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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.
Join us in celebrating spring in the southern hemisphere!
We are happy to share the news about the new South American destinations of JetSMART: routes to Argentina - Mendoza, Buenos Aires and Córdoba - are now available at ultra low prices, only at JetSMART!
The DGITAL team is proud to take part of this expansion as business partner of JetSMART.
The Aviation Festival London is now in its 15th year. Terrapinn - the organizer of the event - examined the latest technology trends impacting the aviation and travel industry and listed the top five buzzwords featured on their three-day, 300+ speaker agenda.
Digital Surprise! Number one is, of course digital. Digital technology is allowing airlines to rethink current archaic processes and build fantastic digital experiences into their offering.
Experience A new model of the relationship with customers is emerging, one that is agile, consistent and ultimately more personalised. A lot of this is being done by utilising digital technologies and embracing the power of being mobile-first to create a unique and engaging passenger experience.
Loyalty Many airlines have rewritten loyalty rules in recent years to make their rewards more personalised and their programs more profitable. One of the many challenges in the loyalty space is around the fact that customers are unique and want different things. One way to address this is through dynamic offers.
Ancillary Online retailers have increased passenger’s expectations tenfold, the average traveller is used to contextual marketing, personalised experiences and a fast-acting service. To evolve airlines need to take big digital transformation lessons from mainstream retailers to enhance passenger experience and boost sales.
AI Airlines are just starting to embrace artificial intelligence in all areas of the business. Initially a tool for revenue managers it now permeates throughout the whole passenger experience and could offer a whole host of solutions to improve everyday operations. Machine learning and AI have the potential to induce profitability and cut costs. It is going to be exciting to hear about the next generation AI tools being envisaged.
Our South-American client JetSMART had a few milestones resently and we are proud to be part of their success.
JetSMART reached 1.000.000 passengers in May, have 12 Chilean destinations and an international destination: Peru. These numbers are growing by the minute and DGITAL will support all their efforts to become the largest ultra low cost airways in South America.
This video have been released to celebrate the first one million passengers:
JetSMART reached these goals well before their first anniversary and that makes their results even more amazing.
Way to go JetSMART!
When mobile development was about to start, we went through our selection process whether to go with the current flow and use the “Latest & Greatest” technologies or to choose something which is rock solid and in the same time suitable for both the developer team and the business.
Our decision was the best cross platform mobile development tool available – Xamarin – which easily turns into native code in the hand of professionals. Among all the pros of using Xamarin for development, let us highlight a few we considered:
✓ Xamarin lets developers build native iOS and Android apps using a single language, C#, to create apps for all mobile platforms.
✓ C# is a mature language with strong safety-typing that prevents code from unexpected behavior.
✓ As C# is one of the .NET framework languages, it can be used with several useful .NET features.
✓ Xamarin comes in one package with a complete development toolset, thus, you don’t need to invest in additional tools or integrate the third-party apps to build, test and deploy your Xamarin apps.
✓ Xamarin is natively compiled, which makes it a go-to option for building high-performance apps with native look and feel.
✓ Apps can be tested on hundreds of devices via the Xamarin Cloud service.
Our conclusion was that the platform can decrease the time to market and engineering cost, by sharing the code and using a single technology stack. With standard UI which covers 90 percent of the projects, all the core product logic can be easily shared across the platforms. Hence, platform customization will only take 5-10 percent of the engineering effort.
In case you are interested in the online travel business, we collected some business information we found promising
The online travel industry is made up of travel e-commerce sites - websites of airlines and online travel agencies (OTAs), selling travel products like flights, hotels, car rentals, etc. - and review sites like TripAdvisor. Global online travel sales have grown over the past few years and sales value of air travel, hotels and OTA's are all expected to constantly keep growing. We, travelers are relying more on travel review sites when booking therefore the influence of these are also increasing.
Before the internet boom when we wanted to book a trip and make reservations we had to visit a travel agency or order by phone – travel websites and mobile apps have been making digital travel arrangements increasingly easy. It is almost unthinkable nowadays not to be able to plan and book everything beforehand – we appreciate the ability to create our own itineraries with the help of digital tools like travel planning websites, price comparison sites or review portals that provide us with the option to directly book our hotel at listed locations.
Most of travel sales still occur via desktop but mobile is catching up and travel apps are consistently ranked among the most popular categories in the app stores. In addition to outright travel app coverage, travel brands have also got travel app usage covered on social media – 95 percent of the leading travel brands have an Instagram profile.
After all the work in the home-stretch of a big project and crossing the finish line in April, a get-together seemed appropriate. As some new colleagues joined us in the meantime, we all felt the urge to have a party - the sooner the better.
On a cloudy Friday morning we left the office and headed for Budakeszi, with everything we’d need to cook a fine meal outside and have some - or more - fun.
As for the music, the lineup was more than satisfactory...
To pamper our tired back and shoulders, we invited Rapid Massage Service and it turned out to be a good idea :)
We even managed to get together for the mandatory tableau pic.
The last challenge of the day was to pack up after dark and leave the park quitely – mission accomplished.