Celebrity Cruises launches new Celebrity Escapes city break packages

New entertainment breaks from Warner Leisure Hotels

New entertainment breaks from Warner Lei…

Wednesday, 24 August 2016 11:00

Warner Leisure Hotels has launched two new midweek entertainment breaks, the ‘Best of British Party’ break which celebrates all things great about the British Isles and the ‘Jet Set Generation’...

Luton extends free Wi-Fi offer

Luton extends free Wi-Fi offer

Wednesday, 24 August 2016 08:00

Passengers flying through Luton Airport (LLA) can now receive up to four hours of free Wi-Fi.

Innsbruck gets guests back to nature with free hiking programme

Innsbruck gets guests back to nature wit…

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 14:00

All visitors to Innsbruck and its 25 holiday villages can take part in the Innsbruck mountain hiking programme.

Golden Eagle journeys to the land of the midnight sun for 2017

Golden Eagle journeys to the land of the…

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 11:00

Golden Eagle Luxury Trains has introduced a new tour travelling deep into the Arctic Circle. Departing on June 15, 2017, the journey takes in remote communities, wildlife and serene forests. 

Free upgrade from Avalon

Free upgrade from Avalon

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 08:00

Avalon Waterways has launched a free upgrade offer worth more than £1,100 per person on all 2017 European river cruises.

Virgin Atlantic introduces sleep aids to help reduce the effects of jet lag

Virgin Atlantic introduces sleep aids to…

Monday, 22 August 2016 14:00

Virgin Atlantic has introduced bespoke aromatherapy on board as part of a new package of relaxation products to help customers get the best sleep.

Just Another Day with Western Australia in September roadshows

Just Another Day with Western Australia …

Monday, 22 August 2016 11:00

Tourism Western Australia recently unveiled its tourism marketing campaign; Just Another Day in Western Australia (WA).

Advantage celebrates members' successes at debut event

Advantage celebrates members' successes …

Monday, 22 August 2016 08:52

Advantage is holding a standalone event celebrating members and their successes.

Avalon Waterways targets younger market with active Danube discovery

Avalon Waterways targets younger market …

Friday, 19 August 2016 15:00

Avalon Waterways has launched its 2017 brochure with a new type of European river cruise featuring active excursions and local authentic experiences to appeal to a new and potentially younger...

Travchat community creates new 'Wonders' list

Travchat community creates new 'Wonders'…

Friday, 19 August 2016 13:30

An inspirational travel wishlist has been compiled by an online travel community (#Travchat on Twitter) following votes from travellers for seven bespoke ‘Wonders’ of the world.

Balkan highlights Bulgaria for clients seeking a budget ski break

Balkan highlights Bulgaria for clients s…

Friday, 19 August 2016 11:00

Balkan Holidays is offering a number of incentives to help clients seeking a ski or snowboard break on a budget at the three Bulgarian resorts of Bansko, Pamporovo and Borovets.

EVA Air offers customers shopping coupons with self check-in

EVA Air offers customers shopping coupon…

Friday, 19 August 2016 08:00

Travellers with EVA Air can now receive a coupon entitling them to a 15% discount on duty free shopping items purchased on board.

Rio 2016 comes to Trafalgar Square with Brazil Day

Rio 2016 comes to Trafalgar Square with …

Thursday, 18 August 2016 14:00

Four years on from the 2012 Games, the Olympic spirit is to return to London on September 10 with a celebration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in...

Norwegian unveils new partnership with BLOC Hotel Gatwick

Norwegian unveils new partnership with B…

Thursday, 18 August 2016 11:00

Norwegian has partnered with BLOC Hotel Gatwick to enable the airline’s loyalty scheme members to save costs on flights when staying at the hotel.

Funway expands Caribbean offering with launch of new brochure

Funway expands Caribbean offering with l…

Thursday, 18 August 2016 08:00

Today, Funway Holidays has launched its Mexico & Caribbean 2017 brochure.

 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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