‘Travel websites with poor mobile offering could be penalised by Google’

‘Travel websites with poor mobile offering could be penalised by Google’

Google will penalise travel brands that do not have a responsive mobile-optimised website, according to travel technology firm Amadeus.

Writing in a blog post, head of mobile Michael Bayle said consumers are demanding a “seamless user experience” across all channels, with an ever-growing trend for mobile.

He suggests that travel industry players such as airlines, hotels, tour operators and rail providers should look to integrate with other firms within the industry which compliment them to give the customer an end-to-end service.

He said low-cost carriers were among the early adopters of mobile apps, which are the “perfect environment for their self-servicing needs” by offering built-in boarding passes, seat, luggage, priority, fast lane, food purchases and live flight updates.

Airlines, he added, are moving towards enabling the use of smart phones in the air rather than traditional in-flight entertainment.

Bayle wrote: “As we move towards an ‘immediate’ world, where consumers’ expect  information and answers within seconds, fully tailored customer service chatbots will come further into play, fuelled by the millions of WhatsApp, Line and WeChat users worldwide.

“Just as Twitter became the go to for social outcry when consumers were disrupted in travel, consumers will expect travel brands to remedy their concerns instantly.

“Clearly a responsive designed, mobile-optimized website is the pre-requisite mechanism to achieve this consistency. Further, given the majority of search queries now originate via mobile, the likes of Google will penalize brands which do not have this in place.”

He offered four areas for travel firms to focus on to optimise their mobile performance:

  • Focus on “swipe, pinch and tap” technology.
  • Pre-fill certain fields based on the location of the customer (eg. nearest airport).
  • Collaborate with “complementing” travel industry partners.
  • Sell extras to customers on the go via mobile apps.

Bayle’s conclusion? “In a customer-centric world, mobile will offer a natural platform to remain in frequent contact and boost loyalty – right from the minute they take an Uber to the airport to when they choose their in-flight menu, upgrade class or even look for a last-minute tour guide in a foreign destination: the possibilities are immense.”

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