How can leisure travel sellers better leverage the mobile platform?

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Mobile is making an impact across all industries but travel is experiencing one of the most dramatic transformations. Mobile is inherently compelling for travelers in three ways: it’s ‘personal’ and dovetails neatly with the trend toward personalization across the travel process. Secondly, it’s ‘pervasive’: with 92 percent penetration in Europe almost everyone has a mobile device. Finally, mobile offers proximity as consumers always have their mobile with them. This combination of factors means mobile is becoming the primary platform for travel – and fast.  In 2011, 3 percent of online bookings in Europe were made on mobiles. By 2015 this should rise to 20%[1].

Clearly, leisure travel sellers need to be building a strong presence in the mobile space. It’s clear that mobile is part of what is shaping the future of travel, as shown by the rapid growth in mobile bookings. But mobile also offers new openings for travel sellers as it creates more opportunities than ever before to better connect with their customers. Yet amazingly most travel agencies do not have a clear mobile strategy (in contrast to metasearch giants like Kayak and Trivago) – or they regard mobile as an add-on technology.

Future strategy should be about engaging the hyper-connected always-on traveler. Campaigns and platforms need to be designed from the traveler’s point-of-view at every stage of the travel process. Start at ‘inspiration’ and consider how your search and book functions work on the mobile platform. Then think about how you engage the traveler while he or she is on the trip and in ‘spending mode’. What are the opportunities for cross-selling services, such as airport lounge passes, transfer services and local entertainment? Finally, what services would be relevant to your traveler once they’ve reached their destination.

At each stage, a robust mobile strategy will let the travel seller identify and unlock opportunities to sell to leisure travelers and improve their travel experience. Perhaps this will mean optimizing the web channel for mobile, creating mobile apps or a combination of these approaches: a systematic mobile strategy will make the decision clear.

Again, the travel seller’s ability to manage and analyze large volumes of data can play a decisive role in success. By using analytics and Business Intelligence to crunch the numbers on how travelers use mobile, the travel seller can create truly personalized and relevant offers.

Mobile is already re-shaping the travel process and travel sellers with the right strategy in place, backed up with BI analytics skills can engage customers, grow margin and – in time – profitability. Above all, a clear strategy will position them for a future where mobile will be even more prominent as new technologies such as smartwatches and beacons create even more opportunities.

[1] SOURCE: PhoCusWright’s European Online Travel Overview Ninth Edition

 

Originally published on the Amadeus corporate blog. 

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