Cashing In On Mobile-Savvy Travellers - Gulf Business
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Cashing In On Mobile-Savvy Travellers

Cashing In On Mobile-Savvy Travellers

There are opportunities for the air transport industry to engage with customers and generate new revenues, writes the vice president business management airport solution line – SITA, Middle East, India and Africa.

Today smartphones are the traveler’s companion of choice. In fact, more than three-quarters of the world’s airline passengers carry a smartphone when they travel. That’s up from just 28 per cent in 2010, and it’s double the smartphone penetration among the general public.

The high level of mobile penetration can form the basis for a much richer travel experience–giving passengers unprecedented decision-making related to all aspects of their journey. This will include new apps and functionalities to manage their itineraries independently.

For airlines, mobile technology provides a great opportunity to generate more revenue, while getting closer to their customers across every stage of the journey. Majority of airlines are making big commitments to deliver that richer experience and mobile future for passengers. According to the latest Airline IT Trends Survey, some 81 per cent of them are increasing awareness of their mobile services and adding more services to increase the attractiveness of their mobile apps to the passenger.

From Managing The Journey To Addressing Stress

Today, mobile services’ functionality centers predominantly on the different stages of the passenger journey.

According to the Airline IT Trends Survey, two-thirds of airlines offer check-or flight search via mobile, and over half offer mobile boarding passes and flight status notifications. Soon passengers–in particular frequent flyers–will start to expect these services as standard.

However, over the next three years, we will see this focus extend to later stages of the trip as airlines support passengers on the move, interacting with them via mobiles throughout the entire journey.

This will provide more functionality to address some of the main sources of stress for passengers. For example, they will be able to access real-time baggage status updates at the airport, easily re-book after a delayed or cancelled flight, report a missing bag and engage with an airline or airport if things go wrong.

SITA’s iTravel–Empowering Passengers, While Driving Ancillary Revenues

SITA’s mobile app, iTravel, is delivering the functionalities needed to drive ancillary revenues, while improving customer service. At the same time, it’s empowering passengers to take control across the journey, tackling key steps along the way and featuring social network connectivity and content-aware passenger updates.

The app is enabled to deal with complex airline business rules and processes, such as merging flight availability with diverse fare options and payment rules, allowing delivery of rich features with relevant and accurate data to the passenger.

In fact, iTravel allows individual or combinations of services to be incorporated, so that passengers can book and pay for flights, check-in, and check airline as well as flight information.

Engaging With Customers—Anytime, Anywhere

Mobile apps, such as iTravel, mean airlines can engage with customers directly anywhere, at any time. This enables them, for example, to book and pay for tickets, as well as to check in, board and trace their baggage.

This type of instant connection holds great promise for the future. Whether through booking, with the possibility to advertise ‘deals and offers,’ or through the check-in process allowing customers to bypass the check-in queues, it provides an all-important direct relationship with passengers. And these passengers increasingly expect air travel functionality and information to be accessible on their mobile devices.

That’s why smartphones are the traveler’s companion of choice.

The Next Generation: Mobile Commerce, Localisation and Personalisation

The unique capabilities of smartphone technology, such as localisation and personalisation, also come with the potential for providing a seamless travel experience. Both airlines and airports have the opportunity to offer much more personalised and intuitive services – at just the right time and stage of the journey.

The fact is that constant mobile innovation promises to reshape the entire passenger journey. This will enhance the convenience and scope of mobile travel services, and self-service in general, while giving access to a wider and richer set of information and capabilities.

Clearly smartphones are putting passengers en route to savvier travel. What’s more, there are big opportunities for both the air transport industry and passengers to embrace a much richer travel experience via mobile technology. Smartphones are already the traveler’s companion of choice, mobility is no longer a hype but reality.


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