APP or WEB?
Travelers expect travel brands to deliver a great mobile experience, if you’re not living up to their standard, they won’t be returning anytime soon. Up until recently “mobile” really meant either mobile apps, found in places like the App Store, or mobile web, accessible via URLs. Travelers are increasingly turning to the app experience, rather than mobile web, to search and book flights and accommodation. They feel, lightning-fast mobile experience is best through apps. Consumers also value the additional functionality and features that the native platforms bring.
Travel brands that can match their app experience to consumer expectations will drive more bookings, add more ancillaries and create longer-term value. And those travel brands that don’t deliver will suffer through online cart-abandonment, as well a pummeling on social media and app store ratings.
Due to the advantages of speed and UX, travelers download and use apps to search and book travel. For travel brands, key features like push notifications, promotions and discounts, automatic log-in, trip details, air miles and payment details need to be available via their mobile platforms.
When it comes to check-in and boarding passes it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that apps are the favourite choice but things start to get interesting when you compare apps and web for travel search and booking. More than half of people prefer to use apps for searching for flights and accommodation and web wins out being the preferred choice when it comes to car rental and destination bookings.
In fact, mobile apps are increasingly being viewed as engagement platforms, given their ability to interact with consumers throughout the trip. These engagement points vary, from prompting them to book via a discounted offer to notifying them of delays or gate changes, sending contextual at-destination information and driving usage post-booking with loyalty updates.
It’s important to note that any old mobile experience won’t do — having a 1- or 2-star rated app is basically a death sentence for an app. Travelers value UX highly: 85% say they would be more likely to book a trip with a brand that had a good user experience. Conversely, if they had a bad app experience, 69% would be unlikely to book with that brand again. To summarize: Great UX = Great loyalty. Bad UX = Bad loyalty
Travelers are spending more time and more money on apps. They have come to expect a fast, frictionless, helpful experience when they search and book their travel when they prepare to take off, when they’re in destination and when they return home. The brands that can deliver that end-to-end engagement will win.
HINTS & TIPS
to make apps work harder
The average travel app loses 64% of users after 30 days. To address this, CleveTap suggests a strong onboarding with a positive and beneficial experience that encourages repeat use.
Travel apps enjoy 63% opt-in rates, defined as the number of users who grant permission for notifications in-app, by push notifications, email, SMS and similar channels. CleverTap suggests this performance could be improved through personalized in-app messages as a welcome on the first launch, promoting opt-ins by making the clear the value to users of notifications, and knowing when users are most active on the app to engage with them at the right time.
The average time between download and first log-in for travel app users is 18 minutes, which reflects a sense of urgency and interest in the app. CleverTap suggests that this time could be reduced by welcoming users by email to encourage a response, A/B testing the creatives on the app and email welcome messages, and using social logins to reduce the time it takes to get detailed user profile information. Other metrics to monitor are average app load (launch) time, average cost to the brand per user registration, and the crash rate of the app.
CleverTap reports that 80% of users perform a search and engage within 44 minutes of onboarding. To encourage further engagement the company suggests sending offers and coupons to first-time users via SMS, using geo-location to send personalized recommendations, and using deep links directly to the booking page.
The travel industry benchmark for click-through rates (CTRs) on campaigns is 8.32%. CleverTap suggests that can be improved by finding the optimal time of day for messages. Messages should be personalized based on purchase and search history as well as location. CleverTap also recommends using a custom alert sound for messages which helps reinforce brand recall.
The shopping cart abandonment rate is 78.6% for users showing purchase intent. To reduce this figure, CleverTap suggests streamlining the path to purchase to eliminate points of friction, finding the window of opportunity to re-engage with dropped users, and engaging with users in real-time by sending personalized messages to those who abandon their cart.
CleverTap also suggests knowing the average session length for users of the brand’s particular app.
The industry benchmark for retention is that 63% of users converted in the apps move to the retention stage within a week. And a 10% increase in retention can increase the value of the business by more than 30%, CleverTap claims. To drive users towards retention, CleverTap recommends that brands use psychographic segmentation to learn user preferences and interests. Brands should also understand the most popular categories that drive conversions and promote those. Brands should also create ‘potential loyalist’ user segments and focus on nurturing those.
To benchmark for app stickiness—the measure of how much users engage with a product or feature—is 27.4% of retained users. The average retention rate is 48.3% after 30 days of users.
Churn — app deletion — is another factor to monitor closely. The industry benchmark is that 35% of users churn within two weeks of downloading the app and 42.5% uninstall the app within 30 days of install. Brands should know their own average churn time and time personalized offers, or promotions of underused app features prior to their “churn” time to keep users engaged.
Even after uninstall, brands can regain some users through well-timed personalized offers. An average 57.6% of users will reinstall the app one month after uninstalling it.