Smartphones and tablets are revolutionizing the way in which consumers are planning, researching and taking an actual holiday trip. The tourism industry is also investing heavily in providing consumers with apps and mobile optimised sites that can facilitate travellers prior, during and after a holiday. 2013 is certainly the year in which Smartphones and tablets are impacting very much on travel. Ensuring that travellers can be connected at all times and access relevant information is absolutely crucial. Connectedness and responding to traveller needs in real time is essential in tourism (Travel Weekly 2013).
According to Travel Weekly’s consumer trend survey, 25% of travellers used a Smartphone or tablet to purchase travel online in the last 12 months. This is not a surprise but 25% as a figure shows a substantial increase by 20% and a general shift towards more and more mobile bookings in travel. In terms of demographics of mobile buying in travel, also older travellers have booked via their Smartphones or tablets. This shows that mobile is impacting on all age demographics and growth is also happening in all age categories. In years to come mobile bookings will further boom with Smartphones and tablets becoming increasingly available to the wider public and travellers of all ages will adopt and use these devices for travel. It is predicted that by 2018, 89% of travellers will own a tablet
How are travel companies reacting?
Already, many travel companies are offering mobile optimised sites and apps. Especially apps are often used by travellers to book services or check into flights. These specifically designed apps are very often very easy to use and ideal for Smartphones or tablets with regards to the ease of use and also quicker than booking or checking in through websites. For travel, ease and time saving are two very essential points that are valued by travellers using apps. As Smartphones are often used on the go, during travel to book a hotel or flight or search for needed information. Travel agents are faced with travellers expecting them to be available at all times with their expertise. Often technology is looked at as a threat but it is also a huge opportunity in tourism.
Opportunities for Travel Companies
Travellers still require help and expertise when booking travel and this is where many tourism organisations can tap into opportunities arising from this. Investing into mobile optimised sites is crucial as well as providing apps that can facilitate travellers before and during a holiday. Ensuring the relevancy and value for consumers using the mobile site or app is key though as any investment into mobile needs to be done wisely to ensure that travellers are booking via mobile sites or apps and there is a return on investment.
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