Air New Zealand to use Google Cardboard for UK agent training

Air New Zealand to use Google Cardboard …

Thursday, 08 October 2015 10:00

Air New Zealand is using Google Cardboard technology to share a virtual reality immersive experience with the UK travel trade.

New chill-out beach club at Fuerteventura’s five-star Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real

New chill-out beach club at Fuerteventur…

Thursday, 08 October 2015 07:00

Fuerteventura’s Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real has completed the creation of Coco Beach, the island’s first dedicated chill-out beach club and lounge.

Cosmos Tours refreshes brand name

Cosmos Tours refreshes brand name

Wednesday, 07 October 2015 15:00

Cosmos Tours has confirmed it will continue to use the name and strengthen its customer proposition after the Monarch Group’s announcement to drop the Cosmos brand.

New baggage allowance finder from APH

New baggage allowance finder from APH

Wednesday, 07 October 2015 12:00

Whether you’re a mum trying to find out if a baby seat is safe for a flight, or a keen cyclist trying to figure how take your bike to America,...

Cosmos Holidays changes name to Monarch

Cosmos Holidays changes name to Monarch

Wednesday, 07 October 2015 10:45

The transition of the tour operator, currently trading as Cosmos Holidays, to the Monarch Brand will start from today.

Viva Las Vegas with Warner Leisure Hotels

Viva Las Vegas with Warner Leisure Hotel…

Wednesday, 07 October 2015 07:00

Warner Leisure Hotels has announced a ‘Viva Las Vegas’ themed break, which will be available at seven of the company’s properties.

Phase one of Gatwick’s £1billion investment takes off

Phase one of Gatwick’s £1billion investm…

Tuesday, 06 October 2015 16:10

Gatwick Airport’s £1billion investment in its ongoing transformation is being realised with the first phase of a new departures level opening this month in the North Terminal.

Malta’s first Civil Unions Fair highlights demand from same-sex couples

Malta’s first Civil Unions Fair highligh…

Tuesday, 06 October 2015 08:49

After announcing Malta’s first Civil Unions Fair earlier this year, the Phoenicia Hotel in Valletta reports that it has been 'overwhelmed by demand' from the UK and other countries, highlighting...

X Factor finalists Fifth Harmony to perform live at Atlantis Paradise Island

X Factor finalists Fifth Harmony to perf…

Friday, 02 October 2015 12:00

Fifth Harmony, finalists on the X Factor USA, are taking to the stage at Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas, on October 10 to perform live at the Atlantis Theatre.

Love2Shop vouchers from Avalon

Love2Shop vouchers from Avalon

Thursday, 01 October 2015 12:00

Avalon Waterways is offering up to £500 off per person on a choice of 2016 European cruises with a free Apple iPad mini 2 for customers booking before November 10,...

No1 Lounges unveils new Clubrooms product at Gatwick

No1 Lounges unveils new Clubrooms produc…

Thursday, 01 October 2015 07:00

No1 Lounges has announced the launch of Clubrooms, a new lounge product which offers an exclusive experience at the airport with privacy and a tailored service.

Salsa on the Seine with CroisiEurope

Salsa on the Seine with CroisiEurope

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 12:00

CroisiEurope is inviting guests to salsa their way down the Seine on a five-day Latin dance themed cruise round trip from Paris departing on October 25.

Jordan Tourism Board announces six-month marketing campaign

Jordan Tourism Board announces six-month…

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 07:00

The Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) has launched a six-month marketing campaign to highlight the destination’s hospitality, history, culture and discovery.

Triple offer for London’s new musical from Encore

Triple offer for London’s new musical fr…

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 07:00

Kinky Boots the musical is the new hit show in London, and Encore Tickets has the best value in town for group travel organisers and coach tour operators.

Iberia Group to launch Birmingham-Madrid route

Iberia Group to launch Birmingham-Madrid…

Tuesday, 29 September 2015 12:00

From March 27 next year Iberia Express will operate four flights a week to the Spanish capital.

 Mobilising the Travel Industry

From the staycation to the reduction in business budgets, the travel industry’s revenues have plummeted over the past two years. And while the Internet has enabled organisations to streamline some processes to reduce cost and provide rapid access to information, there are still huge untapped opportunities to increase revenues, drive down customer service costs and streamline booking and check-in processes.

