Mobile Apps and Services
On February 28th, on the second day of the Mobile World Congress, TripAdvisor announced that their mobile app had reached the 15-million-downloads mark, with more than 25 downloads a minute in January 2012. It makes it the second most downloaded travel app after Google Earth. Every online booking website has its own app, so do most hotels and airlines. Mobile services are emerging and growing rapidly in the travel industry as travelers become more dependent on technology and expect to have everything they need on their smartphone. In fact, a study by Amadeus (2011) stated that 16% of the respondents used their smartphone to book their trips. It just shows how powerful mobile applications can be for the travel industry… And it’s only the beginning – with an annual growing rate of 57%, the number of downloads is forecasted to reach 98 billion by 2015!
Source: Berg Insight, 2011
Travel apps rank 10th in the most downloaded application category. They are making 3.56% of the total downloads, far behind Games, Entertainment and Tools that represent half of all downloaded apps. It is expected that the number of consumers shifting from online to mobile bookings will be larger and more significant than offline-to-online shift in bookings that happened in the last decade. This will be even more relevant in the emerging economies of India and China, where more than 50% of the users access the internet through their mobile devices.
Some of the most downloaded travel applications include the likes of Kayak, Tripit, and other travel utility apps. But having a high number of downloads doesn’t mean that your application is actually being used. According to a study by Localistics 26% of the downloaded applications were used only once in 2010. Therefore, a high download rate doesn’t necessarily mean high engagement. Thus, the first impression and a real value proposition are critical to the success of a mobile app. Here are some examples of apps from luxury, lifestyle, and hospitality brands that have got it right:
Amble: A unique way to capture and share your travel memories by Louis Vuitton. Create Ambles: you own tours, by using personal notes, pictures or sounds. A perfect way to remember a special walk in one of your favorite cities.
An app that offers real value add to luxury customers with no mention of LV’s products. A great way to promote the art of travel by LV.
St. Regis’ e-Butler: this app serves both as a guide to New York and as a concierge. In the insider’s guide, New York personalities provide advice on good restaurants and shops. The application also offers the option to chat with the butler in real-time.
A beautiful app with a modern twist on butler service.
What Makes Love True: This app is a great example of how to showcase a brand’s lifestyle. Tiffany enables its users to share their love stories and romantic locations. It also provides romance tips, videos and love songs.
A very unique app with a beautiful and intuitive interface.
W Hotel Worldwide: An all-inclusive app with many unique services, such as the W music: it enables you to listen to custom music mixed by the DJs playing at W.
A great hospitality app, with W’s unique focus on chic lifestyle.
Hideaways Top 100 Hotels: The second application from the exclusive travel magazine. The interactive globes and the 1,200 high-resolution pictures help premium travelers pick among the top 100 most beautiful and best hotels around the world.