WTM08 – Quarter of travel firms are mobile-ready

Research into the travel industry’s use of mobile has found that 22% of suppliers already have a web site specifically designed for mobile internet.

EyeForTravel asked 800 travel suppliers – including OTAs, airlines and hotels – a range of questions in advance of its conference at WTM today (Tuesday).

The number of businesses with mobile-compatible web sites is set to increase from the 22% level, with 29.7% looking to invest in their mobile offering during 2009.

A further 14.6% expect to earmark funds for development during 2010.

Responses echoed comments made in the panel session by BA‘s Chris Carmichael about what are the most effective ways a travel business can use mobile.

Customer service had the highest viability, with mobile as a payment platform seen as the least viable. Customer acquisition was also seen as unrealistic aim for mobile devices.

Presenting the study, EyeForTravels’ head of research Amy Scarth suggested that  the “evolution of mobile users will be comparable with PC users”.

In response to a question from the floor about whether mobile phone owners would be put off by the complexity of their devices, Scarth said: “My gran is now using the internet to book tickets which she would never have done when she started going online.

“A similar thing will happen as consumers become more accustomed to having the internet on their mobile.”

Overall, more than three-quarters felt that mobile will end up changing the way their business communicates with customers.

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