Making the case for embracing HTML5 in travelNewsBy Viewpoints | July 4, 2011Share This article was originally published on NB: This is a guest article by Brett Henry, VP of marketing and VP for India at Abacus International.To stay relevant, travel companies need to adapt themselves to the changing times, and currently that means mobile.Accommodating for the increasing number of travellers who are likely to access websites from their mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets is one of the most important strategic decisions companies in the sector are now making.Here is why.Microsoft Tag has already predicted that by 2014, mobile Internet usage will supersede desktop internet usage, and a survey showed that 90% of Asia Pacific-based travellers now use smart phones or other web-enabled hand-held devices.In the fourth quarter of 2010, the shipment of smartphone units already exceeded that of personal computers, according to an International Data Corporation (IDC) report in February this year.Companies such as travel agents are facing some challenges with the increase of mobile internet, as the web interface that most users end up encountering are browsers that are not customised for smartphones and tablets.Sites may take a long time to load and leave consumers with negative impressions, leading to poor customer contact points for companies.Research has shown that three out of five people will be less likely to return to a site if they are unsatisfied with it, and 40% even choose to visit a competitor’s site next. This demonstrates the importance of having mobile versions of websites that are compatible with mobile devices and allows consumers to access them quickly and easily.This is where HTML5 comes in. Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the predominant markup language for the web. An essential building tool for webpages, HTML provides the basic platform to organise and display content on the internet.As demand for a richer web user experience increases, different coding languages have been introduced into the market to help integrate multi-media into the web interfaces. HTML5 represents the latest advances in this coding language.With its remarkable ability to integrate video, audio and other multi-media without the use of proprietary plug-ins, it has already been touted as the next standard for website design.HTML5 is beneficial to companies as it cuts across various mobile operating systems, allowing consumers access to web content that looks and behaves like any other user-friendly mobile phone application.Moreover, it only requires content to be uploaded onto a central web-source. Companies thus need not waste extra time and resources or incur additional expenses to adapt desktop versions of their websites to suit various user devices and operating systems.A device-detection technology may be added to the web-source with the application of CSS Stylesheets. With the use of CSS Stylesheets, content managers have the liberty to create a filtering channel that identifies the devices consumers are using to access their HTML5-enabled websites.Given this device-detection capability, users will be able to retrieve web contents specifically catered to fit their user interface, be it a smartphone, desktop or tablet.Abacus VirtuallyThere is one such solution that leverages HTML5 to enable travelers to access a mobile-friendly version of their travel itineraries through their smart phones and tablets.With 53% of leisure travellers indicating that receiving real-time flight information is the biggest benefit of going mobile, HTML5 -based services enhance the travel experience by providing travellers what they need easily and efficiently, no matter what platform they may be using, and hence provides a better way for companies to connect to their consumers.The travel industry looks to move into a new era of enriching the traveler experience on the road. The attractiveness and opportunities of new codes like HTML5 make it irresistible to shift into, thereby reducing the need for mobile apps.Travel suppliers should consider taking the advantage of this available technology with the right partner and solutions to deliver a totally differentiated mobile travel experience.NB: This is a guest article by Brett Henry, VP of marketing and VP for India at Abacus International.