When it comes to mobile, what passengers say they want is perhaps not reflected in how they actually end up using services, European airline KLM has admitted.
The carrier, which now has apps for multiple devices, iPad and mobile-configured websites, says when it asked passengers what they would want from mobile services the main items that were demanded in the feedback were:
- Flight status updates
- Seat selection
- Mobile boarding passes
- Flight management
To a far lesser extent, passengers asked for destination content and information about additional services from the carrier.
Paul Kerssens, now senior promotions manager at the airline but who previously spearheaded much of its mobile development over the past two years, says the reality was very different once services were introduced.
Passengers now use mobile services in the following ways:
- Booking flights - 39%
- Accessing the Flying Blue membership scheme - 26%
- Check-in - 18%
- Flight management - 7%
- Checking schedules - 6%
- Checking flight status - 4%
Kerssens says there certainly appears to be a latency effect when it comes to mobile and travel, with customers saying what they need not matching what they eventually end up using.
Nevertheless, KLM has seen good results from its efforts and has a strong strategy and desire to embrace the mobile opportunity, Kerssens says.
The carrier's mobile strategy, however, would not have been as successful without a lot of cross-promotion around the brand, driving passengers to what services are available, he says.
Interestingly, Kerssens says passengers are more forthcoming when it comes to providing feedback on the carrier's mobile services than other features in its wider digital strategy.
It is most likely, he argues, because mobile tools and functionality are still very new in the minds of many consumers.
KLM will make changes to its website and users will rarely respond, but anything around mobile often triggers a far greater response, whether its positive or negative.
The carrier's research has found a number of interesting points of note:
- 99% of its (presumably adult) passengers carry a mobile device.
- 75% have access to the web on the handset.
- 66% use the mobile web frquently.
- And, bizarrely, the average distance between the user and their phone at any one time is 30 centimetres.
It is why, Kerssens says, KLM considers 100% of its "customers are mobile by definition".