Kiki Wu, Alipay
"Consumers don’t want 100 different apps - they want tools that make their lives easier."
Quote from Kiki Wu, director of business development, cross-border business, at Alipay, in an article on PhocusWire this week on bringing more functionality to Alipay's app.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered on our site that week.
How many apps do you regularly use? And, then, how many of those apps are solely related to when you travel?
It's impossible to know what the results would be for total smartphone user population worldwide - but perhaps it is safe to make some assumptions.
A traveler might have a number of apps from the airlines that they use regularly; same goes for one or two online travel agencies and metasearch brands.
Throw in a ground transportation and restaurant provider (probably used as a local, too) and you might get to 10 at the most.
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Business travelers would probably have their travel management company's app and expense tool.
There is a little evidence around that says travelers have dozens of apps from brands that they might use once a year, or even less.
So, in short, relative simplicity is perhaps the preferred model.
Wu is right. Consumers don't want hundreds of apps, and they do want tools that make it easier rather than complicated to get things done, especially in the field of travel.
But perhaps there is a shift towards ultra-simplification of services.
The move by Google this week to close its Trips app is a case in point - where it is just easier to have all the services that it provided in the app bundled together (alongside other travel search tools) elsewhere, whether it be the web-based Google Travel or the existing Maps app.
Concentrating its travel-related capabilities in this way makes sense for Google and, inevitably, should create some degree of hesitation in the minds of others.
On the one hand it should ensure that other app providers are creating tools that do as much as they possibly can, for fear of losing the user who has to go elsewhere for information that may be missing.
But it also pushes the idea of "one app to rule them all" further into the mainstream in travel.
And this must be music to the ears of other brands with eyes on the sector.
It's easy to add Amazon into almost every strategic equation at the moment - mostly because it makes so much sense.
It has an app, it has countless other consumer services on it, so why not...
But it also brings in sharp relief the name that hasn't been mooted in this way for a long time: Apple.
The smartphone giant filed patents for an iTravel application years ago. Would it be a huge surprise if it is finally going to see the light of day?
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