Racheal Lee
Oct 3, 2013

Mobile apps an untapped opportunity in the travel industry

ASIA-PACIFIC - Mobile applications remain a largely untapped opportunity within the travel industry in the region despite the high adoption rates of smartphones and tablets.

Mobile apps an untapped opportunity in the travel industry

A regional study by Abacus International, ‘2013 Abacus Corporate Travel Practices Survey’, revealed that 83 per cent of the respondents felt that mobile technology would have a moderate to significant impact on their business, but only a third (33 per cent) had implemented any mobile web or native applications.

However, only four in 10 of those that implemented any applications allow flight and hotel bookings via mobile, and only one in 10 provided the ability to make changes to existing arrangements.

Just one in seven had created a specific app for tablet users.

The study was implemented in April to survey a representative cross-section of corporate travel organisations from across Asia-Pacific on their business practices. It explored the power and influence of the prevailing corporate travel trends seen in the industry.

The survey also noted that 73 per cent of respondents reported higher low-cost carrier (LCC) bookings for corporate travellers, to comply with policies governing the choice of lowest fare.

Almost all (97 per cent) of the companies are increasing policy enforcement, while 73 per cent are also decreasing the number of business trips. More than half (60 per cent) of the companies have implemented policies that have forced travellers to fly economy versus business class.

Almost half (47 per cent) of the travellers are also now encouraged to opt for lower-star accommodation. Some 30 per cent of the respondents are using alternatives to travel such as online conferencing.

Robert Bailey (pictured), CEO of Abacus International, noted that while the low-cost market in Asia has yet to fully embrace corporate travel distribution, some budget carriers are now clearing a path to the corporate accounts, recognising the scale of the opportunity with trade partners, particularly on routes where low-cost competition is beginning to crowd out.

“Despite the challenges, travel agencies are better placed to capitalise on the trends as they affect their businesses,” Bailey added. “The essential technology and content is already available and customised for clients in many different commercial settings.”

 

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