Gone are the days of large maps and guide books. Today, the world travels with nothing more than a smartphone for navigation. Right from booking tickets to planning itineraries, maps, reviews and navigation help, there is nothing that a smartphone cannot help you with. The relationship that we share with technology is getting more intense by every passing day, which is why businesses need to pay attention to changing and evolving tech trends. These days many travel companies are turning to mobile apps to promote their services. This is proof enough that they are changing with the tide and trying to reach out to their customers in a more personal way.
The numbers are promising, too. Of all mobile apps, travel-related apps are the seventh most downloaded. About 60 percent of all the smartphone users in the world have downloaded some sort of travel-related apps on their phones. Among them 45 percent claim to use it to plan their trips. Travel bookings via mobile phone has grown considerably today, compared to what it was five years back. What does all this mean for travel-related business? Connecting with potential, existing and future customers is much easier if you adapt to the mobile app revolution.
Here are some of the benefits for doing so:
- Higher degree of personalization: it is not uncommon to see offers and deals about the destination you googled, popping up on the sidebars of web pages you surf in the next few days. This is Big Data at play. Similarly, in mobile apps too, companies can gather a lot of information about their customers’ purchasing habits, preferences and expectations, by tracking their searches and observing the way they use an app. These data or feedback can then be used to hone their products and services to match the expectations of customers or make alterations to certain products/services.
This allows you to suggest more customised travel options to your customers, thereby positioning your products and services in a way that is more likely to be purchased. For instance, a mobile app that records its customer’s preferences based on their previous booking and suggests similar options to them, is more likely to get loyal customers. It could be something like a preference for pet-friendly places, vegetarian food, home-stay experiences or an interest in adventure activities. Some mobile apps have introduced a new feature called geo-fencing to their repertoire. This is a method by which the app tracks your location and alerts you of nearby attractions, dining options or even places you may have once searched using the app.
However, one should not overdo this and offer maximum flexibility to customers to avoid them abandon your app altogether. So use this data judiciously to market your products and services efficiently.
- Effective model for customer engagement: Mobile apps can be highly effective to build long-term relationships with your customers. Companies can tie up with other complementary companies and suggest combined offers or loyalty offers. You could encourage customers to share the app or invite their friends by giving them referral credits that can be used as discount coupons. This can help build loyalty of existing customers as well as attract potential customers. However, constant pop-ups or repeated reminders will put off customers and make them ignore the offers, engagement programs and ultimately even the app.
- Efficiently streamlined transactions: Apps are a good way to streamline and reduce unwanted transaction paraphernalia like paper tickets, receipts, and confirmation letters and so on. By digitizing all required documents to your app, you will be able to provide the customers with a better experience and cut down on the cost. Electronic copies of important travel documents makes it easier for both parties for future reference as well.
Mobile apps are definitely the way to go for all companies that want to engage its customers, drive sales and boost revenues at a not-so-exorbitant budget. It is one of the best options to leverage digital technology to enhance customer experience and, thus, satisfaction.