The Way to a Customer’s Heart is Through Their Smartphone…

Posted on August 2, 2012

A recent article in Travel Weekly, the largest of the travel trade publications, discusses travel bookings made via smartphone.

According to the article by Danny King, new research suggests that U.S. travel bookings through smartphones may have doubled in the past year, as more travelers buy the devices and more suppliers and travel intermediaries produce a broader range of travel apps.

Almost 40% of the smartphone users surveyed by Atmosphere Research Group said that they intended to use their mobile device to book a hotel stay, while 27% indicated a willingness to use their mobile devices to buy airline tickets.

“More than a third of online travelers are interested in actually sealing the deal [through mobile devices],” said Jeffrey Breen, president and co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group. “Those numbers are only going to increase.”

The article clearly points out that the survey indicated that smartphone owners are still more likely to use the devices to perform same-day travel activities, including restaurant reservations and buying theatre tickets.  We are sure that “ground transportation” was not included in the survey – as an industry, we need a concerted effort to build more visibility in the travel trade press.

Why? At stake is what’s expected to be a growing chunk of the expanding U.S. online travel market.  Annual U.S. online leisure bookings, which account for about 40% of total bookings, will jump to about $124 billion in 2012, from $109 billion last year, another industry research company, PhoCusWright, predicted in a report released last November.

The takeaway of this article is that suppliers – including ground transportation/limo companies have a real opportunity to boost reservations through mobile devices by appealing to their loyalty members (you do have a frequent ride program, right?) and having a smartphone booking application readily available to provide to your customers.

There are a ton of surprises to come with new technologies that are coming to market and there is going to be a tremendous effect on operators and other travel vendors as time goes on.  “Disruptive technologies” are changing behaviors and preferences for both the leisure and corporate traveler and those companies that embrace technology will be far better off in the future.

Please visit to see the smartphone app that is available to operators.