Mobile apps the new rage in the travel sector
The growing mobile trend is finally picking up in the Indian travel sector. Users are now using apps in their smartphones to book book tickets and even SMS options for non-smart, features phones are now prevalent in trains, planes, buses or taxis.
For example, On 28 June, state-run Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corp. Ltd (IRCTC) launched an SMS-based ticketing system for phone users who don’t have access to the Internet or smartphones. Mallikarjun Kharge, the minister of railways, attributed to the the mobile penetration trend “80 percent people in India having mobile phones”. In order to make use of these services, users need to get a mobile money account opened from their respective banks or mobile money providing agencies that have been approved by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Users can get ticket details on SMS instantly can can travel with just their identification cards, without requiring a printout.
Travel research firm PhocusWright Inc conducted a study which projected the Indian travel market to grow at 18 percent in 2013 to reach $23.2 billion as compared to 2012’s 11 percent. This may also be due to the inflation of train fares, more operational airlines, and increasing hotel room availability. This includes the online travel market, which has seen a 27 percent increase in revenue to $8.8 billion in 2013. Gross travel bookings are forecast at $28.8 billion in 2015 compared with the current $19.6 billion, and online gross bookings are estimated to reach $12.5 billion, according to the report. The reports also confirmed the growing popularity of mobile apps.
Booking flights have become easier than ever with Jet Airways (India) Ltd launching its first mobile application for Windows Phone in association with Nokia. Sudheer Raghavan, chief commercial officer at Jet Airways said that the app will allow passengers to book tickets, check the flight status, flight updates, manage their frequent flyers accounts, and even “pin” the booked ticket onto the home screen for easy access. Similarly, Yatra Online Pvt. Ltd, another online travel agency company, has also launched a Windows Phone app along with the one it has for iPhones. As reported by Livemint, Cleartrip has introduced an application where fliers can book and reschedule flights for multiple cities with one transaction as opposed to separate bookings earlier, cutting down on transaction time. To avoid multiple searches on devices travel review site, TripAdvisor LLC, has launched an all-in-one hotel price comparison search.
For train journeys, users don’t need travel agents anymore, they can simply use their smartphones. Other options available are booking a ticket by sending SMSs. For buses, online travel agency (OTA) company, MakeMyTrip Ltd, has introduced an SMS-based bus-ticket booking service. Even for taxis, popular cab service olacabs have developed applications for the iPhone and Android users to book and track cabs.
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