Travel apps are leading industries in usage growth at the same time that travel companies are digging deeper into mobile app development as they aim to connect with consumers at all points during the travel journey, according to the latest survey results. Services that support everything travelers are doing during the entire travel experience cycle, from planning to booking to sharing their experiences.
These efforts are getting consumers’ attention. A May 2012 Nielsen study, “Courting Today’s Mobile Consumer,” showed that in the US travel apps were seeing the highest year-over-year growth of any industry or product-related app category, at 116%, well above the growth in overall mobile app use (84%).
Travelers are showing a penchant for using their phones to do more than simply complete an on-the-go booking. For example, comScore’s “Mobile Travel Advisor” survey from February 2012 showed that US travelers were often using their smartphones for mobile hotel-related searches such as finding things to do nearby or places to eat near their hotel.
At the same time, the 2012 SITA Passenger Self-Service Survey has revealed that passengers want more self-service and mobile-based offerings to help improve the travel experience.
The annual survey – which included more than 2,500 passengers from over 70 countries – found that 70% of passengers now carry smartphones, which is fuelling demand for services such as self-boarding and flight information updates.
In response, travel marketers are incorporating social check-in partnerships, concierge services, customized coupons and other in-destination services into travel apps to create customer service touchpoints and brand loyalty opportunities as well as ancillary revenue streams. These recommendations are relevant to locals as much as they are to tourists, making the apps more widely marketable.
The trend toward mobile travel app usage points back to the fundamental nature of travel as a mobile activity. As smartphones proliferate, they’ll more often be looked to as the go-to resource for travel information on the fly.