If you’re not mobilizing your travel brand for mobile customers, you’re sending business to competitors who are.
NB: This is an analysis by Peter Blum, vice president of product management at InstartLogic.
Mobile users shop, spend, search, switch
Consumers today spend more time shopping on mobile devices than they do on desktop devices. Forrester Research forecasts that US mobile commerce in travel and food services will hit $54 billion in 2016 and $75 billion by 2018.
Add to that the fact that consumers use their mobile devices for more than buying. They’re researching cruises while waiting to board their flight at LAX. They’re evaluating restaurants and making dinner reservations for themselves and clients during conference breaks.
Plus, mobile customers switch from device to device several times in a day, as easily as desktop users channel surf.
But no matter where they are or what device they are using, they expect a personalized, fast, rich and no-hassle online experience.
Welcome to what Forrester calls “the mobile mind shift”.
More and more of your customers have a mobile mind set. Forrester estimates that about 30% of US consumers generally think this way - and for “Gen Z” - those born after 1995 - about half have it.
This means you need a mobile mind set, too.
Unfortunately, a lot of travel and hospitality companies haven’t made this switch in thinking and, as a result, aren’t meeting their mobile customers’ needs.
Mobile networks, with their thinner pipes, are plagued with latency problems and bottlenecks. It’s only getting worse from the increasing size and complexity of websites and applications.
Then there is the huge diversity of devices, formats and browsers with which you have to contend.
Forrester has identified several gaps between what mobile customers expect and what they usually get.
The right technology can help with all four, but especially in terms of performance and personalization.
A clearer picture
It is possible to boost performance and make it personal without losing quality or speed
Mobile users engaging with your web site expect a rich visual experience within seconds if not milliseconds. High-resolution images, however, can drag down performance as the mobile network struggles to send all those gorgeous pixels.
Mobile networks also choke when they try to render on mobile screens images designed for viewing on a desktop.
Technology solutions are available. Images can be altered to match the size of the device’s screen and the capability of the browser — delivering no more and no less than what’s needed.
A sophisticated image-optimization service can categorize the contents of an image and send pixels in two passes: first, only what’s needed to reproduce the image on the device in a manner the eye sees as high quality, and then the remainder in the background.
Customers also want applications to perform well on their devices. From trip planning to flight tracking or booking spa services at your hotel, customers want it to work seamlessly, quickly, easily and accurately.
Read the script
Your mobile customers expect a personalized experience when they visit your website. If they are coming to you from Berlin, they expect your website to be in German. If they are returning customers, they want your website to recognize their preferences for airline seats or room amenities.
However, dynamically generated content like this tends to hurt performance; traditional content delivery networks, built to cache and send static content, grind slowly when asked to change content for each user.
Crack the code
Your website’s code can be streamlined too. Intelligent software at the application delivery level can analyze HTML accessed by mobile users visiting your website, determine what code is the same for each and send the common data first. Personalized content follows. Performance jumps.
Technology can help reduce the gaps between the experience your customers want and what they get, but it can’t fix everything, Forrester Research points out. You have to look at how well your entire company serves customers in their mobile moments of need: your people and processes as well as your technology platforms.
NB: InstartLogic and Forrester ran a webinar last month called "Are You Ready for the Rising Demands of Mobile Commerce? Click here to view a replay of the event.
NB2: This is an analysis by Peter Blum, vice president of product management at InstartLogic. It appears here as part of Tnooz’s sponsored content initiative.
NB3:Phone and padlock image by Shutterstock