‘Embrace it or go bust’ – that is the mantra of many travel companies who are currently dealing with a rapidly digitising industry. And what’s becoming apparent is that adapting to this transformation is not so much an option, but rather an indispensable condition if companies want to maintain a competitive edge.
According to an online eDigitalResearch survey, nearly one third of consumers research holidays solely online. The need for travel agencies, tour guides and hotel concierges is dwindling as more and more DIY (Do-It-Yourself) travellers emerge; travellers who are well-acquainted with booking online and therefore, have high demands for good service.
More and more mobile users
The role of the mobile device is quickly becoming a focus for travel companies – especially as it appeals to the millennial demographic, which makes up 20% of all international tourists. In fact, a study carried out by TripAdvisor stated that these youngsters are more likely to pack their mobile device than they are their toiletries. But be careful, millennials aren’t the only ones booking via mobile…
According to Euromonitor, mobile bookings will account for almost 30% of all online travel bookings in 2017. This includes bookings via mobile (responsive and adaptive) websites and native apps. It is expected that this number will even jump up to 46% by 2019. In other words, businesses in the travel industry, if they haven’t already, will need to develop their own mobile strategies for an optimised mobile experience.
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An increasing demand for a smooth mobile experience
With this influx of digital savvy travellers, the mobile experience must be a seamless one. This begs for features such as a good design, a reasonable level of speed and responsiveness and high-quality content. However, the trouble with most mobile apps and mobile responsive websites is that there are lots of opportunities for bugs and/or technical errors to sprout up, including design faults. And typically, the first ones to see or notice these issues are your customers.
Let’s take a look at some of the difficulties travellers come across in travel apps and how online feedback can help prevent them.
1. The assumption of overall high speed access
There are high demands in the ‘speed’ department from mobile users. According to Innovation Insights, 47% of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less. And unfortunately for travel apps, there are many factors that influence network speed (particularly in public locations), including the number of people around, tall buildings, the weather and even how you hold your mobile phone in your hands.
The key here for companies is to use a lightweight design for mobile apps. This is includes minimising design assets such as pictures and CSS so as to avoid a slow loading app. In fact there are a lot of things that can be slowing your website or mobile app down. But don’t put this all on yourself. With user feedback, your customers can tell you quite a bit about how they’ve experienced your mobile app and help you pinpoint places where it is not functioning properly due to factors like bloated HTML or unoptimised images.
2. Too compact of a UX design
We all know that on mobile apps, space is extremely limited. Designers are essentially having to narrow an entire website down to the screen of a hand-held device, which can be a very difficult task to achieve. There are many factors that must be kept in mind when designing mobile apps, including easily tappable fields, a smooth transition from portrait to landscape, or even the placement of your feedback button.
Space is limited! Collecting user feedback on these design factors will provide you with insight into whether or not you’ve stripped your app design down too much or alternatively, made it too busy by incorporating small images that are squeezed in next to each other.
3. Too many permission requests
Permission requests are a common occurrence when downloading new apps nowadays. Whether they want access to your entire address book or your pictures, it can all seem a little overbearing at times. Especially when they ask for information that is not even necessary for their purpose. In a previous blog, we also mentioned the irritations that go along with being spammed with too many notifications – another factor that puts your mobile app in danger of being deleted.
Sure it’s okay to have these permissions in place, but it is also important to gauge how your customers feel about these actions – which is where online feedback comes into play. Use it to find out if they’re happy with your app. After all, you don’t want them to feel like they’re having to expose too much private information. That will only turn them off to your business.
Start improving your mobile app
As we see numbers soar in terms of travelers seeking information and converting on mobile apps, we find it increasingly vital for companies to start collecting feedback on their mobile apps and websites. Read more about how you can use online feedback to improve your mobile app here.
For a more in-depth look at the use of customer feedback in the travel industry, check out white paper, Improving travel website and apps with user feedback here.
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