Why travel companies need a strategy for mobile now!

Why travel companies need a strategy for mobile now!

I attended a very interesting travel technology conference yesterday, hosted by TTI. Among a number of informative presentations, I was stuck by Peter Matthews‘ presentation. It seems he has data that shows that over 20% of the web browsing of various travel web sites took place on mobile devices. This figure has apparently more than doubled over the last 12 months. He includes tablet devices (like iPads) as mobile devices.

We also know that mobile devices (smart phones and tablets) tend to be owned by those with with higher disposable income, and this of course is exactly the group you want to target if you are in the leisure travel business. Peter also alluded to the fact that mobile devices are owned and used by a wide cross section of age groups, and are not the preserve of the young. How many grandparents do you know that  have their own iPad? I know several.

Therefore, based on this sole statistic and a little common sense reasoning, it is evident that a planned strategy for mobile is now essential, and probably overdue, for anyone selling leisure travel.

It’s also pretty obvious that when you are searching for a holiday, you will be searching the web (probably via Google), and not via an app downloaded on your phone. Once you have a relationship with your customer they may well download your app, but not before. Therefore, your web site should at least work on the common mobile devices, and you may want to optimise the site for smaller screens of smart phones.

Having an ‘app’ is a good idea for post booking servicing and also to encourage repeat booking and foster some brand allegiance. Apps are still very cool, and your brand will be enhanced by having one. Interestingly, apps that do just one thing well are preferred over those doing many things badly.

All RWA’s web sites and booking engines have been tested to correctly render on tablet devices such as the iPad, and on mobile phones (e.g. Android and iPhone). We’ve also built mobile sites specifically optimised for the small footprint of a smart phone. RWA has an App in the Apple AppStore that allows travellers to download and store their itineraries. The app can be extended to provide push notifications for offers.

If 20% of travel searching and browsing is being done on mobile devices, and if this figure has doubled in a year, then its just a no-brainer that the successful players will be those that embrace the mobile platforms.

Rob Wortham

Sept 2012