The travel market is an excellent market for digital solutions. The revolution that took place in the travel industry with the advent of the Internet and PC is now occurring again as mobile technology use continues to grow. The number of Internet-connected mobile devices worldwide will increase by 16 percent per year, led by strong growth in developing countries, according to Ovum.
A report by bcg.perspectives reveals that PhoCusWright, a global travel market research company, expects mobile’s share of U.S. travel bookings to grow from 4 percent in 2013 to 12 percent by 2015, while eMarketer, an authority on digital marketing, media, and commerce, projects the value of U.S. travel purchases made on smartphones and tablets to soar from $26 billion in 2014 to $65 billion in 2018.
This move to a mobile platform adds complexity to the relationship between travel companies and their customers. The bcg.perspectives report states, “In 2013, almost half of all travelers using digital resources began the dream phase of their travel journey on one device and completed it on another. This makes it increasingly difficult for travel companies to follow individual travelers’ identities throughout their journeys.”
Travel companies need to address this fast-growing trend, as it offers an opportunity to gain a larger share of the market. Those that do not risk losing customers to more forward-thinking companies and intermediaries.
VARs can provide solutions and services that capitalize on mobile’s transformative power by assisting travel companies to better understand their customers’ mobile usage habits and tailor their marketing to target specific customers. VARs can also assist them to understand the role that “gate-keepers” — device manufacturers and the companies behind the main mobile-operating systems and app stores, app-to-app marketers, and social networks and messaging app operators — play in determining how mobile users navigate the network of apps and social networks available in order to gain an advantaged market position.