It seems like everywhere you look, people around you are on their smartphone or tablet - or even both. In fact, with over 25 percent of total U.S. travel bookings occurring via mobile by 2014* - accounting for $40 billion in revenue - statistics seem to suggest that rather than playing Angry Birds or checking Facebook, these people are actually booking or researching travel plans.
A report from BI Intelligence details some of the ways travel companies are adapting to an increasingly mobile world:
- Instant Communication (or nearly). Desktop and mobile applications allow for regular communication with guests, though, for many, the communication via mobile is faster than via desktop.
- Easy Payments. Companies are working to ensure that payments made via mobile are easier even than via a desktop with features such as one-time payment details and faster authorization.
- Regular App Improvements. Travel companies are constantly taking what they have learned and applying it to upgrade, fix or even just change their mobile app to ensure a better experience for guests and potential customers.
- Location Services. Many companies are utilizing location services to create a custom experience for guests. For example, someone researching a travel plan via mobile would receive reviews and rankings from customers local to the researcher.
- Offline Services. To ensure that their site is helpful even when a visitor is not connected to Wi-Fi or a cell connection, travel companies are increasingly utilizing offline services such as city guides, site suggestions, etc.
- Augmented Reality and Wearables. Obviously, these items have not reached critical mass yet, but many travel companies are ready for when they do with pre-developed hands-free augmented reality apps.
* According to PhoCusWright.