Advantage announces its ‘Big Celebration Lunch’ winners

Advantage announces its ‘Big Celebration Lunch’ winners

Friday, 30 September 2016 15:33

For the fi...

Anguilla Tourist Board welcomes direct airlift from San Juan

Anguilla Tourist Board welcomes direct a…

Friday, 30 September 2016 11:00

The Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB) and Seaborne Airlines have partnered to offer a new route to Anguilla for UK visitors.

Cosmos expands worldwide programme to include new private tours for 2017

Cosmos expands worldwide programme to in…

Friday, 30 September 2016 08:00

Cosmos Tours has broadened its worldwide programme to include a range of private tours, offering a more flexible and independent style of touring holiday in worldwide destinations.

Wendy Wu & Club Med team up to offer new China trips

Wendy Wu & Club Med team up to offer…

Thursday, 29 September 2016 11:00

Wendy Wu Tours and Club Med have joined forces to offer a series of exclusive ‘tour & stay’ packages to give customers the chance to experience the best of both...

Cape Town leads the field in Post Office Travel Money’s Long Haul Holiday Report

Cape Town leads the field in Post Office…

Thursday, 29 September 2016 08:00

After three years at the top of the best value rankings, price rises in Bali mean the Far Eastern favourite has been overtaken by Cape Town, which emerges as the...

Avalon Waterways supports CLIA’s ‘Plan a Cruise Month’

Avalon Waterways supports CLIA’s ‘Plan a…

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 14:00

Avalon Waterways is supporting CLIA’s ‘Plan a Cruise Month’ in October with savings of up to £1,350 per person and a free case of wine from Virgin Wines worth £140.

Top seats for André Rieu concert with Saga

Top seats for André Rieu concert with Sa…

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 11:00

Top seats at an André Rieu concert in Cologne, Germany, have been secured for Saga guests sailing on the music-themed cruise along the Rhine and her Tributaries on March 7,...

New airline launches from Luton Airport

New airline launches from Luton Airport

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 08:00

A new airline, Fly KISS, will commence three services from Luton Airport (LLA) on November 7, serving Clermont-Ferrand, Brest and Strasbourg.

Winter warmer flight deals with Air Transat

Winter warmer flight deals with Air Tran…

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 14:00

Air Transat is giving agents the chance to book winter warmer flight deals to the East and West Coast of Canada from £301 per person, when booked by October 4.

City Cruises adds multi-million boat to fleet

City Cruises adds multi-million boat to …

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 11:00

Last week saw the launch of City Cruises’ multi-million pound boat, the City Alpha.

Travel agents risk losing custom by playing generic music on hold

Travel agents risk losing custom by play…

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 08:00

Travel agents’ call handling standards have come into question as the result of a major new study into telephone practice.

Jet2.com & Jet2holidays land at Stansted

Jet2.com & Jet2holidays land at Stan…

Monday, 26 September 2016 14:00

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have marked a major step on their ongoing expansion with the launch of flights and holidays from Stansted Airport, their ninth UK airport base and the first...

A 'suite' sale from Caesars Entertainment

A 'suite' sale from Caesars Entertainmen…

Monday, 26 September 2016 11:00

For clients seeking the thrill and excitement of Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment is currently offering its largest ever discount on suite stays.

Collinson Group & Swissport collaborate to launch new T3 lounge at Heathrow

Collinson Group & Swissport collabor…

Monday, 26 September 2016 08:00

Airport Lounge Development (ALD), a subsidiary of Collinson Group, and Swissport are to launch a new lounge at Heathrow Terminal 3 in response to a significant increase in demand for...

Show your adventurous side to find love

Show your adventurous side to find love

Friday, 23 September 2016 13:40

British singletons are more successful in their bid to find love if they use a profile photo that suggests a taste for adventure and travel, according to new data released...

Korean Air and Delta to strengthen codeshare partnership

Korean Air and Delta to strengthen codes…

Friday, 23 September 2016 11:47

Korean Air and Delta Air Lines will strengthen their partnership by expanding codeshares to more than 100 U.S. and Canadian destinations and over 30 cities across Asia.

 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.


Conclusion

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. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8482654.stm
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