Qantas launches group travel website for agents

Qantas launches group travel website for agents

Wednesday, 25 November 2015 12:30

Qantas has...

New Haven park scheduled to open in Flamborough for 2016

New Haven park scheduled to open in Flam…

Wednesday, 25 November 2015 08:30

Haven has announced the addition of a new holiday park, which will open in Flamborough, Yorkshire next year following a £10million investment.

New York is apple of our eye for Xmas bookings according to momondo research

New York is apple of our eye for Xmas bo…

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 12:30 analysed its UK flight searches made over the last four months, for travel during this upcoming Christmas and New Year period.

eMinds launches new tech tool for tailor-made itineraries

eMinds launches new tech tool for tailor…

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 08:30

An all-in-one tool that allows operators and agents to create a complex itinerary in a couple of clicks has been launched by eMinds.

2017 barge bookings at 2016 prices from European Waterways

2017 barge bookings at 2016 prices from …

Monday, 23 November 2015 16:00

European Waterways is currently accepting advance bookings for the 2017 season at 2016 prices.

Earn commission on Heathrow Express tickets with Travelport

Earn commission on Heathrow Express tick…

Monday, 23 November 2015 12:30

Travelport has announced that travel agencies in the UK, Ireland and the Nordics can now earn commission on Heathrow Express tickets booked through Travelport Smartpoint.

Fred. Olsen releases five new exotic fly/cruises for 2016

Fred. Olsen releases five new exotic fly…

Friday, 20 November 2015 12:00

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is offering guests five newly released exotic fly/cruises in early 2016 on the 804-guest ship Black Watch.

Debut service between Newcastle & Barcelona from Vueling

Debut service between Newcastle & Ba…

Friday, 20 November 2015 08:30

Vueling has announced its first service from Newcastle International Airport to Barcelona for summer 2016.

Free Shrek's Adventure! London ticket with two-night bookings from SuperBreak

Free Shrek's Adventure! London ticket wi…

Thursday, 19 November 2015 12:00

SuperBreak has launched a new free attraction offer in London - the operator’s biggest and greenest deal to date.

New adventures for 2016/17 from Quark Expeditions

New adventures for 2016/17 from Quark Ex…

Thursday, 19 November 2015 08:30

Quark Expeditions has issued its 2016/17, 25th anniversary brochure for adventure travellers.

New easyJet route from London Southend

New easyJet route from London Southend

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 12:00

easyJet has commenced a new route to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands from London Southend.

North Carolina puts film fans in the picture

North Carolina puts film fans in the pic…

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 08:30

North Carolina will be launching movie tours of the state next year, and to promote the new itineraries the tourist board will be holding competitions with the trade.

Black Friday campaign from Funway

Black Friday campaign from Funway

Tuesday, 17 November 2015 12:30

To celebrate this month's Black Friday (November 27) Funway Holidays has put together a selection of holiday offers in its new #bookbyblackfriday campaign.

Manchester Airport welcomes new flights from Hainan Airlines

Manchester Airport welcomes new flights …

Tuesday, 17 November 2015 12:00

Manchester Airport is to welcome the launch of direct flights to Beijing from Hainan Airlines.

Soma Bay unveils Soma Breeze

Soma Bay unveils Soma Breeze

Tuesday, 17 November 2015 08:30

Soma Bay on Egypt’s Red Sea has unveiled its latest residential development, Soma Breeze.

Ethiopia launches new global brand

Ethiopia launches new global brand

Monday, 16 November 2015 12:00

The Ethiopian Tourism Organisation has launched a new global destination brand which will include the launch of a new website in January.

 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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