Paperless Journeys with Mobile Technology
We are already mobile while traveling, but that cannot be enough for the technologically enhanced world, and so there comes the advent of “Mobile Technology into the Travel Sector.” Abacus International tells us more about the mobile trends of 2011.
It has been reported that 60% airlines have offered mobile check-in in 2010. This has happened to ensure that all airports become mobile-enabled by implementing Bar Coded Boarding Passes (BCBP). Asia Pacific has the most number of mobile subscribers with over 2.1 billion phone subscriptions in 2010, in addition to a forecasted growth of 50% by 2020. Smartphones have invaded every part of the Asian region and internet services on these phones are set to generate $80 billion in the region. The internet has not eliminated the need to travel; instead it has enhanced it manifold and made it much easier and comfortable.
If you are bored of your work desk and your home, you just need to log on to your mobile internet and click your way to a comfortable and planned travel. With a generation as whimsical as ours, mobile services are essential even for an unplanned break. Even regular travelers like businessmen use smartphones to book tickets, plan itineraries, track flights and receive travel alerts and offers. 53% of the leisure travelers use real-time flight information for traveling.
The now 60 billion smart devices will transform to 100 billion by 2020. More than 50% of the world’s population is already communicating online. Brett Henry, VP - Marketing and VP - India at Abacus International, says, “Just imagine the huge potential outreach and business opportunities made available to travel suppliers. The question to ask really is where is your business right now?” Virgin Atlantic has created a Facebook application of the airline world, allowing members of its Flying club to view and share information through their online accounts. Abacus too is offering services like Abacus WebStart for mobile, Abacus Mobile, VirtuallyThere and TripCase to enable its travel partners to maximize the potential of mobile platform for their businesses.
Lufthansa has created MySkyStatus application where travelers can stay socially connected even while flying. Air Asia uses the mobile internet for sales campaigns, which can further be used to book a flight, check-in, select a seat and check flight status. This will only go higher with iPhone, Blackberry and Android apps in the future. Virgin Blue also allows for booking, changes and cancellations as well as check-in and boarding passes through the mobile. Its Blackberry application aims solely to woo business travelers.
Mobile commerce allows for a meaningful exchange between customers and travel brands, according to Henry. It will not take long for M-commerce to transform successfully into online shopping. By 2012, the value of goods and services purchased through mobile phones will reach $200 billion. Much of this will come from mobile payments and the use of Near Field Communications (NFC).
With everything available so easily, and on the go, it is not a surprise that the travel industry will receive a tremendous boost. Upcoming Blackberrys and Androids will add to the unplanned travel arena. The only thing to consider is that travel companies should be able to keep up with the speed of the mobile technologies. And, not to forget, should come par with Customer Delight too!