People are increasingly using mobile devices to plan travel and manage their trips. Travel companies should be taking advantage of this trend and also stepping up their presence on social platforms.

Travel sector companies should take more account of Internet users’ new behaviour vis-a-vis mobile channels and social networks. According to a survey carried out in the United States by Kony Solutions, Internet users are using their smartphones more and more for getting about and for travel-related activities. The study shows that over the last twelve months, 79% of those surveyed looked at maps and directions directly on their mobile devices and a further 6% predicted they would do so in 2012. Some 62% used their mobiles to look for directions to restaurants and shows in the area.

Focusing on interface accessibility

In addition, 43% reserved hotel rooms or air and train tickets using their mobiles. "Travel sector companies should above all ensure that their interfaces are simple and clean if they want to meet the needs of mobile consumers," explains Cathy Schetzina, Senior Research Analyst for Kony Solutions, who authored the report. The interface must also be compatible with all the devices consumers use -computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. As regards reservation systems, clarity and speed are the customers’ main requirements. At the same time, travel firms need to step up their social network presence. As 79% of those surveyed who use their smartphones for travel-related activities regularly go to sites such as Facebook and Twitter, travel firms need to enhance their appeal on these sites.

Services geared to social network users

While 84% of US online travellers "like" or “follow” a company on social networks, only 29% "follow" a company in the travel industry. Percentage results are similar when it comes to posting comments or uploading photos (83% versus 43%) and for asking network "friends" for advice (78% versus 33%). "Travel companies need to offer services linked to consumers’ habitual searches on social networks, including recreational applications, interactive screens and promotions," underlines Cathy Schetzina.