The evolution of mobile in travel – where airlines should be investing next

With the rise of the millennial traveler and digital natives who live and breathe through their devices, there is a changing set of expectations in how they want to be serviced by their airline. This is creating a myriad of ‘mobile travel moments’; opportunities for airlines to support, engage and empower their customers using sophisticated apps and mobile services.

To help airlines prioritize their mobile investments to meet the needs of today’s ultra-connected traveller, MTT has devised The Evolution of Mobile (EVOM) framework. This framework enables airlines to understand how they can manage and roll out their mobile investments more effectively, based on their key objectives for customer engagement and revenue generation in an ever evolving digital travel landscape.

It also enables airlines to benchmark where they are at in their own strategy, and how they compare to that of their competitors, so they can ascertain where they should invest next to provide a seamless, digitally-enhanced travel experience.

There are five key pillars of the EVOM framework, however it is important to note that this is not a linear approach, it’s a constantly changing landscape and different airlines may be at varying stages depending on their business priorities. These pillars include:

  • Foundation
  • Revenue
  • Acquisition & engagement
  • Owning the traveller
  • Mobile first

FOUNDATION – Getting the basics right – Focus on simplicity delivered beautifully
Your travel brand is now defined by that digital experience more than ever before. Enabling a simple, seamless user experience is a vital starting point. A mobile app needs to have a good user interface & experience and at the very least excellent execution of basic features and functionality such as flight status, search and booking as well as offline views. These are the building blocks of any good airline app – an essential foundation on which to build.

“Usage of mobile apps is the fastest growing check-in channel for airlines – with 21% of travellers planning to check-in via a mobile app.”
SITA Passenger IT Trends 2016

REVENUE – Generating ROI from your app
Mobile presents many opportunities for increasing the value of every interaction with every customer. Revenue not only from the flight booking stream, but also ‘Just-in-time’ and contextual promotion of ancillaries throughout the journey. In addition to the booking phase, the end-travellers purchasing mind-set continues into the 2-day period before they are due to travel. This phase represents a significant opportunity for airlines with at least 30% of travellers likely to buy ancillaries within this period.

A smarter Mobile strategy enables airlines to offer personalised promotions specifically tied to a user’s preferences, location and importantly, at the right moment or travel context when they are most likely to convert.

Therefore, airlines need to ensure they are delivering the best possible mobile booking experience and leveraging real time engagement opportunities including:

  • Rebooking and self service
  • Personalised push notifications to enable real-time, targeted messages
  • In-app upsell including priority boarding, seat upgrades, insurance and other ancillaries.

Acquisition & Engagement – Ensure your customers find the app and keep coming back!
Build it and they will come? If only it was that easy! Getting a great app to market is the first step, making sure that your customers find and download your app needs investment and effort to ensure you get the engagement level that you want. This is one of the most important pillars of EVOM – acquisition and engagement.

Acquisition should be a constant focus that runs throughout an airline’s mobile strategy, with regular analysis of how users are engaging with your app. Planning a fully integrated mobile marketing campaign is key to driving acquisition, utilizing a combination of media tactics

  • Paid: PPC, mobile & social advertising)
  • Owned: Inflight magazines, seatbacks, email, website etc.
  • Earned: App store promotions, high app store ratings & reviews.

Owning the traveller – Engagement at every step of the journey with personalized and timely mobile services

Providing an end-to-end travel experience with great digital travel services, on every device, across all touchpoints of the travel lifecycle sounds complicated, but it is the key to maintaining the ownership of the traveller. The ‘Power App’ approach addresses each stage of the travel lifecycle and incorporates ‘day of travel’ supports, real-time messaging and other context & location focused services. This ensures that the airline is with their customer at every step of their journey and that they don’t lose their customer to other travel providers or service providers who are also looking to engage the end-traveller throughout their trip.

Mobile First – Staying above the paradigm shift
This final pillar of MTT’s EVOM framework is where airlines begin to really shape and lead in their markets with great mobile travel services. This stage is about refining the mobile experience by constantly iterating and demonstrating a mobile first mindset as well as introducing mobile firsts.

To be a true market leader airlines need be constantly thinking mobile and digital first, leveraging the latest technology to become a one-stop-shop for all traveller needs. To be truly effective it needs to be a company-wide mindset that is innovation led and driven from the top down where every development, consumer insight and feature suggestion is mobile and digital driven.

Functionality that airlines need to be considering to be truly mobile first include touch ID/3D touch, 3rd party integrations, personalized ancillary offers based on booking history and mobile payment options.

To be successful airlines need to review their mobile and digital strategies and embrace a ‘mobile first’ way of thinking where the customer experience is at the centre of all developments.

Download the guide now

MTT devised the EVOM framework from years of building apps and mobile responsive sites for the airline industry. Adopting this approach will enable airlines to benchmark where they stand in their mobile and digital evolution, how they compare to that of their competitors and where to invest next to bring the best in mobile travel to their customers.

Download the guide now.

MTT provides an industry-leading digital travel platform and solutions that enable airlines to interact with their customers through sophisticated, tailored, multi-device services at every touch point in the travel lifecycle. With a specialism in creating engaging, revenue-generating apps across smartphones, tablets and wearables as well as supporting services such as day of travel solutions, real-time travel messaging and ancillary upsell. MTT works with some of the largest airline and travel brands worldwide including easyJet, Singapore Airlines, Aeromexico, Copa Airlines, Etihad Airways and Transavia.

Find out more about MTT here.