How Mobile Apps Transformed Modern Day Travel

Read Time: 5 min

Take a look at this headline for a second:

Survey: Nearly two-thirds of travelers rely on mobile apps during trips

Now think about your life while traveling for a second. Ask yourself a couple of questions:

Before the trip, how did you look at fares? You might have used a laptop, sure, but many of those “Where are we headed next?” discussions happen over nights out with friends. So did you check on airfare and hotel on your phone? A Kayak? Expedia? Or heavyweight app AirBNB?

When you wanted to know if you could afford the trip (#RealLifeProbs), what did you do? Did you check your mobile banking app? 

What about when the trip was booked and you had those amazing moments of anticipation between cubicle drone work? Did you scroll through articles about the location on your phone? Did you set alerts? Did you look for apps that focus on that area just to make sure you have them on your phone? Did you get one of those local transport apps that can pull up subway/bus routes in different cities?

When it was time to almost depart, how did you make your friends jealous? This is a crucial component of human psychology, after all. Did ya hit IG? Facebook? Snap?

When it was ACTUALLY time to depart, how did you get to the airport? Uber or Lyft perhaps?

And when you got to the airport, what did you use to check-in for your flight and where was your boarding pass? Was it on mobile?

When you waited for that flight, what were you doing? Using social to make your friends more jealous? (#Naturally) Or checking an itinerary-management app? Or using WhatsApp to communicate with people you know abroad? Or reading a book or listening to a podcast?

And then when you landed (#joy), what was first? Some more jelly pics on Instagram? Back to itinerary management? Maybe a mobile banking question about currency exchange?

At this point in the process, the majority of actions you’ve taken around this blissful vacation are mobile-driven. In fact, on average, travelers use 10 to 12 apps throughout the searching, booking and traveling parts of their trip. And the breakdown of those processes? The top three most important features identified by leisure travelers in their travel apps are the ability to search and book flights (68 percent), real-time flight alerts throughout their journey (64 percent) and being able to see an entire trip itinerary in one place (67 percent).

And you know what? Newer tech is rising to prominence to deepen our connection between mobile and travel. To wit:

  • 54 percent of U.S. leisure travelers would prefer to use an app for adding extras to their bookings on-the-go -- and the ability to pay using Apple/Android pay (touch ID) within their travel apps is an important feature for 42 percent of U.S. travelers. (Source)

  • 44 percent surveyed have used voice to search for some part of their trip, up 3 percent from the previous year; and, 20 percent of travelers from the U.S. consider voice search to be a great influencer while traveling. (Source)

  • 39 percent want to use a digital room key to unlock their hotel room door from their smartphone; and 36 percent said they prefer the option to check in to their hotel via an app, rather than at a reception desk. (Source)

If you ever, for a second, doubt the power and impact of mobile -- just remember this. The moments in live that people truly cherish and remember, i.e. in some ways even live for -- new experiences in new places with friends old and new -- have almost entirely shifted to a mobile ecosystem. Now, it’s not entirely true that travel agents are dead as a profession, but if you’re flexing yourself as a travel agent in 2019, you had better have a very strong grasp of mobile in terms of marketing yourself, communicating with clients, and syncing their info in the way they want it. And that way, of course, is mobile.

To learn more about how well Travel Apps performed in H2 2018, check out the benchmarks here. To get a deep dive on optimizing your Travel App for mobile marketing success, check out our eBook:

Travel App Mobile Marketing Playbook