Welcome to part three in our blog series on mobile travel trends for 2018. For this blog we are going to look at the messaging explosion - or in other words - going to where the customer is.
This year we will see the dawn of a new age, the age of the customer, where the choice is the currency. It’s time to go where the users are as the customer of today is wherever, whenever and on whatever platform they choose to be on – and they’ll expect your brand to be there too!
So as well as interacting with your app (on their phone, watch or tablet), travelers next year are going to also want to chat to your virtual assistant on Messenger about their hotel booking, ask an Echo or Home about their flight status, use iMessage to change their seats, or show their Singapore Airlines boarding pass to the gate agent as they board the plane without ever leaving their WeChat 'chat'.
And it's not just marketing hyperbole. This shift in the communication landscape is obvious to see:
- 330 million used messenger to contact a business for the first time this year
- Since launching in June 2017 easyJet have had over 30,000 flight status voice searches on their Alexa Skill
- In just 90 days Oscar (the Air New Zealand bot) had 55,000 conversations, typically receiving between 300 and 350 queries a day
- KLM have issued 1.4 million online boarding passes via Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp
- 20% of brands will abandon their mobile apps by 2019
Bots....messaging....voice....the travel conversation is changing and travel brands are adapting. The following quote from KLM's Senior VP of Digital, Tjalling Smit, encapsulates this change best.
Rather than trying to move 1.3 billion Chinese to our app, we moved to WeChat. We should be on apps that people really use! Not just do our own".
Mobile as a single-entry point for communication with a traveler has certainly had a good run though, as apps have been operating in a device silo for nearly 10 years now, but engagement is not just about apps anymore. Whilst thinking ‘mobile first’ has been transformational for many brands it’s no longer going to be enough for the modern-day traveler as they move between channels 24/7. The on-demand generation expects exactly as their name implies, an ‘on-demand’ conversation and if you as a travel brand isn’t on a platform when the traveller wants you to benext year, don’t expect that ‘demand’ to be there for much longer come 2019.
To find out more about the messaging explosion and the other key trends that will impact the mobile travel industry in 2018, as well as findings from our research with industry professionals and end travelers, download our Mobile Travel Trends 2018 free report now.