Did you know that 60% of mobile phone users worldwide have downloaded and used a travel-related app?
If you think that Africa is lagging behind, think again! According to a recent Amadeus study into the travel habits of people in Africa, African travellers are increasingly using their mobile devices to book accommodation; manage hotel itineraries and amendments; and source travel information before, after and during their trip. A third of African travellers booked accommodation using their smartphone in the last 12 months.
Despite the fact that travellers around the world are seemingly glued to their mobile phones at all times, a recent study from the GBTA and Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), A mobile effect: setting a clear mobile travel strategy, shows that almost 70% of travel buyers don’t have a mobile strategy in place.
This is about to change, as most buyers also say they are keen to get going with a mobile strategy in the next two years.
Most travellers already use a wide variety of apps from TMC apps, expense reporting apps, travel risk apps, communication apps, mobile wallets as well as apps such as CheckMyTrip. Travel managers have recognised that there are quite some advantages to having a mobile strategy for technology that is already in place. They expect a good mobile strategy could lead to increased traveller engagement in the travel programme as well as increased compliance and savings.
“The focus of a mobile travel program strategy should be centered on how to make a traveler’s experience so simple within the managed program, that there is more value there than outside the program,” said said Monica Sanchez, GBTA foundation director of research.
So, where can you start if you want to compile a mobile strategy?
GBTA and CWT explain that in a first step, companies should identify what the travel program’s goals are, which tools and processes are available and in place, who owns the mobile policy, what the policy allows and what its limitations are.
In a second phase, companies should identify who is involved in the mobile policy decision, and create a suite of recommended apps (TMC, booking, expense report, safety and security, preferred suppliers). Clear guidance of mobile app use for travel purposes should be outlined keeping in mind the organisation’s culture and needs. It’s also important to ensure fairly instant 2-way communication with travelers, through messages or social media. Lastly, traveller experience and savings should be measured and taken into consideration.