Airlines and hotels were some of the first enterprises to embrace the mobile commerce revolution, and they have never looked back. Today, mobile is at the core of travel e-commerce, and the industry continues to innovate and evolve as the market matures.
With the millennial segment traveling a lot more, airlines and hotels have had to enhance their mobile apps to deliver micro-moments and seamless experiences that their audience grown to expect. To achieve this, airlines and hotels have had to provide end-to-end service coverage that enables the following:
- Customer support
- In-destination booking
- Mobile car rental
- Mobile flight booking
- Mobile hotel check-in
According to research, last year, online travel sales (which included airline tickets, hotel, car rental, cruises, and more) added up to $189.62 billion in the U.S. alone. As much as 40% of these sales were completed on a mobile device, a 16.7% rise from 2016.
Mobile sales are expected to make up almost 50% of digital travel sales by 2021. So how is the travel industry adapting to cater to their growing tech-savvy audience? Let’s take a look.
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Upselling with Simple Calls-To-Action
Unlike mobile games or social media, hotel and travel apps have a very specific purpose. This makes it important to ensure that the end-user gets to do what they set out to do with minimal effort.
The Alaska Airlines app is a good example of this as the navigation menu has just three primary calls-to-action. So if the end user wants to book a trip, add a reservation, or view mileage balance, they can do so with just a click of a button.
Budget airline Ryanair recently added last-minute upselling for services like priority boarding or dedicated security lanes with a click of a button.
New Ways to Use Your Sky Miles
The Entertainer and Emirate Airlines recently partnered to launch the new Skywards Go app. Unlike other airline apps, this one provides two for one offers that you can buy using your Skyward miles.
These offers include dining and entertainment options in over twenty leading destinations from London to Singapore. Travelers also have the option of using their credit or debit cards within the app to book local tours or tickets.
There are many recommendations for those traveling to new cities, and it also comes with the option of creating wish lists and day plans. These can also be downloaded to use offline whenever you’re faced with expensive roaming charges.
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Singapore Airlines, on the other hand, has launched a blockchain powered loyalty program for KrisFlyer members. With this new KrisPay app and digital wallet, members will now be able to use their sky miles to make purchases at authorized merchants in Singapore.
Developed by KPMG and Microsoft, the KrisPay app is the first blockchain powered airline loyalty program. When making purchases at participating stores, every 15 KrisPay miles will be equivalent to SGD 0.10. These can be used to make partial or full payments by scanning a QR code.
Both Emirates Airlines and Singapore Airlines are finding new uses for their apps from dining to retail to entertainment. As these apps mature, you can expect them to add more vendors and offer many more promotions to their customer base.
This approach promises to increase engagement and help build loyalty in the months to come. In a highly competitive environment, you can expect other airlines to follow suit and incorporate more features to accommodate millennials and their needs.
Book a Room, a Ride, and Unlock Your Door
The Hilton hotel’s Hilton Honors app does more than allow you to search and book a room in over 4,600 hotels around the world. In fact, you can now book a room at any of their world-class hotels and book an Uber ride to it.
If you want to order food, drinks, or extra pillows, you can also request that through the app, and it will be there in your room when you arrive. Furthermore, guests can also check-in with their smartphone and provide feedback about the whole experience.
The Hilton Honors app also makes it easy to contact hotel staff, get directions to the hotel, and check the weather in the area. But the most exciting innovation is the fact that you can use your mobile phone to access your room. However, at present, mobile has only replaced smart door keys in 700 locations.