Airlines are missing a major opportunity to drive more ancillary revenue from business travelers, according to a recent survey of 902 business travelers by FlightView, the day-of-travel information company.
According to FlightView's survey, more than half of all business travelers would consider purchasing in-flight amenities and services if offers were pushed to their mobile devices before they boarded the plane. Specifically, business travelers would consider mobile, day-of-travel purchases of:
In-flight WiFi 65.3%
Seat with extra legroom 55.4%
Business- or first-class ticket upgrade 50.2%
Early boarding privileges 43.0%
However, in the last 12 months, only 45 percent of business travelers have actually purchased a seat upgrade or add-on (such as in-flight WiFi) using an airline's mobile website or app.
"There is major opportunity to increase revenue and improve the travel experience by pushing relevant services via mobile," says Mike Benjamin, CEO of FlightView. "Our research shows that business travelers tend to purchase extras on an as-needed, opportunistic basis, which makes deciding how and when to present ancillary service offers a complex challenge for airlines."
Beyond day-of-travel purchases, business travelers are also leveraging mobile devices to search for and book travel-related services. Of the 75% of respondents that reported owning a tablet:
69.5% use their tablet to search for flights
55.7% leverage their tablet to check hotel options
35.8% search for ground transportation
Mobile search, however, doesn't always translate to mobile purchases. Only 61.8 percent of business travelers have actually booked a ticket using their tablet, and even less (52.9%) have purchased tickets on a smart phone.
"Mobile adoption has taken a strong hold amongst the travel-savvy, and now airlines must focus on converting mobile usage to mobile purchases," says Benjamin. "The key is simplifying the purchasing process and making it more relevant and timely for business travelers, and that can only be accomplished by putting forth a reliable, highly-functional offering."
While airlines have made great strides to improve the overall usability and functionality of their apps, almost half of all business travelers (48.3) are still underwhelmed. Of that group:
43.3% are most dissatisfied with the usability
28.9% want more advanced functionality, like itinerary sharing, mobile boarding, etc.
27.8% are frustrated with inaccurate or slow flight information
As a result, only 42% of business travelers routinely use their preferred airline's app while traveling, and almost 17 percent never use it. For more of FlightView’s survey findings and additional industry insights, visit FlightViewFromtheSky.com .