When the iPad first launched in January 2010 I have to admit I was a little sceptical about the concept of the tablet. Why did we need them?
Less than 2 years later and they’re a must-have item. According to recent research by PriceGrabber posted on Mashable.com, 79% of consumers would rather receive a tablet than a laptop this holiday season.
Amazon, Nokia, Samsung, HP, Dell and more, all have launched their own often more affordable tablets allowing tablets to not just be for the higher income consumer.
There are well over 100,000 apps for the iPad but many brands have been slow to release apps for tablets for a number of reasons - namely cost and uncertainty of market reach. Like mobile apps, it’s no longer just a question of designing for one operating system. With Amazon’s Kindle taking tablet apps for Android mainstream, it would be foolish not to research the pros and cons of designing for other OS also.
But how are travel brands progressing with reaching the tablet user?
At EyeforTravel’s Online Marketing & Social Media in Travel Summit earlier this autumn in Amsterdam, Adam Goldstein, Co-Founder & CEO, Hipmunk shared his advice on apps. Hipmunk successfully launched their first iPad app earlier this year.
Adam suggested –
- Not to do a tablet app by itself – the tablet market will not outgrow mobile
- If you have a mobile website and a tablet app then not having a mobile app too would be a mistake
- Don’t forget to regularly update your mobile and tablet apps – it may be a reoccurring expense but it’s worth it to continue consumer engagement and usage
- Consider the marketing of your app – if done correctly having a tablet app can lead to free PR and increased brand awareness
Other points which travel brands should consider is the fact that tablets can handle more rich media than mobile apps. They are often used in the more ‘fun’ research and planning stages of the consumer travel lifecycle. This makes them a great platform to inspire and engage customers (I’ve found research on conversion to be too limited to comment at this stage).
What’s also interesting is the opportunity for travel brands to use tablets in other innovative ways. For example, more and more travel brands are using tablets during the actual travel experience.
British Airways recently piloted a scheme to give cabin crew iPads to handle passenger management in-flight, allow crew to identify where each customer is sitting, their Executive Club status and any special meal requirements, and also to give them a “greater understanding” of previous travel arrangements.
In the hospitality space, Design Hotels’ Eccleston Square hotel in London was the first hotel to have an iPad in every room. The iPads are used to control the room temperature, lights and curtain control, in-room dining orders, restaurant booking, spa reservations, housekeeping, as well as information about the hotel and the local area.
With other hotels and travel brands looking to follow suit, I think we can safely say the tablet is here to stay!
If you’re a travel brand who has had a successful experience of working with tablets then let me know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Gina Baillie