App market ‘serves business travellers better than leisure’

Leisure travellers are being poorly served by mobile applications compared to those in the corporate travel sector.

Kenny Fraser, PricewaterhouseCooper global leader of performance improvement for technology, said the mobile revolution was just starting.

Speaking at The Travel Convention in Palma, Majorca, Fraser said products such as airline mobile check-in apps demonstrate that there is already “tremendous functionality available”.

But he said social media channels, many of which are more conveniently engaged with on mobiles than on PCs, and growth rates of 40% will see the sector increasingly threaten traditional companies.

“The holiday traveller is not necessarily that well served,” Fraser said. “You have so-called guide apps, some are great, some are not so good. It’s possible to get things wrong, it’s possible to undersell what you have got.”

Fraser said it would be a mistake to think this situation is acceptable because leisure travellers travel less frequently, arguing that the popularity of apps for rail journeys and bus timetables demonstrates mainstream appetite for mobile applications.

“People are used to accessing these apps. They will expect to see this happening in the holiday world as well.

“You do not see the big or small operators really using this technology, and the risk if you do not is very straightforward – this market can be taken away from you.”

Trends he forecast for the mobile travel sector included established non-travel names like Amazon and Tesco moving into the sector, the increasing use of augmented reality and the increasing power of the crowd.

“People will be coming into your shops and on to your websites saying, ‘I have heard this is the best thing to do here, get me there and make sure I have that experience’,” he said. 

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