Mobile Travel Apps To See Boom Time Ahead
Concepts such as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart cities’ are changing people perception of travel as well. The focus has now shifted to making travel more convenient in the backdrop of increasing urban congestion. A new report suggests that the use of travel apps is growing rapidly, as service providers are gearing up to smarten up their offerings.
According to the report by MasterCard, 37 per cent of Indians and 34 per cent of Chinese surveyed already using smartphone travel apps at least once a month. Travel companies are partnering with smartphone vendors to offer user-friendly travel app to customers.
For example, India’s leading mobile phone maker Micromax has announced an investment in mobile travel search and marketplace ixigo, a mobile travel search firm popular for its travel apps that help Indian travellers plan their trips, by looking up the best travel and accommodation options. It also helps in booking cheap flights, cabs, and hotels to travellers.
The company plans to use this investment for expanding its product and technology team and to add 25,000 small and mid-sized travel service providers to its marketplace offering, making ixigo one of the most comprehensive platforms for comparing and buying travel services on mobile.
The study further suggests that over half of urban dwellers surveyed are happy to share their user data to improve transport in their city, with Chinese (59 per cent) and Indian (53 per cent) residents most keen. About 8 per cent of city residents surveyed in China did not want to share their behavioural data in any circumstances, less than in India (13 per cent) and Brazil (19 per cent).
The report also found that the appetite for a service that monitors a travel route and advises on suitable alternative travel options was strongest in India (90 per cent), followed by Brazil (85 per cent) and China(77 per cent). Interestingly, there was strong interest in cars that drive themselves in India (82 per cent), China (77 per cent) and Brazil (73 per cent), as well as cars that can re-program a travel route to avoid congestion.
MasterCard sees Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is also emerging as a cost-effective solution to mass transit for many emerging economies.. However, it can only work if all aspects of the journey are fast – there must be either pre-payment or contactless payments if buses are to be boarded quickly, it said.
Another recent report by TripAdvisor also reveals that smartphones have become the essential trip companion, as connected travelers are more likely to want their smartphones with them on vacation to organize their trip more efficiently (44 percent) and book accommodation on the go (37 percent). They are also more likely than the average traveler to use their smartphone for travel research while in their destination: 72 percent of Connected Travelers use their mobile to look for restaurants, 67 percent use it to find things to do and 64 percent use it to read reviews.42 percent of travelers around the world are Connected Travelers, having used a smartphone to plan or book a trip.
A steady rise in the adoption of smartphones and tablets in India is resulting into a huge market for mobile app in the country, which has around 3 lakh app developers and is seeing about 100 million app downloads every month. A eMarketer research shows that digital travel sales is a $450 billion market worldwide. By 2018, mobile travel researchers will account for 71.3% of digital travel researchers in the US alone.
Bernaad R Chetty, Assistant Vice President, Sonata Software elucidates that consumerization of IT has continued to have a significant effect on the travel industry. “But the challenge now is in ensuring a seamless experience across multiple channels and stages of a travel experience with technologies such as omni channel commerce and mobile enabled content & tasks. Increased customer satisfaction which would ultimately lead to customer loyalty needs creative use of these technologies to deliver a better travel experience,” he says.
In India itself, tourism accounts for 6.8 percent of the GDP making it the third largest foreign exchange earner for the country. The sector over the years have relied on technology to significantly improve time-to-market while lowering operational costs and improving customer services.
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