Smartphones and tablets will be the key customer service tool in travel within the next five years, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2013.
By its very nature, travel is a mobile activity – so the travel trade is using mobile devices before, during and after trips to communicate with customers.
Although communications on-the-go offer great opportunities, travel firms must also be aware that they increase customer expectations, states the report, produced in association with Euromonitor International.
Travellers now expect real-time answers and greater customisation, wherever they are and at any time, before, during and after the trip.
TUI Travel, Singapore Tourism Board, and InterContinental Hotels, are among those which have spotted the potential of mobiles, says the report unveiled at the first day of World Travel Market in London.
TUI Travel’s Digital Assistant app offers customers advice before departure, during their holiday and on their return.
YourSingapore Guide app by the Singapore Tourism Board aims to enable visitors to enjoy their personalised Singapore experience as smoothly as possible.
InterContinental Hotels’ Concierge Insider Guides app offers insights provided by company concierges in its 127 world locations.
Peter Long, Chief Executive of TUI Travel Plc, said: “Mobile is revolutionising customer relationships. The Digital Assistant app is a tool where we think we can really build that intimacy of relationship of treating the customer as an individual and that is very different from the way typically today travel providers work.”
Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International Head of Travel and Tourism Research, said: “By 2017, the mobile channel is expected to account for more than 30% of online travel value sales. All the signs indicate that mobile will be at the core of customer relationships in travel.”