Mobile applications are quickly moving from a value-added feature to a competitive necessity in the travel industry.
According to IDC, over the next four years mobile access will transition from a niche technology to a mainstream tool, and nowhere will this change be more apparent than in the travel industry.
“The on-the-move lifestyle of travel customers—especially business travellers—makes the mobile Internet and the travel industry an ideal fit,” said Joshua Friedman, senior research analyst for IDC`s eTravel research program. “Business travellers often have to revise their travel plans during their trip and due to tight schedules reconfirm flight times to avoid losing precious time. These revisions are often event-driven and time-sensitive and require immediate, real-time access; so, mobile solutions are becoming a must-have for travel businesses operating in an Internet environment.” With mobile Internet access, travel customers will be able to directly contact their travel agent or carrier directly to check availability, make itinerary changes, and obtain information about delays or cancellations from any location. The mobile Internet will also help travel agents and airlines proactively notify customers of delays, cancellations, and other relevant information.
IDC expects these mobile travel services to be well received and forecasts the number of mobile travel service users to increase from 1 million in 2000 to more than 22 million by 2004.
“These services will be extremely valuable to business and leisure customers and will make travel among the most popular services available on the mobile Internet,” said Keith Waryas, research manager for IDC`s Mobile eBusiness program.