How will mobile change the travel industry in 2018? A new mobile market report investigates.
Mobile is a growth category for the travel industry as established markets experience rising usage and emerging markets add millions of consumers who look and book with their smartphones. It is even more vital tool for in-trip engagement as the majority of travelers globally report that they use their smartphone as their main conduit for information and communications as they travel. It is therefore an area that travel brands must address in 2018 in order to maximise their return on investment and avoid falling behind competitors.
Based on EyeforTravel and SAP Digital Interconnect’s new Driving Intelligent, Interconnected Mobile Engagement Throughout the Travel Journey report, here are three key ways in which mobile will influence the travel marketing in 2018.
1. Getting to customers through their smartphones as they travel is going to be key in building a relationship
Smartphones are used most during the actual trip itself, presenting a golden time to reach them through this medium. For 67% of British, French and German consumers, the smartphone is their key device during their trip and 98% of Chinese international travelers report that they use their smartphone whilst abroad, with 65% reporting that they use their smartphone to search for restaurants or to use navigation tools.
What’s more there are more ways than ever to reach the consumer through their smartphone, none of which are being fully exploited by travel brands so far. First and foremost there are apps. Although these are difficult to get installed on a user’s device, they have excellent engagement rates and allow owners to send push notifications, which were found to be the most effective form of in-app advertising by our research. However, just a third of travel brands currently have an app. Beyond this, consumers can receive or request messages from travel brands through SMS, used by 24% of travel brands, MMS (8%), QR codes (16%), and instant messaging services (29% of travel brands). The latter of these could be key, as IHS Markit predicts that there will be 7.5 billion messaging and communication app accounts by 2020, giving unrivalled reach.
2. Automated outreach is going to go wider and get a whole lot more effective
In order to get relevant and engaging messages to consumers, travel brands will need to automate the process through data analysis and AI-enabled services. We found that among the 41% of travel brands that have automated mobile outreach, 83% report that is effective at driving satisfaction. These services can be used to build loyalty and drive revenues through a variety of services that give the consumer key pieces of information that makes their journey easier and upsell and marketing messages. Currently, 78.4% of travel brands that have an automated messaging service report that they can send booking confirmations and reminders but just 37% can send post-stay marketing messages and 35% emergency notifications. We can expect the number of travel brands with automated outreach to grow in 2018 alongside the type and content of their messages. Brands will take on a multichannel strategy with their messaging, using the most appropriate format for the customer based on where they are in the journey. For example, SMS for a change in gate, or push notifications from an app for excursions at the destination.
3. Mobile sites will become better at grabbing the last-minute booking
Although mobile is a fast-growing channel when it comes to the booking itself, desktops and laptops still rule the roost when it comes to share and even more so when it comes to spending. Instead, mobile appears to still be a last-minute channel, especially for hotels. Just under 65% of respondents from all verticals in the survey say that mobile lead times are either much shorter or slightly shorter than desktop bookings, with 40% answering that they are much shorter. Nearly double the rate of respondents from the accommodation group report that mobile lead times are much shorter – 59% to 31%.
This makes the mobile web experience critical, as smaller screens and a need for swift information will make relevancy and presentation critical. In our survey 39% of brands reported that they were prioritizing the mobile web and a further 6%, said they were shifting to mobile web, far above those who said they were prioritizing apps. We can expect the number of travel brands who have a responsive or adaptive website to rise from the 58% who currently do.
Optimizing this experience will be driven by growing abilities to personalize landing pages and streamlining the moments from arrival on the site to the check-out based off growing data analysis capabilities and A/B testing. Furthermore, advances in revenue management and yield maximization techniques will increase the profitability of last-minute mobile bookings.
To access the research and get ahead of the competition, download this completely free mobile market report to access:
- A major industry survey of all travel verticals uncovering their mobile strategies and technology deployments.
- Analysis of how consumers are using the mobile channel.
- Projections for mobile’s growth across travel.
- Where you should be investing to reach the mobile consumer.
- How you can ensure mobile-focused communications are effective.
- An overview of how you should be measuring and overseeing an m-commerce operation.