January travel booking bug goes mobile and multi-device
The things we know already – mobile plays a vital role in the process of travel search and, increasingly, booking.
We don’t wait until we get home or visit an offline agent anymore; we simply turn to our phones to browse and book flights, hotels and more on the go.
Right, we all know that. But it’s getting more complicated than that, at least for marketers.
Mobile strategies that really fly
My company’s latest travel report found that in 2016, over half of all ecommerce transactions in the sector involved multiple devices.
This means that people aren’t simply booking online anymore – they’re browsing on a tablet, researching on desktop before finally booking on a mobile.
In fact, almost one-third of online travel bookings worldwide now take place on a mobile device, with millennials the biggest shoppers of travel on mobile.
Now brands are starting to redesign their online shopping experience for this new reality.
In order to create and maintain a consistent and seamless brand experience, marketers need to engage with consumers every single step of the way, irrespective of the device being used.
Not only do marketers need to offer the seamless transition between online and mobile web, but they now have to focus their efforts on replicating the brand’s ecosystem in app format.
The travel industry, more so than any other, is seeing particular success when it comes to engaging with consumers via mobile – thanks to mobile apps.
Setting the scene for an ‘appy holiday
Again, we all know that more and more travel brands are investing in apps.
Over the past two years, companies that invested in their apps saw constant growth in bookings from 12% to now over half of all mobile purchases.
For one-night stays, in particular, apps have a clear lead over other devices or platforms, with nearly three in four app bookings made for one-night stays.
From our experience, the most effective travel mobile strategies encourage app installs with services that really make a difference:
- Personalising recommendations based on searches, selection criteria, past travels and wish lists
- Sending up-to-date, useful and non-intrusive notifications (e.g. check-in reminders, traffic, delays, alternatives, cancellation, nearby offers)
- Offering better deals on your app to temporarily capture downloads and bookings, but be consistent to sustain them
- Enabling one-click bookings with intelligent auto-fill of personal details (while highlighting payment security).
App bookings are on a roll, and we can see that merchants who invested in and promoted apps early are now reaping the benefits.
Last-minute and on-the-road reservations
With almost a third of next-day bookings now being made via smartphone and nearly half of consumers making bookings whilst in transit, the travel industry is revolutionising the way it connects with its customers on the road.
There’s a real opportunity here for marketers to target those last minute travellers:
- Make nearby and short-term offers highly visible throughout the browsing, selection and booking process
- Make the most of each visit with personalised offers and recommendations tailored to the user context
- Accurately measure online activity and use cross-device intent mapping to optimise impact across all channels.
Travel brands need to take into account a consumer’s decision making cycle when planning cross-device strategies, avoiding any bias in analytics and attribution.
Offering a seamless transition between desktop and mobile (mobile web or app based) not only improves the shopping experience, but also helps drive customer acquisition and retention.
There’s no better way for travel businesses to stand out from the competition than offering truly integrated customer experiences – before, during, and after their holiday.
Daniele Beccari is a contributing Node to Tnooz, and head of travel products at Criteo.
As travel technology strategist, he has helped startups and blue-chip corporations define and launch innovative solutions in leisure, corporate, online and mobile sectors. He also served as Vice President, Europe and B2B, at Isango! (now part of TUI), and previously as head of corporate products for the e-travel division of Amadeus.
He started his career at HP, working on what is known today as the Internet of things. An MBA graduate from INSEAD, Daniele can be found somewhere between Paris, London, Turin, San Francisco or Tokyo.
Daniele's views are his alone and not the views of his clients or employers.