Demand for mobile services in air travel has reached an all-time high. FlightView (www.flightview.com), a provider of day-of-travel information, has released two new research reports — specific to airports and airlines — with feedback from more than 2,600 business and leisure travelers revealing incredibly high expectations for mobile communication and self-service capabilities. This presents airports and airlines with a major opportunity to generate ancillary revenue and strengthen customer service.
“We’ve seen a fundamental change in the way people travel, with a rapidly increasing dependence on mobile devices,” says Mike Benjamin, CEO of FlightView. “That means airports and airlines need to move beyond showing static information on mobile apps and websites to pushing relevant, timely updates and offering key functionality for informing and empowering their customers to make better decisions on the go.”
Case in point: Almost 94% (93.6) of travelers surveyed said they want flight status information pushed to mobile devices before take-off. Most travelers today have a connected device in hand. In fact, more than 80% of those surveyed use a smartphone in-flight, and more than 35% use a tablet and/or a laptop. As a result, travelers expect airlines and airports to provide mobile access to relevant day-of-travel information. For example, of those travelers surveyed:
° Nearly 75% want a mobile alert when their flight is boarding.
° Fifty-seven percent want mobile alerts on seat upgrade options.
“Communication also plays a vital role in easing customer frustrations,” says Benjamin. “Gate changes, delays and cancellations — often unavoidable — can negatively impact a traveler’s experience. But when airports and airlines provide accurate, up-to-date information on mobile as soon as it is available, customers are appreciative and more likely to be loyal when making future travel plans.”
As travel technology quickly evolves, travelers expect to move beyond receiving day-of-travel information on their mobile devices, to taking action on these devices — introducing an exciting new channel for airports and airlines to drive ancillary revenue. Of the 2,600+ travelers surveyed, more than 35% want to use their mobile device to: purchase ticket upgrades (35.7%); book ground transportation (35.8%); and view coupons and specials for airport shops and restaurants (35.7%).
In addition to sales transactions, more than 66.5% of travelers want the capability to rebook on another flight on a mobile device, and 65.9% want to be able to view terminal maps.
“Mobile and self-service are the future of the travel industry,” says Benjamin. “Innovative offerings that were nice-to-have five years ago are now critical to staying competitive in today’s market. Airports and airlines that effectively use mobile adoption to their advantage will see the greatest rewards in both customer loyalty and ancillary revenue.”
— Dennis Sellers