There is no doubt that mobile is the most disruptive force in the travel industry today and should only be ignored at your peril. EyeforTravel’s Mobile App in Travel Award is designed to recognise the travel companies who are innovating when it comes to mobile and investing to stay ahead of their competitors. Seven companies have been nominated for the award, which will take place in Berlin on 1st October, but which four will make the final cut? Voting closes on Friday!
So you think apps don’t work? Yes, unbelievably one of the findings from our latest research is that apps have relatively little support among hotel executives. In fact just 26% of the hotel executives interviewed for EyeforTravel’s recent Mobile in Hospitality Industry Report believe they actually work.
Fortunately, though, not everybody thinks that investing in mobile is a waste of time. In fact, 62% of executives interviewed acknowledge that mobile devices will see the biggest growth in booking volumes over the next 12 months.
But what are they doing about it? Well not all have been sitting on their laurels and the companies nominated for this year’s Mobile App in Travel awards have been innovating to ensure that they stay ahead of the game.
Interestingly, Intercontinental Hotels Group, one of the companies in the running to win this year’s award, has found that apps do actually work. So they have continued to invest, which could explain why it's the one of the highest rated hotel and travel apps on iTunes. In fact,IHG, which took part in EyeforTravel’s recent research, has found that 80% of return visits to their website are from app-installed customers.
IHG has found that 80% of return visits to their website are from app-installed customers
The big question, however, is whether a big name likeIHG will be crowned winner on October 1st at EyeforTravel’s Online Marketing, Mobile & Social Media in Travel 2014 in Berlin. The competition is coming from other big names but from smaller fry too. Aside from IHG,JetRadar, Jet2Holidays, hotels.com, Opodo (which has recently undertaken a redesign), Thomas Cook (which upped the game with a currency app) and relative newcomer Guidepal are in the running.
Once the final four are chosen, they will be judged on the following: design, usefulness, features, user experience, speed & performance, technology, marketing and, importantly, results.
As Marieke Flament, Marketing Director, Europe Middle East & Africa, for hotels.com admits getting mobile right is “super complex”. But for hotels.com there has been plenty of reason to invest in mobile. Given that 58% of hotels.com customers are booking for the same day or next, the firm is clear that they need to be where the customer is – and mobile is where it’s at. And with customers in 85 countries, speaking 50 different languages, there is also a clear need to localise. As EyeforTravel’s research shows, hotel groups are recognising the need for localisation and building territory specific sites.
One relative newcomer to the online travel scene, Guidepal, is hoping that it’s mission - to provide city guides that are completely objective, constantly updated, and created by people actually living in the city – will be rewarded. To date, they’ve had 6 million downloads and the goal is to become the concierge in travellers pocket. Aside from planning, users of Guidepal can now book in-destination activities such as tours concerts and nightclubs via the app. EyeforTravel’s research shows that consumer desire to book added in-stay services outstrips what hotels currently offer, so Guidepal could be on the right track.
But will the firm’s overall package be enough to become the app of the planet? The nominations are in, votes close this Friday (September 5) and the final four will be announced next week. Watch this space!
The Mobile App in Travel Award is taking place as part of EyeforTravel’s Online Marketing, Mobile & Social Media in Travel Europe (1-2 October, Berlin). For more details visit - http://events.eyefortravel.com/online-marketing-and-social-media/
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