4 years ago

Back to basics – Four essentials for any mobile travel strategy

NB: This is a view point by Carin van Vuuren, chief marketing officer at Usablenet.

Believe it or not, people today are more dependent on our phones than even our wallets – indeed, some research says that 70% of people who used a smartphone believe that losing their mobile phone would be worse than misplacing their wallet.

If indispensable even in familiar surroundings, our phones become that much more critical when travelling in new places.

Indeed, travelers have come to heavily rely on their mobile phones for assistance throughout the entire travel process. From the planning and booking stages, all the way to the last day of the trip, travelers depend on their phones for an array of functionalities: like exploring maps and local activities.

Studies show that 84% of people use their smartphones to view maps and 67% use their device to research local activities, restaurants and shows.

As travelers continue to eagerly integrate mobile into every stage of their journey, travel companies must establish a strong presence on mobile, offering a tailored experience that works to eliminate the stresses and uncertainties associated with travel.

So let’s examine four aspects of mobile that travelers have come to depend on and how travel companies can best incorporate such features into their mobile strategy:

1. Efficiency

Creating an efficient mobile experience is imperative for travel companies. Users are dealing with a smaller screen and, especially in the context of travel, performing tasks that need to be accomplished quickly.

Geo-location functionality and seamless mobile booking features are the building blocks for an efficient mobile experience, but upgraded forms of efficiency include mobile-only rewards and access to mobile loyalty points, giving customers a quick and cost-effective bargain on their booking needs.

Travelodge stands out as a brand focused on providing travelers with the most efficient, cost effective booking experience possible. The company has focused its mobile browser experience on simplicity, with intuitive search-and-book functionality and local promotions.

Further, the site offers Express Book, which gives travelers the opportunity to reserve a hotel room even quicker for select hotels, only requiring name and email to make the reservation.

Travelodge also incorporates PayPal and Quick Book functionalities in mobile payments, to further elevate and speed up the mobile purchasing experience for their valued customers.

2. Flexibility

Approximately 20-30% of managed travel transactions are cancelled, re-booked or changed at the last minute when a traveler is already en route.

Smartphones offer a failsafe against these unexpected occurrences, making sure that travelers can make last minute changes on the fly.

JetBlue Airlines developed a mobile site experience for iPhone that speaks to the specific use case of travelers coordinating flights on mobile.

Their mobile site not only offers the basics, such as mobile booking, but also allows users to check into flights via mobile phone, check their flight status and see up-to-date travel news, alerts and even flight deals.

JetBlue exemplifies a travel company taking its mobile experience to the next level when it comes to offering customers the flexibility they need.

3. Discovery

Mobile devices make exploration during travel even easier, as travelers now have the ability to use their smartphones as maps, guidebooks, planners and even tour guides to best explore their new locale.

The Ritz-Carlton’s much-lauded mobile app promotes discovery in a variety of ways. The app can be used prior to travel, offering users the ability to search for properties and book a vacation in advance.

Once a traveler has arrived at their destination, the app can then be used as a personal GPS-enabled check-in, notifying the hotel as soon as they arrive, as well as serve as a handheld concierge on-the-go, a feature which aids visitors in finding local eateries, events and activities.

To further promote discovery, The Ritz engages users with QR codes that prompt exploration of hotel and its offerings. Codes are visible in key locations, offered as a resource to help answer questions about the hotel, and even suggest guided tours of local art collections.

4. Social sharing

With traveling comes the desire to share stories and experiences with your friends and family, which today’s travelers are doing on their smartphones. 40% of leisure travelers and 46% of business travelers use social networking to share their travel experiences.

Travel companies can learn to even better hone in on this social focus by offering customers unique social engagement and interaction.

Best Western has developed a comprehensive mobile strategy that features a strong social component. Not only is the mobile site engaging, with an efficient booking process and strong search functionalities, but it also enables travelers to reserve hotel rooms directly on the Best Western Facebook fan page.

Summing up

Offering vast choice and endless options for engagement, mobile solutions that speak to the four important principles – efficiency, flexibility, discovery and social sharing – are essential.

By using mobile as a tool to reduce the stresses of travel, brands can increase usage, engagement and customer satisfaction, which resonates with customers and creates fond memories!

NB: This is a view point by Carin van Vuuren, chief marketing officer at Usablenet.

NB2: Mobile hand image via Shutterstock.

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About the Writer :: Viewpoints

A founding principle of tnooz was a diversity of viewpoints from across the spectrum. Viewpoints are articles by guest contributors from around the travel and hospitality industries.



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  1. Albert Hatero

    Very good summary. It’s a strong opportunity to motivate and improve the Bussiness for restaurants.


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