Smartphone and travel – are you being left behind?

The recent surge in mobile traffic, particularly in January this year amid the severe blizzards on the East Coast US, demonstrated just how useful mobile can be. During that period, hoards of people used their mobiles to check for updates, and the impact on travel routes – which just highlights how much we have begun to rely on smartphones’ web access.

The benefit of mobile for the travel industry is two-fold. Firstly, customers are afforded optimal speed and convenience with online bookings, check in and virtual boarding passes, and secondly the organizations themselves benefit from lower operating costs, agentless customer service and gaining that all important competitive edge.

A multitude of services can now be accessed through mobile, and customers are able to plan and purchase the entire travel experience from start to finish – from flight and hotel bookings right through to virtual room keys. Customers are also starting to demand this level of customer service across all of their mobile devices. For instance, they might want to tap into their travel plans on a BlackBerry, iPad, PC and alike – thereby making it crucial to keep any mobile offering consistent and device agnostic.

Recent research has demonstrated that it is primarily the younger generation leading the pack here. What begins as an adoption of free apps, and an experiment to test the limits of a mobile travel app, is resulting in more and more people expressing a willingness to pay for a quality mobile service.

With so many alternatives on the market however, a bad experience with a travel app (i.e. slow, buggy, incorrect or rarely-updated information) can prove fatal as most users won’t hesitate in switching to a competitor. In fact, a recent study showed that 31 percent of US travelers are less likely to use a mobile application after a malfunction. As travel companies scramble to meet the rapid market demand, staying on top of the game by providing quality mobile apps, which will enhance user experience, is crucial to stand out in the crowd.

The market growth of mobile is giving enterprises a competitive opportunity that simply cannot be missed or overlooked. The rest of the industry should take heed. Don’t be left behind.

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In his current role as the director of product management, Bjorn Hildahl leads Kony’s product strategy and execution. Bjorn brings more than 14 years of experience to Kony, serving in a variety of systems development roles for various software technology companies. Prior to Kony, Bjorn served as the director of technology and client services at mFoundry, a provider of mobile financial services. Previously, he was a software architect at Blackstone Technology Group, a position he accepted after serving as the founder and CEO of Ubiquitos Information. Bjorn earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

  • Nicholas sparks

    Once again Bjorn has wrote an informative article. Along with most of the enterprises who need to develop mobile apps for its customers, travel enterprises want their customers to stay with them by the use of mobile apps. In a recent survey we came to know that most of the people don’t like to use the app even second time when they found some errors on it. So enterprises need to make quality app to their customers. I have got the chance to use app from who provides mobile apps (especially travel apps) to enterprises and retailers which are really rich in quality. I would like to get suggestions from users so I can enhance my knolwedge.