Mobile's Impact on Travel Planning & Booking - 2016: A Tipping Point A Mediassociates Knowledge Center Publication

The world of travel is changing, fueled by consumer shifts in device usage. This newsletter contains excerpts from leading industry reports on how people are revolutionizing the way they travel with mobile handsets and tablets ... and how marketers are responding.

The proliferation of mobile screens is having a dramatic impact on consumer behaviors. The majority of US households now own multiple connected devices providing them with a variety of options to interact with brands and services.

Source: Travel Decisions in a Multiscreen World - Expedia Media Solutions & ComScore

Data shows that access to multiple devices deeply affects how consumers move through the travel purchase journey. Many consumers now toggle between desktop and mobile devices, using them interchangeably.

Source: Travel Decisions in a Multiscreen World - Expedia Media Solutions & ComScore

Smartphones are being used not only for planning on the go, but also at home or at work. On the go (mid-trip, running errands), tablets and smartphones are more often the devices of choice for additional travel planning or trip changes.

According to eMarketer estimates, for the first time ever in 2016, the majority of travelers who book travel via digital means will do so using a mobile device (51.8%). This represents a 22% year over year increase.

Travel sales via mobile devices is also expected to continue its rapid rate of growth, with mobile spending projected to become 46% of all digital travel sales in the US by 2019.

Travel service providers and media companies are taking note and introducing enhanced mobile services for consumers at a rapid pace. Here are three travel trends for 2016 that are being heavily influenced by mobile technologies.

Mobile Travel Planning

Google has just introduced a new travel planning tool, Destinations on Google. Destinations on Google aims to take much of the hassle out of planning vacations. It isn’t a standalone app or website, but instead is built into Google search, offering up detailed information and itineraries based on users’ search terms when relevant, while staying hidden away in the background the rest of the time.

Destinations is tightly integrated with Google Flights and Hotel Search, so once a user has decided where they want to go, Google takes over to automate as much of the process as possible. If you’re not sure exactly when you want to go somewhere but you have a rough idea, the Flexible Dates feature helps you book a trip within a specific time frame, finding the best price in the process.

Perhaps most interesting is that at launch, Destinations on Google only works on mobile devices. This is by design. Google found that in 2015, the company’s search engine saw a 50 percent increase in travel-related questions on mobile phones. And so it set out to solve the problem of how to answer the various vacation questions (Where? When? How much?) on a small screen.

Personalized Travel Services
Disney's MyMagic+

Disney is said to have invested upwards of $1 billion dollars to build a wireless ecosystem that provides guests frictionless access to their hotels, resorts and theme parks. The MyMagic+ system uses a combination of microchip-embedded wristbands that function as all-in-one tickets, room keys and credit cards and mobile apps to allow for improved visitor flow, higher customer satisfaction and has even allowed Disney to accommodate extra visitors into the parks during the busy holiday periods.

Mobile Beacons in France's Nice Côte d’Azur Airport

Nice Cote d’Azur Airport is leveraging beacon technology to put personalized information at passengers’ fingertips through the airport’s new multifunctional app. The new app was launched to coincide with the recent opening of Nice Cote d’Azur Airport’s refurbished Terminal 1 retail area and will also support the refurbishing of the commercial area of Terminal 2 in 2016.

Nice Cote d’Azur Airport is providing passengers at the airport with real-time, relevant information each step of the way. With beacons installed throughout the terminal, passengers who are using Nice Cote d’Azur Airport’s app will also receive retail information and offers relevant to their specific location. The Airport Premier Club passengers using the app will automatically earn points as they pass through the airport.

Spot Travel Discovery App

Spot, a travel discovery app that launched as a private beta last June, made its public debut in the App Store this week. Spot seeks to put a personalized spin on traditional recommendation services like Yelp and Foursquare.

"The most fundamental difference between us and other travel and local apps is that Spot ranks places according to expert opinion and recommendations from friends, rather than ratings and reviews from strangers," says Luke Groesbeck, the creator of the app. "That 'experts and friends' calculus is the same way that most of us make decisions about where to go in practice; it's based on real-world user behavior."

Cloud Passports

Australians have access to biometric passports that store personal information, allowing them to travel effortlessly to select countries and quickly clear immigration via a SmartGate. But the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, wants to take it a step further and introduce virtual passports, using cloud-stored data.

Like the e-passport, a cloud passport would contain personal information like biometric data, a digital photo, and other identification. Not only would it eliminate the need to carry an actual passport, but according to the Sydney Morning Herald, it could cut down the number of missing or stolen passports. Bishop acknowledges that any system that’s implemented must satisfy security requirements, particularly given current events, but has the potential to “go global.”

Closer to home, border control at airports in Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and Seattle are testing an app called Mobile Passport Control, which lets users submit information electronically and have a QR code scanned by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. However, travelers will still need to carry their physical passports – for now.

Published by the Mediassociates Knowledge Center

Mediassociates is an agency specializing in media buying, social and analytics. We follow the trends to bring better thinking to you.

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