Why Travel Is Going Even More Mobile in 2016

You’re going on holiday. You’ve packed everything you need (you hope) and you’ve sorted your airport parking and transfers. You leave home in plenty of time to make it to the airport ahead of boarding, and you’ve even got to grips with online check-in. You’ve planned, you’ve fretted and you’re finally set. Last year we looked at the Digital Travel Trends in 2015 in our whitepaper, as we come up to 2015 we wondered what would make your travel experience that bit easier.

Book, Print, Pack, Check-in, Queue, Queue, Check-in…

I recently flew to Greece for a week away in the sun. Upon arrival at the airport, we then faced the dreaded queue for check-in and baggage drop. A process we all hate, no matter how exciting the prospect of a trip may be. As we were stood in the queue, we began talking to another couple who it turned out, were staying at the same resort as us. We discussed our relative bookings so far, comparing prices and advising each other of reviews we had read and dropping the normal ‘I’ve heard’ remarks. We then turned our attention to the airport check in process. Each of us thought we had the solution to making the process that bit quicker and easier. But in reality, all those ideas have been brainstormed in boardrooms and meetings rooms across the globe but it still seems that visiting an airport can still seem cumbersome and long-winded in this digital age.

So what do these brilliant solutions look like? Well, mainly that in mobile form. The UK is now officially a smartphone society, with mobiles overtaking desktops in 2015 as our number one device. At every available opportunity we are checking our emails, logging our social status and making sure we are connected at all times.

So how does this effect the travel industry?

Well, the travel industry now should be capitalising on the vast amount of connected consumers it has walking around its airports, sitting on its planes and planning their holidays around.  The key to bringing them in? Keeping them connected. Connected consumers are sharing more of their journey and trip than ever before, all the while acting as brand ambassadors without realising it:

Facebook Check in Bristol Airport Social Media Digital

With Facebook location ‘Check Ins’ and Twitter countdowns until boarding time being the norm; it is becoming increasingly easier for companies like airports, which have been seen as the ‘admin’ part of the holiday in the past, to become  a part of the complete travel experience.

By 2017 more than 30% of online travel bookings by value will be made on a mobile device. Consumers have much more confidence in mobile now, with previous security fears eased by usage over time. This, along with the industry’s ability to provide real time information as well as location based services, combine to create a growing wave of mobile bookings.

It is therefore no surprise that airports should now look to mobile to assist with their customers’ journeys. There is an increasing passenger demand for new mobile services, with 57% of passengers now stating they would definitely use a mobile for airport maps and directions, and 49% saying they would happily use their mobile for ID purposes.

And airports are fully aware of this, with intentions to take full control of check-in with mobile. By 2018, it is hoped that 20% of passengers will be using their mobile phones to check in ahead of their arrival to the airport, a big increase compared to that of the 8% that currently do so.

But besides check in, what other opportunities are out there for airports using mobile? The possibilities are endless.

No more guessing, I want to know!

Bristol Airport e3 responsive website digital travel

According to research by SITA, globally 91% of airports are planning to offer a mobile app to help passengers navigate their terminals. Additionally 83% said they would go further and would use a platform to push out real-time notifications regarding local traffic and wait times in line. However, it’s third-party apps that have jumped on the trend first and they are currently reaping the rewards from existing customers. Alternatively some airports are realising the potential of mobile friendly sites, Bristol Airport and e3 developed a fully responsive site which has worked as well as separate application – specifically for direct parking bookings with 28,000 bookings in one month in 2015. The Bristol Airport website is a prime example of how to provide a customer experience versus just selling them a product.


Travel mobile map digital

As wearables, beacons and the Internet of Things become the norm, there is real potential for the travel industry to capitalise on the data it captures and create a really insightful and useful personalised experience for its customers. Currently only 20% of airports/airlines have adopted a personalised approach to their business. However, when we look at the expectations of the ‘always connected/always on’ consumer they are already expecting targeted, relevant communications and want their needs to anticipated before issues arise. It’s clear that 2016 will be the year that the travel industry needs to step up their game when it comes to personalisation.

How to stay ahead

As 2016 approaches we can see that every points towards a mobile dominated future. If your customers are stuck to their phones shouldn’t you be engaging with them? One of the best things about our smartphone society is that it encompasses a lot of different digital tactics with personalisation, apps and responsive design being only a few of them. The future of travel is only just forming, but make sure you’re a trendsetter and not just a follower.

Want to talk to us about your digital travel wants and needs? We’d love to chat, why not check out what we’ve done for other brands here.