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Three Ways That Mobile Will Enrich the Travel Experience

Filed in Messaging / SMS / MMS by on April 15, 2014 0 Comments

Travel has always been about mobility, but these days mobile devices have become all about travel. More smartphone users, sophisticated apps and high-speed networks are revolutionizing the way we traverse the globe.

Although apps have become the focal point for the mobile strategy of many airlines, hotels, car-rental companies and theme parks, other mobile tools have emerged to facilitate customer interaction. Earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, I talked about some of these tools in a discussion I co-led with business and marketing leaders from United Airlines, Ritz-Carlton and Yelp. In this post, I would like to expand on a few of the ideas I shared.

Hanlon-Mobile-World-Congress2

Me at the EyeforTravel “How Mobile Can Enhance the Guest
Experience – Pre-, During- and Post-Travel” event at Mobile World Congress.

While two mobile tools available for travel represent emerging areas of opportunity, one is a traditional channel that remains valuable despite the rise of new technologies and services:

  1. Data roaming packages present a new marketing opportunity – With data roaming service both an ever-present need and a cost concern for travelers, brands have an untapped opportunity to include data roaming packages in their offers. For example, a hotel could drive reservations by offering a package of 100MB a day with each stay. Since mobile users are often left to figure out their own data roaming arrangements, the inclusion of the package could incentivize consumers to proceed with a purchase.
  2. Subscriber data enables new ways to reach customers with personalized offers – Mobile operators have accumulated unique subscriber data that allows them to provide intelligence to enable real-time personalized offers by travel brands. This data includes information on a subscriber’s device location, the amount of voice, messaging, and data services used, roaming history, and more. But for that data to be available to brands, each subscriber must explicitly opt to allow her or his information to be shared. With the proper permissions, subscriber data opens new possibilities for brands to more contextually serve the needs of travelers. If, for instance, brands are equipped with intelligence on subscribers’ location, they could push real-time communications – like alerts about baggage claim information, hotel directions and transportation options – when travelers’ devices are detected within specific geographic boundaries.
  3. Messaging still provides the most valuable mobile channel – Though apps receive more acclaim, messaging still represents the most reliable mobile channel to reach travelers. App use presents several challenges – including that users must find and download a brand’s app, complete any necessary setup (such as creating an ID and password), and have their data roaming turned on if Wi-Fi isn’t available. Messaging, however, offers a universal and surefire channel to provide updates about flight schedule changes, welcome messages, directions and other traveler communications.

Today’s new mobile technologies promise to make the travel experience faster, easier and more engaging. Do you think these three tools will enhance the way people travel? What other items would you add to this list? Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

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Alastair Hanlon is a former Vice President of Enterprise Solutions at Syniverse.

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