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The mobile purchase funnel - a real-life airline example

Forget the conventional wisdom in travel that consumers ‘browse on phone, book on desktop.’ Consumers now reach for their smartphones for both searching and purchasing.

Twenty-five percent of all cross-device transactions completed on a desktop started on a smartphone, and 35% of those completed on a smartphone started on a desktop. More bookings are taking place via mobile than ever before, and travelers are increasingly confident making purchases and planning trips through their device. Improved technologies and security features have obviously enhanced mobile’s overall reputation, but it is the convenience, efficiency and seamless customer experience driving the change in consumer behavior.

It is the convenience, efficiency and seamless customer experience driving the change in consumer behavior

We work with airlines across the world and we map out customer journeys with them every day so we wanted to share what one of these looks like. Working with the data, we’ve joined the dots and developed a narrative, a story of sorts, around the mobile path to purchase that one customer took earlier this year. The journey below is a real-life example of what mobile travel looks like in 2017 for one of our airline clients.

Before we start our story, let’s imagine the scene… a family – mum and dad, their two sons and their partners and a granddaughter - planned on forgoing the traditional Christmas dinner at home and opted instead for a winter sun holiday in the Canaries. The eldest son, a price-savvy traveler who is an active app-user, has taken it upon himself to organise the trip. He’s booked flights using this app before, in fact he loves booking on it so much he’s saved his profile and passport details in app so it’s even quicker to book when he fancies a getaway. So when he gets a ‘holiday inspiration’ push notification early one morning on his way to work he’s using the app within seconds. 17 minutes later he’s spent $5000 on the trip, payment authorized swiftly with his fingerprint and confirmation details in his inbox within minutes.

So what did that incredible 17 minute mobile moment look like? Let’s break it down:

The mobile purchase funnel - a real-life airline example (1).jpg
09:54 AM: Our traveler gets a push notification from his favorite travel brand app announcing details of a seasonal seat sale. He swipes open the notification from his homescreen which drops him straight onto the app booking screen. He breezes through the initial options, selecting his departure and arrival airports.

09:55 AM
: He then selects 6 adults and one child from the Passenger Type field and hits search.

09:56 AM: From the list of fare types, he chooses standard and then swiftly moves onto the flight summary screen. Prices & flight times look really good so he shares the itinerary, prices and the baggage fees with the rest of the group via Whatsapp to see what they think. He is then inactive on the app for 11 minutes, from 09:56am to 10:07am waiting for their responses. 

The traveler locks down plans and arrangements within 17 minutes* via his device
(*not including the 11 minute break he took when he exited the app to seek confirmation from his fellow travelers to proceed) 

10:07 AM: He returns to the app and then spends the next 6 minutes entering the passenger details for the rest of the group. His own details are auto-populated from his profile so he doesn’t need to fill in those fields.

10:13 AM: After entering all the other passenger names the app prompts the traveler to reserve seats for both the outbound and inbound journeys.

10:16 AM: He spends 4 minutes figuring out the best place to seat his family together, how much it costs to sit up the front or would he be better off going for extra leg-room near the exits? He changes the seat selections a couple of times before selecting the 7 seats near the front. 

10:21 AM: His contact details are pre-filled, so he moves onto to the payment screen, he ticks the terms and conditions box and selects Apple Pay as his payment method. 

10:22 AM: Apple Pay is authorized via his fingerprint and the payment is complete for $5,000. The booking confirmation screen is presented and details are also emailed to his inbox.

Becoming a travel brand known for excellent mobile begins with having brilliant UX that drives acquisition. In the above example the user had downloaded the app in 2015 and regularly returned to check out offers and book with his favourite travel brand. This airline kept the traveler engaged via rich experiences and inspired new trips using push notification tools that align with wider marketing campaigns. They worked hard in driving additional revenue via highly converting pages and frictionless payment methods. This family’s 17 minute booking journey on mobile was seamless but highlights the impact mobile is having on booking journeys and airline revenues for our clients. How does your mobile experience compare?


Glenville Morris - Director of Consulting

Glenville has over 12 years experience as a digital & mobile professional in the travel, entertainment & retail sectors. Prior to joining Travelport Digital Glenville worked at easyJet across analytics, mobile marketing & was the product owner for easyJet mobile. At Travelport Digital Glenville heads up the Digital Insights team looking at market trends, operating system updates and how new mobile technologies will affect the travel industry.

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