Handy Group confirms airline talks

Mobile travel content specialist Handy Group is in discussions with a number of major scheduled airlines about services for passengers.

The company, which has carried out work in the past for Cosmos Group and Hotels4u, has witnessed a surge in interest in services for mobile phone in recent months.

It is also officially re-launching as a business this week with a series of promotions and events.

Chief executive Michael Lacy said research carried out with 1,400 travel, retail and ticketing businesses, showed half had mobile distribution somewhere within their strategy.

“We have had a couple of false starts with mobile but now people are looking at it in terms of it augmenting their existing business or impact existing online business. Six months ago people were taking a wait and see approach.”

Lacy attributed the renewed interest in improved capability on mobile phones with the advent of the iPhone, Blackberry and similar copycat devices.

He added that connectivity had also improved with the roll out of the HSDPA doubling the speed of 3G and the introduction of ‘all you eat’ tariffs.

“Content is still the bit that is missing because there is still very little out there and it is up to companies like us to put content delivery solutions out there.”

Despite the increased number of players in the market Lacy said the real competition came from customers deciding to do it themselves.

“They are relying on a fixed line website but that assumes they have a keyboard and are sitting down. Trying to replicate those processes for someone on the move in hard work.”

Lacy also said flight information and mobile check-in, searching for hotels and travel product comparison would be the most likely uses of mobile distribution in the short term.

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