Travel companies must adopt a culture of testing to create a ‘north star’ for the design of their mobile apps and let data guide their way.
That was the message from Amadeus and its data analytics partner Localytics at Travel Technology Europe.
Companies looking to get their apps right must learn to walk, and crawl, before they can run, said data analyst Rafael Aviles.
He suggested the use of push notifications, geo-location, a review system and targeted, personalised content in line with the user’s preferences, time zone and culture to improve engagement and conversions.
Apps in the travel industry have an uninstall rate of more than 30%, Localytics’ data showed, compared to around 6% for on-demand services and higher than the average.
But Aviles was keen to stress that travel firms must know the question they want to answer early in the development process, and take their time to ensure they collect the right data to make the app more user-friendly as it grows.
“Brands in the travel industry really need to get their users engaged,” he said. “The crawl part [of his analogy] is really important to get right because that’s where you are going to collect the data that will inform your strategy.
“Your marketing campaigns are only going to be as good as your data,” he added.
Michelle Batten, global head of marketing, Amadeus Mobile, said: “Slow and steady really does win the race when it comes to apps.”
Aviles said mobiles was now essential to firms’ omni-channel strategies and urged firms to set up their systems so that data collected via different devices for the same customer is integrated to give the best profile of that customer.
He said making notifications on mobile worked best when it was contextualised. For example, he said Localytics’ client Priceline had seen a 20% average rise in conversion rate for add-ons when it started timing push notifications to be sent when customers arrive in their destination.
Conversions on mobile are still lower than other industries, he added, sharing data that showed a 0.4% rate in travel against a 2% rate overall via Android phones and a rate of 0.2% against 0.5% on iOs devices.
But opening push notifications had a better success rate in travel than elsewhere. On Android, more than 9% or push notifications were opened compared to 6% across the board while 3%, compared to 2% overall, of iOs push notifications were opened by users of its clients’ apps.
However, Aviles stressed that conversion rate is far from the only metric by which to measure the success of an app, since with high-value purchases many consumers still prefer to transact on desktop or tablet – and went back to his previous statement.
“You must create a north star for your strategy by understanding exactly what the question you want to answer is,” Aviles said. “You have to look at the full picture.”