Back when Cat Stevens’ “Wild World” first hit the airwaves, Richard Nixon was president of the United States, the Ford Pinto had just been introduced to the market, and the first New York City marathoners were lining up for the starting gun. And just over one year prior, in July 1969, man landed on the moon using computing technology 120 million times less powerful than the mobile devices we hold in our hand today. Needless to say, times have changed.
The considerations of travel managers have changed substantially over this period as well. In the 1990s, the Internet and its impact on the industry was undeniable, fundamentally changing the travel booking process. Today, mobile technology is being adopted eight times faster than web adoption was in the 1990s and early 2000s. For the savvy travel manager, this is certainly not fresh news. What developments are in store for this sector, however, and how can they successfully be incorporated into your travel program?
Mobile Use Surpasses Internet
According to the International Telecommunication Union’s 2016 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) report, the number of mobile broadband subscriptions has surpassed the number of households with Internet globally. Although the rate of mobile growth has slowed in the recent past, there is now an estimated 95% of the global population (around seven billion people) living in an area covered by a basic 2G mobile-cellular network. The prevalence of mobile and its importance to all industries, including travel, is therefore on pace to increase substantially.
Travel Industry Impact
Mobile technology research from CWT demonstrates that travel managers are well aware of this phenomenon, with mobile technology identified as the highest-impact trend for travel managers. Survey results showed that 92% of travel managers expect mobile technology to make an impact, and 72% consider this impact to be high.
Actions to Take
All of this is well and good, but what should travel managers do to take stay on top of, and take advantage, of this trend?
Ensure Seamless Multichannel Access for Travelers
Confirm that your website or mobile app is compatible with multiple devices, as this will continue to be the norm in the future, especially as Millennial business travelers become the majority in the next five to ten years.
Solicit Feedback and Make Any Necessary Changes
The importance of soliciting traveler feedback has been well documented, and mobile is certainly no exception. Survey your travelers regularly to ensure your mobile presence, whether an app or an optimized website, is user-friendly and address any issues with your travel management company or online booking tool.
Communicate New Features and Developments
Make sure travelers are aware of any new features or developments for mobile apps or optimized websites by communicating the changes and clearly outlining the benefits.
In looking to the future, it’s an increasingly mobile world we are going to find ourselves in. By taking some proactive steps to capitalize on this trend on pace to substantially increase worldwide, travel managers can set their program up for success in 2017 and beyond.