Mobile Apps in Travel and Tourism

The tourism industry has embraced the internet whole-heartedly as it is THE place to find new clients and to build your brand effectively and affordably.

The majority of people do their holiday and travel research online. They find you online (via a Google search), read about your services and start dreaming about their holiday in Africa. This takes place on pc’s and laptops browsing your website. The mobile revolution has now enabled travelers to find you on their smartphones and tablets on a mobile site or an app while on holiday.

The rise of the silent traveler (they don’t use traditional channels to book and make decisions in-destination) makes mobile apps not just a ‘nice to have’, but a crucial part of marketing and customer relations management. This shift has brought about a change in the way they plan trips, their in-trip experiences and sharing their holiday with friends and family.

Have a look at this snippet from Google’s Traveler Research Report:

traveler_research_4

How do you reach and engage this silent traveler?
The marketing landscape has changed from advertising messages aimed at consumers, to conversations with prospective and booked clients. The conversations take place on blogs, social media and mobile apps. Establish a mobile strategy that reaches the right audience, where they build a relationship with you, trust you, and turn them into loyal fans that will spread the word about your business during and after their stay.

Travelers now have access to all the information they need while they travel, using their mobile devices. Finding things to do, tours, a place to stay, where to eat and attractions to visit are booked on-the-go. They share their experiences on social media, as it happens. People travel less prepared, with shorter notice. Their discovery, planning, booking and feedback moves to mobile.

A large percentage of trips to Africa is booked in advance. But even for prebooked trips, mobile apps should be used to engage with customers while they are traveling, grow customer loyalty, and provide customer service on location. One of the best ways to do this is via an app that makes their travel experience more engaging and interesting.

Have a look at this slide show from Everplaces about the impact that mobile has on travel.

Some of the interesting stats and take-aways in this slideshow:

  • 52% of consumers used mobile devices to book travel
  • 17% of global web traffic comes from mobile
  • The trip planning process starts on mobile (especially tablets)
  • Mobile apps must have offline functionality for in-destination interaction with your customers
  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly (responsive), as 20% of website traffic comes from mobile devices
  • Photos and travel experiences are shared instantly on social media
  • Let your customers contribute towards authentic content (reviews, feedback, posts, photo shares) that promotes your business
  • Be included on other apps – geolocation based map searches contribute towards bookings

Keep this in mind when planning your mobile app strategy for your travel business:

1. Your app must transform the customers’ travel experience, build customer loyalty (and return clients) and create awareness through word-of-mouth. Every post or photo share made by a customer become an advertisement for your business.
2. Offline functionality to keep your business top-of-mind when no internet access is available. This keeps your clients engaged even if there is no internet or data reception available – crucial for customer loyalty!
3. For accommodation establishments it is important to provide free wi-fi for internet access.
4. Use maps to help clients find useful information while on holiday.
5. An in-destination app allows you to assist clients immediately when assistance is required or a problem is encountered.
6. Customers will find what they want online – let you be the one giving it to them.

Please give us your feedback on the following questions:
1. Would you like to have an app for your business?
2. What stops you from getting an app?
3. What would you like to see in an app for your business?
4. Will you be available for beta testing an app developed for the tourism industry? We have only a few spaces open for the testing, so please let us know soon. You’ll be getting some special treats from us as a thank you!

Please send your feedback to the above questions to [email protected]. We’ll get back to you regarding the beta testing.

Let me know if you have any questions and comments about apps in the travel industry. Post your comments below. The next post will be on building a successful tourism app. If you haven’t already done so, sign up to stay up to date.