Mobile devices are now part of our everyday life and are becoming the hub for all travelers' activity, replacing PC, telephone, kiosk, and boarding pass. The traveler's handheld device is now an integral part of the entire journey, not just from pre-trip planning and booking, but through the actual trip itself.
But what does it mean for the travel industry? What are suppliers and intermediaries doing to take advantage of this trend in traveler behavior? To answer these questions and bring more perspective to this topic, Amadeus and Tnooz joint forces to bring together a panel of experts who explored the influence of mobile on traveler behaviors from pre-trip research and booking through the life of the journey as well as the business behaviors of the suppliers servicing this always-connected traveler. Featured speakers included Brian Beard, Amadeus executive travel technology consultant; David Holyoke, Travel Leaders Corporate, President; Rain Fletcher, Choice Hotels International, VP application development & architecture.
In opening the discussion Brian Beard highlighted a recent industry study that identifies traveler attitudes to airline mobile services and shows how emerging mobile technologies will revolutionize each stage of the travel experience in the future: 1. Pre-trip (i.e. plan, book and board), 2. At the airport (i.e. lost bags, seating and disruption), 3. On-board (i.e. enhanced services), 4. At the destination (i.e. explore, connect and share experiences) and 5. Post-trip (i.e. social media for immediate feedback). These travel trends will impact the way travelers interact with the airline industry as well as travel and tourism in general.
From a GDS perspective, the core business to consolidate supplier information and process travel transactions remains central to providing services to the connected traveler. The distribution systems must adapt a flexible approach to mobile technology. Indeed as mobile devices get more sophisticated, the connected traveler will demand more timely and accurate information from the distribution systems. Brian predicts with most certainty that travel servicing interface from mobile devices will be fully functional; wireless broadband will be available almost everywhere; proactive travel servicing will become the norm and online booking tools that don't have a fully functional mobile interface will become obsolete.