental revenue and engage with their customers, creating continuous connections and relationships. From inspiration and organization to collaboration and ultimately transacting, smartphones and tablets are now the preferred touchpoints for consumers. For travel companies, the implications of this shift are clear: mobile should be at the heart of every interaction to connect with travelers and enhance the customer experience across the entire travel journey. Businesses that are in alignment with changing traveler habits are creating profitable, recognizable brands.
The stats on mobile usage in travel are revealing, and it’s clear that mobile is here to stay. Umapped has released an infographic titled “Small Screens, Big Opportunities for Travel Brands in 2017” with some compelling facts to help travel companies of all sizes understand why they need to meet the demands of today’s tech-savvy travelers to stay competitive and stay in business.
Download the free infographic at https://goo.gl/l7OVpy.