Scoot Ferries to run special Cowes Week service

Scoot Ferries to run special Cowes Week service

Thursday, 30 July 2015 09:21

Scoot Fe...

Shearings launches 2015/16 Autumn & Winter brochure

Shearings launches 2015/16 Autumn & …

Thursday, 30 July 2015 08:57

Shearings Holidays has issued its 2015/16 Autumn Winter programme with new breaks and details on its Christmas and New Year holiday range.

Extended summertime hours at Gardaland Resort

Extended summertime hours at Gardaland R…

Thursday, 30 July 2015 08:47

Until September 13, Gardaland Resort is extending the park’s opening times until 23:00, following the success of its evening event, ‘Gardaland Night is Magic’.

Ranch Rider adds Epic Namibian Horseback Safari

Ranch Rider adds Epic Namibian Horseback…

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 09:05

Ranch Rider is introducing a new 30-day mobile horseback adventure to its Africa collection.

Hotel Football books into the Quays Partnership

Hotel Football books into the Quays Part…

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 08:50

Football themed Hotel Football has joined The Quays Partnership, a group that promotes Greater Manchester's waterfront destination as a tourism destination in Britain.

Electric cars charge into Birmingham Airport

Electric cars charge into Birmingham Air…

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 08:31

Birmingham Airport has become one of the first British airports to join the Electric Highway and offer fast charging for electric motorists.

Rainbow Tours launches new Madagascar trips

Rainbow Tours launches new Madagascar tr…

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 08:14

Rainbow Tours has released a series of new Madagascar itineraries including a group tour led by destination expert Daniel Austin, plus a new tailor-made trip focusing on birding. The operator has...

Taber presents Icelandic package from £775

Taber presents Icelandic package from £7…

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 08:05

Taber Holidays is promoting a three-night stay in Reykjavik from £775 including a full-day Golden Circle excursion, which takes in some of Iceland’s most spectacular sights such as the geyser...

Grain Store Café & Bar to open this autumn at Gatwick Airport

Grain Store Café & Bar to open this …

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 08:00

Gatwick is to be home to the first offshoot of Chef Bruno Loubet and The Zetter Group’s Grain Store restaurant in King’s Cross, opening autumn 2015.

Nile cruise options from Anatolian Sky Holidays

Nile cruise options from Anatolian Sky H…

Monday, 27 July 2015 08:45

Anatolian Sky Holidays’ new Winter Collection brochure features a choice of options for clients in search of winter cruise options along the Nile.

TripAdvisor launches dedicated airport pages

TripAdvisor launches dedicated airport p…

Monday, 27 July 2015 08:41

TripAdvisor has launched dedicated airport pages, enabling travellers around the world to get information about what to do, where to eat and where to stay at 200 major airports around...

Butlin’s launches Little Mix show

Butlin’s launches Little Mix show

Monday, 27 July 2015 08:35

Fans of the British girl group Little Mix can ‘Salute’ their music with the company’s own singers and dancers in a new show for 2015.

Saga presents 17-night ‘Grand Tour of China’ option

Saga presents 17-night ‘Grand Tour of Ch…

Friday, 24 July 2015 07:00

Saga’s new escorted tour and river cruise offers guests an immersive discovery of ancient and modern China, including visits to ‘must see’ sights for first time visitors.

Railtrail Tours launches 4 Seasons brochure

Railtrail Tours launches 4 Seasons broch…

Friday, 24 July 2015 07:00

  Railtrail Tours has launched its 4 Seasons brochure including late summer and autumn tours for 2015, a festive programme including Christmas Markets and tours departing in spring 2016.

Jet2 continues its zero tolerance stance on aggressive behaviour

Jet2 continues its zero tolerance stance…

Thursday, 23 July 2015 08:00

Jet2.com has taken further action to protect its customers and cabin crew from aggressive behaviour on a flight from Glasgow Airport last week in a bid to stamp out anti-social...

Autumn savings from Journey Latin America

Autumn savings from Journey Latin Americ…

Thursday, 23 July 2015 07:00

Journey Latin America is offering savings on selected escorted small group journeys departing in September and October.

 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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