Pine Cliffs to complete 50m Euro redevelopment

Pine Cliffs to complete 50m Euro redevelopment

Friday, 06 May 2016 12:00

Portugal’s...

New Arctic adventure from On The Go Tours

New Arctic adventure from On The Go Tour…

Friday, 06 May 2016 08:30

On The Go Tours has launched a one of a kind tour which will combine the green lands of Iceland and the icefields of Greenland in one incredible trip.

Viking Sea arrives in London

Viking Sea arrives in London

Thursday, 05 May 2016 17:06

Viking Sea was welcomed into London today. The largest ocean ship to be christened on the Thames the small cruise ship arrived for its naming ceremony in Greenwich.

Take in the Eurovision city of Stockholm this summer with Taber Holidays

Take in the Eurovision city of Stockholm…

Thursday, 05 May 2016 12:30

With Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, firmly under the Eurovision spotlight this month (May 14), now is a great time to plan a summer getaway to city says Scandinavia specialists, Taber Holidays.

Marlin Apartments teams up with SuperBreak

Marlin Apartments teams up with SuperBre…

Thursday, 05 May 2016 08:30

Marlin Apartments has partnered with SuperBreak to make all of its apartments in London bookable on the travel booking website.

New fares structure from bmi regional offers more flexibility

New fares structure from bmi regional of…

Wednesday, 04 May 2016 12:30

bmi regional is offering a greater level of flexibility and choice for travellers with its new ‘fare families’, offering a host of enhanced benefits and products across its network.

New agent booking platform from RCL Cruises

New agent booking platform from RCL Crui…

Wednesday, 04 May 2016 08:30

RCL Cruises Ltd – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises – are on the final countdown to switching over to a new more intuitive reservations system.

Battered Suitcase bespoke tours now bookable through agents

Battered Suitcase bespoke tours now book…

Tuesday, 03 May 2016 14:00

A series of bespoke tours operated by Battered Suitcase to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and historic, natural and cultural locations across all five continents are now bookable through travel agents.

Titan launches 2017 river cruise preview brochure

Titan launches 2017 river cruise preview…

Tuesday, 03 May 2016 08:38

Titan is exclusively chartering a river cruise vessel for the whole of 2017 for the first time.

AWTE announces new line-up of board directors

AWTE announces new line-up of board dire…

Monday, 02 May 2016 12:00

The Association of Women Travel Executives (AWTE) held its 2016 AGM in London last month, hosted by Hill Dickinson, and has announced the new line-up of board directors.

King Jason Protaras opens

King Jason Protaras opens

Monday, 02 May 2016 08:30

The King Jason Collection has opened its second hotel, The King Jason Protaras.

Votes for Travel Bulletin Star Awards now OPEN!

Votes for Travel Bulletin Star Awards no…

Friday, 29 April 2016 14:11

Agents - cast your votes! Voting for Travel Bulletin’s Star Awards 2016 is now officially open.

Wendy Wu Tours highlights Bhutan visit

Wendy Wu Tours highlights Bhutan visit

Friday, 29 April 2016 11:56

Wendy Wu Tours is promoting two trips where travellers can follow in the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s royal tour to India and Bhutan.

Scenic reaches new South East Asia shores

Scenic reaches new South East Asia shore…

Friday, 29 April 2016 08:30

Scenic has issued its latest South East Asia brochure for intrepid explorers to begin planning their next luxurious adventure featuring a new itinerary.

The Champagne Tour Co. launches child-friendly excursions with 25% saving

The Champagne Tour Co. launches child-fr…

Thursday, 28 April 2016 14:00

With Brits drinking more champagne than any other nation, many parents would love to visit the champagne region themselves to learn more about their favourite tipple, but are reluctant to...

Thailand offers from Premier Holidays

Thailand offers from Premier Holidays

Thursday, 28 April 2016 10:57

Premier Holidays has unveiled a hand-picked selection of new special offers promoting holidays to Thailand as part of a new destination marketing campaign.

 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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