Unprecedented Challenge

Last year saw the biggest decline in air passenger traffic in the post-war era, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata). Passenger traffic dropped by 3.5% from a year earlier, while freight traffic fell 10.1% as the downturn hit demand. The cost has been huge: Iata has estimated that airlines collectively lost $11bn (£6.8bn) last year, and stand to lose a further $5.6bn this year.*

The industry believes that the worst has passed. However, adjusting to 2.5 to 3.5 years of lost growth means that airlines face another tough year, and must focus on matching capacity carefully to demand and controlling costs.

The falling airline revenue has, of course, been matched by a decline in income for many sectors of the travel industry, from ferries to hotels, parking services to travel companies. And while some UK venues reported an upturn in 2009 as a result of the ‘staycation’ trend, a second successive poor summer far from boosted the credentials of the UK tourist industry. For every part of the industry, price is key but engendering customer loyalty remains a significant challenge.


Mobile Drive

So how is the travel industry going to address the challenges posed by this extraordinary decline in revenue? Certainly the shift towards online booking and online check-in has enabled the airline and hotel sectors to drive down costs. However, travel companies must now look beyond the Internet to attain further benefits in streamlined operations and improved customer service.

With growing numbers of users now opting for the mobile as the primary way of accessing the Internet, mobile marketing has become a key component of the sales process. Indeed, one major Japanese airline already claims to generate 5% of its sales via mobiles.

In a recent survey by EyeforTravel, 30% of travel companies reported investing in “mobile” for the first time in 2009 and 75% of those maintained that mobile will become an increasingly important element of their digital strategies. Notably, the overwhelming majority of companies surveyed view SMS as a more effective marketing and communications tool than email.

In fact, 80% of travel companies now use SMS to communicate with customers; and 60% are also using SMS internally to make business processes more efficient. But this approach is merely scratching the surface and will do little to address the cost reduction and customer loyalty issues now facing this marketplace.

Prioritising Activity

Mobile technology offers significant additional opportunities to drive down costs and improve customer loyalty. The challenge is prioritising activity and ensuring that service quality matches the demands of an increasingly savvy mobile user population. Right now, there is a real opportunity to streamline the post sales process, leveraging proven, robust mobile solutions to deliver value added customer services that make the travel process smoother for the customer, but also less expensive to deliver for the industry.

Certainly the demand is there, with users actively seeking the convenience of information to their mobile. Globally, the number of subscribers using mobile Internet services is predicted to rise from 577million currently, to top 1.7billion by 2013 and in the recent survey by PhoCusWright, 64% of respondents were keen to use their phone to access directions, over 50% to receive flight status alerts and over 30% thought receiving special offers on their phone would be a bonus.

By integrating mobile solutions with core booking systems, travel companies can now deliver booking confirmation and information to customers via SMS, as well as day of travel reminders. The process is automated and significantly reduces the cost of customer communication. In addition, this information can be supported by travel service updates, location based direction services, including maps, and local weather/travel information – all services that can be delivered at a low cost to provide significant customer value.

Additional Services

This provision of valuable and timely information also enables the company to up sell using promotional and last minute offers for both its own services and ancillary services including insurance, hotels, car hire, parking and airport transportation. This enables organisations to cost effectively tap in to a new revenue stream whilst also extending the customer perception of the trusted brand.

Companies can also reduce the cost of managing problems. By notifying passengers via SMS of cancellations and delays, itinerary changes and updates, the business can significantly reduce customer service costs. Even when passengers are en route, changes such as gate reallocation or simple departure reminders can both improve the customer experience and reduce expensive delays caused by lost or misplaced passengers.

Looking ahead, the mobile device offers travel companies amazing opportunities to drive out cost. Mobiles have the potential to hold boarding passes, baggage tracking information and payment data making travel truly paperless and location independent. There is also the future possibility that the mobile could be used to store visa and biometric information. What’s more, improvements in network speeds and the advent of 3.5 G and 4G will make accessing and distributing this information instantly from the mobile device a reality.


The Internet may have changed the travel industry beyond recognition, but the widespread adoption of mobile technologies will undoubtedly deliver another fundamental step forward to drive down costs and improve the customer experience. As the industry faces its toughest financial challenge in decades, those organisations that embrace mobile technology will be best placed to improve brand interaction, drive down customer service costs and fundamentally improve the entire travel process from booking to arrival and beyond.

* Source: bbc.
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