The smartphone continues to shake up the way people research, book and experience travel. Nine in 10 consumers now use their mobile for vacation research and inspiration. Google data shows that 48 percent of U.S. travelers are comfortable with the mobile travel experience, completing the entire path to purchase with their phone.
What’s more, the fact that whenever people have their phone in their hand they have a chance to check prices and available deals is fuelling a trend for last-minute travel.
To capitalize on this trend, travel and tourism companies need to make sure that their mobile experience is up to scratch.
“Organizations need to realize that mobile is more than a touch point within a multichannel customer journey,” explains Joe Reynolds, VP Global Business Development at Sitel Group. “Mobile is now a customer journey in its own right.”
This means making the mobile travel experience as effortless and friction free as possible, starting with making sure mobile websites or apps are fast to load and optimized for the smartphone screen, rather than being pared down versions of desktop sites.
“For every extra second it takes for a mobile site to start loading, the bounce rate increases. But speed is one of two friction points,” says Reynolds. “The information that people are searching for has to be front and center when the page does load. Consumers are more likely to switch to your competitor’s site to find what they’re looking for than to stay with you via another channel.”
All of this is why mobile must be reevaluated as an experience in its own right rather than as part of an organization’s overall customer experience (CX).
“Taking this approach will make it easier for your organization to innovate and to find new ways of engaging with customers.” Reynolds points out. “It’s a channel that’s always open and one that can be used to continue offering customers assistance and services.”
Booking.com’s annual travel trends survey shows that in 2019, consumers increasingly see their mobile devices as the glue that holds the different elements of the vacation experience together.
As well as inspiration, researching and booking trips, travelers now expect their smartphone to work as their hotel room key, an on-the-fly guidebook and a concierge service. Indeed when asked what sorts of mobile innovations they’d be most excited about in the coming year, 57 percent of respondents said a single app for all planning, booking and travel needs.
“Travel and tourism organizations have an opportunity to leverage mobile as a tool for removing customer effort during a vacation,” says Reynolds. “A majority of U.S. leisure travelers don’t plan their activities until they arrive at their destination. Sending suggestions for sights to see, or restaurants to try for example, will add value, remove effort and enhance the customer experience.”
From implementing and managing an omnichannel approach to customer journey mapping, identifying and eradicating pain points and optimizing the digital experience, Sitel Group has the industry understanding and professional capabilities to remove effort and bring your organization closer to its customers.