With smartphone penetration at an all-time high, the travel industry is experiencing the benefits of mobile at a remarkable rate. Mobile helps ease every part of the travel experience from booking to experiencing a new city. It acts as a one-stop solution for travelers: booking, researching and providing an all-around travel experience.
Mobile removes the difficulty in booking travel.
One of the most apparent impacts Mobile has had on travel is the booking experience for customers. For decades, customers have relied on manual methods of booking; mobile has provided a reliable, instant alternative to desktop and manual methods. Customers can literally book a trip at any moment and have everything in order instantly; this removes any friction in the purchasing process and increases conversion rates. In addition to this added convenience, mobile provides a greater selection and competitive pricing for travelers. Mobile allows customers to browse through all booking options and make the best purchasing decision. By providing competitive pricing and selection, mobile travel apps build trust with customers as an authority in booking. 79% of mobile travelers completed a booking after doing research on their smartphone. With each purchasing cycle of a customer, the app gains more data that is used to build a better profile and enhance their mobile experience in the future. These compounding effects will allow mobile to gain more penetration in the travel industry as time goes on. As it already occupies a large part of booking sales and is expected to grow, while desktop and manual booking will remain flat or are expected to decrease in the coming years.
Mobile provides in-app services that desktop and manual methods cannot.
In addition to booking, mobile differentiates itself from manual and desktop by providing additional in-app services. Instead of just helping customers with booking, mobile provides an all-around experience for travelers. These travel apps often track a customer’s location and highlight nearby places of interest like restaurants, attractions, and events. This provides additional value for the customer in addition to giving companies more profile data to personalize their experience. Many travel apps have features like syncing your documents and itineraries to your smartphone calendar all while sharing them with family and friends. Features like these are valuable to groups traveling together. With these in-app features, mobile travel apps create a network effect and establish customer loyalty base to its brand; this, in turn, will inherently help increase conversion rates and sales.
Mobile is the future of all things travel.
Mobile already occupies 45% of bookings and the market share is set to increase significantly in the coming years. It’s not that mobile has a better business strategy than other mediums, it just provides much more convenience to its customers. It is an inclusive medium that also has accessibility options for travelers who are impaired or disabled. Innovations in voice-enabled search and AI remove friction for many customers to make their booking process seamless. With the continued innovation, mobile positions itself as an increasing asset for customers. Every update to a travel app fixes bugs, provides new features and improves the customer experience. Travel companies are already realizing that mobile is a necessity to survive in the future of travel.
Companies like Tripadvisor, Expedia, Booking.com and more offer technologies that are mobile ready, but not all apps are created equal. Each type of mobile app on the market has its own pros and cons, but they are all mostly the same, and many confuse the user with links to unrelated travel sites, and most offer little to no visualization of the place you are traveling to. Lately, its startups and smaller players in the market (such as Zoomaway.com) who are thinking outside the box to tackle the issues the stale market seems satisfied with. Forward-thinking companies are enhancing the visualization of a marketplace, going beyond consumer reviews and adding real-time sharing and gamification to retrofit the same old same old experience of today’s travel planning.