The busiest travel season of the year is upon us. The Airlines for America (A4A), an organization that includes some of largest US carries, expects that “45 million people will fly over the holiday period – from December 17 through January 4, a two percent increase from the same period last year.” Anyone traveling around these dates knows that the experience can be chaotic from hard-to-navigate online tools to booking travel and hotel accommodations to the long lines at the airports, to delayed flights and oversold hotels.
The travel industry has been making investments in technology to improve passengers’ experiences, but there is a lot more that needs to be done, especially to support mobile devices. A report from Business Insider discussing the investments of the travel industry on mobile technologies found that while “there’s plenty of innovation underway, there’s still a gap in terms of what customers would like to see on mobile, and the services that they’re actually receiving. This gap is leading to lost sales and lost opportunities. For example, two-thirds or more of travelers in major markets said they’d be more likely to book trips on mobile if apps and sites were easier to use.”
A few weeks ago, Moxie participated in the PhoCus Wright Conference, one of the leading summits in the U.S. focusing on innovations for travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Our team surveyed the conference’s attendees, the majority from organizations that directly connect with consumers, and identified these two key trends:
- 92 percent of survey respondents said that their organizations are planning to invest in technologies in 2015 to better serve and support the mobile customer; and
- Approximately 66 percent of respondents identified Live Chat and Mobile Chat as key technologies their organizations will invest next year.
As consumers’ reliance on mobile devices continues to grow, and smartphones and tablets become preferred devices to book travel, Mobile Chat can be the best digital communication channel for companies to engage with their customers. By delivering the right engagement offer at the right time, Mobile Chat makes it easy for travelers to book flights and reserve hotel accommodations. In a recent Moxie survey, 62 percent of respondents expect live chat to be available on mobile, and 82 percent would use it.
Mobile Chat is a highly effective digital engagement tool as it provides travel and hospitality companies valuable information about consumers. Companies using Mobile Chat to support customers across the digital journey benefit from:
- Personalized Engagement: travel and hospitality agents have access to key information including device information and webpages being viewed by consumers so they can deliver personalized experiences during chat sessions;
- Ability to Deliver Consistent Chat Offers: a tab-based chat offer allows a consistent place to find chat on websites;
- Productivity Tools: travel and hospitality agents have access to a list of mobile-optimized, pre-prepared responses that facilitate interactions with consumers;
- Branded Experience: companies can easily align the chat interface with branding guidelines – including colors, fonts, etc.; and
- Mobile SDK: companies benefit from a mobile SDK for live chat, which integrates a native chat client into their iOS and android apps.
While the majority of travel and hospitality companies have plans to invest in mobile technologies in 2015, they need to focus on products that can support consumers across the entire digital journey from the moment they land on a website through purchase and support. Mobile Chat can be a key differentiator for companies in 2015 as they look for better ways to engage the mobile consumer and deliver a hassle-free travel experience.