Mobile has already had a huge impact on the enormous travel industry. And now, travel companies are looking at what’s next — as new technologies emerge that can help travellers record their adventures, take the best pictures, and navigate unfamiliar streets.
Wearables are among the devices that could have huge potential for the travel industry.
Just as mobile phones pair with travel, wearables also make sense as a go-to device for exploring travellers. And the expectation that wearables will play a role in the travel industry is borne out in the travel apps that are popping up for the devices. Travel+Leisure named some of their favourite wearables tech travel trends from the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, citing features like ski goggles equipped with HD cameras so you can live-stream your run, and a smart bracelet that measures UV exposure at the beach.
In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we look at how the worldwide adoption of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices is dramatically changing how we travel — before, during, and after the trip — and what the impact of that change is to businesses in the enormous travel industry. Players in the travel industry are emphasising mobile as a core component of their business strategies, and working to make their products and services mobile-friendly. Those that do not adapt risk becoming relics of a bygone desktop computing era.
Here are some of the key points from our report on mobile travel:
- Mobile devices are ideal companions for travellers, allowing them to access information, services, and booking while en route. By 2015, mobile will account for one-quarter of U.S. online travel sales, driving $US40 billion in revenue, according to PhoCusWright.
- Tablets are emerging as a power device for completing travel purchases. Tablets accounted for 7% of all online travel bookings globally in the third quarter of 2013, and 11% of all time-spend on travel sites in April 2013.
- These are some of the hottest trends relevant to travel apps: cross-device services and marketing, algorithm-driven personalised local search results, innovative photo features, and the integration of travel information and data into augmented reality apps and wearables.
- But there are significant barriers to overcome before mobile can become a key channel for travel-related research and purchases: bad user experience design, friction that keeps users from completing transactions on mobile, and lack of Wi-Fi and 4G coverage.
- Airlines, hotel chains, and online travel agencies need to stay ahead of the mobile computing curve. Airbnb already sees over a quarter of its traffic from mobile and expects the majority of traffic to come from mobile very soon. The company is actually encouraging this trend.
- Wearables and the car dashboard represent the platforms where mobile travel will thrive next. Expect to see new travel-related apps and features for wearables debuting regularly.
In full, the report: