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Mobile travel apps are more popular than ever – yet most travel brands know they aren’t investing enough in their mobile app experiences. So what other mobile trends should they be trying to keep on top of?

Not Enough Investment in Travel Apps

More than three-quarters of travelers (78%) are downloading either the same amount or more travel apps than last year, according to research by Travelport Digital.

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Despite mobile websites boasting some impressive user experiences, travelers still show a clear preference for in-app experiences – especially for mission-critical events like checking into flights, generating boarding passes, and searching for flights.

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Mobile app preference only grows stronger with business travelers – again, for mission-critical activities related to searching, booking, and checking-in for flights and accommodation.

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However, less than half of travel brands feel that they’re investing enough in mobile to keep up with the competition – with just 17% citing that they’ve prioritized mobile and are investing a lot into it.

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Given how strongly travelers prefer mobile app experiences (especially for business), it’s surprising that the majority of travel brands are still failing to prioritize developing mobile experiences for their potential customers. 43% of 19 to 28-year-olds have used mobile devices to book holidays – so this trend seems likely to grow.

A Powerful Channel to Upsell Services

Travel brands often rely on upselling additional services to their customers in order to reach their revenue goals. Unsurprisingly, 74% of travel brands have identified ‘revenue generation’ as a key mobile strategy goal.

Research suggests that this strategy is achieving success, especially for airlines – with passengers using mobile devices to buy more in-flight entertainment, seat upgrades, extra bags, and car hire than in 2017.

But hotels are top of the list, with 56% of travelers claiming to have booked a room via mobile (up by 6% in a year), and 62% citing hotel booking as an important travel app feature.

So, any travel app that doesn’t already offer hotel booking is likely to be leaving revenue on the table.

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Using Voice Assistants to Perform Tasks

Voice assistants are becoming popular tools, especially for travel, with 45% of travelers using them on a regular basis – that’s broken down into 25% once a week and 20% every day. Similarly, 39% of travelers have used a voice assistant to perform travel-related tasks – and this figure rises to 81% for business travelers.

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If your travel app doesn’t already integrate with iOS or Android voice assistants, then your potential customers are likely to choose a competing app, that does.

Push Notifications for Travel Info

While aggressive push notifications can bother phone users, travelers are much more receptive – with 75% in agreement that push notifications are useful. In particular, travel disruptions are cited as the best use case for push notifications.

If you’ve avoided using push notifications for your travel app, then you can rest assured that most of your potential customers are likely to welcome them – if they’re used for important events.

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Transforming Mobile Travel Apps with Predictive Analytics

Among various emerging technologies, predictive analytics are likely to transform travel apps in terms of both user experience, and profitability for travel brands.

Technology companies and retailers continue to gather information about their potential customers with growing efficiency. In fact, 90% of all data that has ever existed was generated in the last two years alone.

Data can enable any product seller or service to better predict their customers’ requirements and offer personalized experiences that are likely to build loyalty and increase profitability.

Market-leading travel apps will combine historical search data, customer feedback, and social media activity to serve-up personalized travel suggestions that match each customer’s unique combination of interests, values, and preferences.

However, it’s important to ensure that your mobile travel app is reliable and stable, so it delivers a great user experience. BitBar’s AI Testbot enables your travel brand to test its app on real devices at scale.

Alex Napier Holland

Tech Business Writer