Travel tech pulls in more than just millennial business

Mobile users seen as lucrative market in travel

A spike in technology adoption rates in the trade sees not just millennials but consumers across all ages using the services.

Industry players that have adopted technology in recent months include Flight Centre with its new mobile-augmented services, Dynasty Travel offering Samsung Pay as a mode of payment, Singapore Tourism Board’s collaboration with Alipay, and KLM enabling bookings via Facebook Messenger.

Mobile users seen as lucrative market in travel

In Singapore, daily mobile usage time clocks in more than 12 hours, said Callum Brown, general manager, Flight Centre Asia, quoting a study by The New Paper.

Flight Centre recently introduced mobile consulting, which enables customers to arrange for a meet-up with a consultant at a location of their choice via WhatsApp, live chat, email and more.

The agency’s digital strategy aims to cast a wide net over “all generations (which) have become increasingly mobile savvy, including the baby boomers”, said Brown.

Since launching WhatsApp and live chat, Flight Centre has seen a five-fold and a year-on-year 155 per cent growth in enquiries for each respective medium.

Similarly, Dynasty Travel sees mobile users as a “highly lucrative market”, and has begun channelling more funds into digital advertising and platforms, said Alicia Seah, its director of public relations & communications.

She said the agency is increasing its digital social media budget from 10 per cent to 25 per cent of its overall 2018 budget.

In this move “to evolve from a single channel of interaction (in-store) to omni-channel” interaction, Dynasty aims to bring more products and services onto mobile platforms, said Seah.

The shift into mobile technology is not without its challenges. Brown shared: “There was an initial concern (about) real-time replies, as consumers expect to have their queries addressed almost immediately.”

However, employee adoption and training proved easier than anticipated, and Flight Centre’s staff was “able to quickly adapt to such technological changes”, said Brown.

For companies facing employee inertia, government-led initiatives and on-going training should be prioritised, opined Andrew Chan, founder and CEO of ACI HR Solutions.

He added: “Ideally, with widespread access to mobile technology, training could also be implemented digitally, thereby allowing the organisation’s employees access to new and relevant information.”

He also cautioned that “should a company be reluctant to invest in digital training for their employees, the organisation can expect to face a high turnover rate and the possibility of losing its staff to competitors”.

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