TDS16: Era of mobile means it’s a fantastic time to be in travel, says Facebook

TDS16: Era of mobile means it’s a fantastic time to be in travel, says Facebook

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Emerging forms of new media are not shifting consumer behaviour but causing a shift in channel mix, Facebook told last week’s Travel Distribution Summit in London.

Catherine Fitzgerald, travel lead UK and Ireland at Facebook and Instagram, said:

“We are now formally in the era of mobile. It’s here. There’s no doubt most companies know the power that mobile communications in bringing.

“At the heart of this is it’s about people; brands being able to talk to people, inspire than and tell stories that really brings this to life.

“Mobile is not a technology, it’s a consumer behavior. Being able to touch somebody at every stage of the travel journey means it’s a fantastic time to be in the travel industry.

“It will be a little bit rough at times but certainly the power is in your hands.”Fitzgerald said being mobile first means more immersive and interactive engagement with customers and the speed of the adoption of technology gets faster and faster.

Temple Run 2 recently became the fastest growing digital product reaching 50 million users in just 13 days, said Fitzgerald.

Facebook believes people will spend more time in a smaller number of favourite apps, meaning it will be the leading platform to enable brands to connect with clients.

“There is no point building your own app unless you consider there to be real utility in it. In the app world where there is real utility we are using them increasingly.

“And we will use them in the virtual reality world,” said Fitzgerald.

“Media consumption is stacking, not shifting. We have not created more hours in the day.

“There is a move towards more time spent in digital compared to other channels and a lot of that is taking place on mobile.

“The number of hours spent watching TV is declining but it still remains a powerful mass media play.”

Fitzgerald said Facebook moved to become a mobile first firm three years ago, seeing the trends that were emerging.

She claimed mobile remains a relatively untapped opportunity with just 2.5% of advertising revenues spent on mobile in the US whereas mobile accounts for 11% time spend online.

OTAs are ahead of the curve compared to hotel and airline operators in terms of exploiting Facebook and the rise of mobile, added Fitzgerald.

However, she cited Dutch airline KLM, which has started tests using Facebook’s Messenger app, which has been unbundled from the core Facebook platform, for customer service.

The carrier initially could not cope with the deluge of interactions so has had to limit the test to 10% of its audience.

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