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The digital landscape has evolved rapidly over the past few years, influencing how travelers research, plan, book and share their trips throughout all phases of their journey. The sheer amount of information now available to travelers means that they’re savvier than ever before, not to mention more discerning about who they spend their money with. Brands looking to compete in today’s increasingly crowded travel space and gain long-term customer loyalty need to rethink how they engage with travelers, from when travelers begin researching a trip through their return trip home.
Mobile has obviously been the biggest disruptor to how consumers interact with both each other and the brands they love, giving travel companies new opportunities to support, engage and empower their customers. According to Travelport’s recent Global Traveler Survey of 11,000 people worldwide, 51 percent of leisure travelers and 57 percent of business travelers tend to research and book all their travel arrangements on their smartphones. On average, travelers tend to use 16 categories of apps when traveling, meaning that brands now have the ability to own the entire customer journey.
Mobile has also put much more of a focus on a “seamless travel experience” than ever before. Travelers have little patience for friction along the journey, and increasingly expect every action they partake in to be accessible across their devices. Travelport’s survey found that about 45 percent of leisure and business travelers agreed that booking everything separately (flights, accommodation, ground transport, etc.) to be a pain point, while about 70 percent of leisure and business travelers agreed that digital boarding passes and e-tickets make traveling easier. Additionally, about one-third of leisure and business travelers said that “not being able to access my booking on all my devices” as well as that “companies I use regularly that do not remember my preferences” to be a pain point. As the stakes get higher and higher, travel brands need to work to find ways to alleviate such friction and serve travelers a complete end-to-end customer experience.
easyJet is one such company that has focused on delivering a seamless, intuitive mobile experience that’s aligned with the expectations of today’s “always on” traveler. Through the airline’s enhanced mobile app, built in partnership with Travelport Digital, which helps airlines stay engaged with the traveler throughout the travel cycle, easyJet was able to offer travelers core functionalities anytime, across any device, using a combination of intuitive digital services with a brand centric design. Through the app, travelers can access features such as a seamless mobile payment system, an easy way to purchase ancillary items, a personalized travel assistant to help with activities on the day of travel, and faster check-in processes.
BCD Travel, a global corporate travel management provider, also looked to make life easier on the road for their travelers, while at the same time, keep them safe and encourage them to book in-program. The company understood that the key to doing so was through an end-to-end mobile solution. Through its partnership with Travelport Digital, BCD Travel created TripSource, its first mobile app, which provides travelers with everything they need for a seamless experience while on the road in one central location. The app tracks and organizes all trip details by segment, including flight, hotel, ground transfer, car rental and rail, incorporates native mapping, directions, travel guidelines, contact and security information, and hotel booking capabilities, and uses real-time messaging capabilities to provide travel updates.
These two examples showcase that brands are beginning to grasp the fact that the digital landscape is shifting and traveler needs and expectations are changing. Today, great experiences need to be mobile-first and deliver practical value and real reasons to engage.
By providing travelers with the right tools in the right place at the right time, and by developing great mobile apps for their customers that engage travelers through the whole trip, airlines, agencies and travel brands can grow their revenues, streamline their operations and extend their digital engagement. To learn more about how Travelport Digital powers mobile engagement for travel brands, click here.
This article was created collaboratively by Travelport and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.