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How the online travel booking industry can benefit from a mobile first approach

Imagine, it’s October 1990. You want to plan your next family vacation and need to find out all you can about destinations, hotels, flights, transfers, vaccines, restaurants, etc. What do you do? The only thing you could do at that time. You'd head on over to your friendly travel agent who assists you as best they can, hopefully with all the knowledge and information you need.

Isn’t it amazing how far we’ve come from this? The power of the internet combined with information accessibility through mobile has given travel websites & travel apps access to a market showing incredible growth. Statista expects this global market to grow by 18% to $817.54 Billion USD in 2020 - to put that number into perspective – the global mobile smartphone market produces annual sales of around $480 Billion USD. The online travel market is already nearly double the value.

Traveller is in charge:

As one would expect, in a sizeable & growing market, competition is fierce. Travelers are more empowered than ever. Finding and booking the next travel destination has never been easier - they literally have the world at their fingertips, thanks to the likes of Google, TripAdvisor, Zomato, LonelyPlanet and so forth. They also have the added benefit of social media hashtags and reference reviews to really seal the travel deal. Not only are they researching their destinations, but they’re ensuring they get the most bang for their buck. Which is why it’s the perfect opportunity for travel brands to rethink the customer journey. Loyalty combined with its favorable points and discounts has become very popular amongst the travel industry. They drive sign ups, but the problem is, those same people are also signing up with competitors. Think about it, how many flight or hotel sites do you check before you book your next trip?

This is backed up by Google and Greenberg who state that loyalty programs are not even one of the top three considerations when choosing which brand to book travel with. Customer service is actually the clear priority (60%), followed by an easy-to-use website (55%) and online reviews (50%). Loyalty programs come in fourth! So, how do you then ensure a better customer experience than your competitor? One area to focus on is making your brand easily accessible to your customers, empowering them with the ability to reach you on their preferred channel. This does add potential complexity as with the multitude of social chat apps out there, managing them all while remaining efficient is a big challenge. There are solutions here though - read more about how you can give your customers fast support and live chat customer service via multiple channels with CM Customer Contact.

Winning with mobile:

While the majority of travelers still use their desktop PCs and laptops to book their holidays, there are a growing number of people who are booking last minute deals through their mobile phone and tablets. Websites and apps such as SafariNow and provide travelers with a surplus of information about destinations and accommodation options from all over the world. At their fingertips.

A recent survey done by Opera Mediaworks in which 85 percent of respondents said they use mobile devices to book travel activities, indicates exactly how important the mobile device is when it comes to booking travel. Mobile is the number one travel and booking enabler, it creates a unique opportunity for travel brands to maximize returns by doing mobile right.

With technology advancing all the time, and the rapid growth rate in mobile travel bookings, the future is bright for the travel industry. Together with ensuring your message is seen using mobile search, display and social ads, it is just as important to ensure the right message is sent, via the right channel, at the right time. That’s not all, ensuring the booking experience is seamless and is something travelers will remember positively and share with their friends, goes a long way.

How do you ensure you’re making the most of your mobile engagement strategy and offering excellent customer support? Ensuring you have one cloud communications platform that can do it all is a good start – by this we mean, understand your data sources, build and compile your messaging strategy, get that message across reliably through a range of available channels, and provide the feedback mechanisms for your customers to engage you, along with the ability to analyse the data so you can continuously refine your engagement strategies. This is where our platform can help you. We have some really interesting use cases too - Read about how SafariNow approached mobile first as they notify its bookers and sellers of booking confirmations, incoming quotes, inquiries and cancellations.

If you would like to know more about how mobile can guarantee the future of your travel business, feel free to contact us or take a look at our platform – it’s free to sign up and test.

Questions? talk to us

Contact us

Questions? talk to us

Contact us
is the Snr. Digital Marketing Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at She is passionate about digital marketing and customer experience. She is dedicated and committed to enhancing the brand locally using strategic marketing campaigns via various channels.

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