Going mobile will soon be a do-or-die decision for the travel industry
Published: 24 Oct 2008:Abacus International has highlighted that with some 1.5 billion mobile subscribers in the Asia Pacific region, the sheer penetration makes mobile phones a powerful tool for interacting with consumers.
"Mobile as a travel tool is still a very context sensitive channel," said Bailey. "Most business and leisure travellers currently view mobile as a method to receive real-time updates and information, such as flight delays, gate information and directions. While the capability obviously exists, there is not yet a universal demand for using a mobile to book the next family holiday."
However, Bailey believes that the travel industry has the opportunity to drive innovation in the mobile marketplace as consumer needs and corporate wants are very much aligned for the sector.
"Travel is by its very nature mobile and travellers benefit from real-time information and increased simplicity in their travel arrangements," he said. "Agents and airlines both see increased efficiency and richer contact with their more-informed consumers, meaning the whole travel machine becomes just that little more well-oiled."
A recent study by Frost & Sullivan of eight emerging markets in Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam) show that in 2007 these markets accounted for just over 37 percent of all mobile phone users in Asia Pacific, or 487 million mobile users. By 2013 that number would leap to over 1.13 billion, or 46 percent of users.
Frost & Sullivan´s report points out that these eight markets have mobile penetration rates of below 50 percent and this reason these markets show the most promising prospects for mobile industry growth.
"Mobile in the Asian context is quite different to the rest of the world, as there is not a huge amount of legacy technology to transition consumers away from," said Abacus vice president of Agency Marketing, Brett Henry.
"For many people a mobile phone is the most advanced technology they have access to and by empowering that device with more ´computer-like´ functionality, suddenly a massive group of consumers are literally mobilised."
"Mobile is where the battle for technological supremacy is being waged, and not just by traditional mobile companies," said Henry. "Microsoft and Apple and even web-based companies Google and Yahoo have entered the fray. If these companies see the future has gone mobile, the travel industry should not wait around for an invitation to join in."