Could this be the year for mobile travel?
Lots of people reckon so and we put a mobile phone article on the front cover of our December 2007 edition, so we're reasonably confident that something is about to happen.
A number of holiday firms - Cosmos, Hotels4u, Pegasus - have been quietly working on searchable content for mobile phones for some months. [Hotels4u announced their effort yesterday]
Others – such as Malmaison in partnership with Mobile Travel Technologies - are dabbling with mobile marketing campaigns.
We already know that in some countries such as Japan, mobile travel is a few steps ahead and simple airline bookings are being made using mobile phones.
And, we are beginning to see movement in the US as well, including Apple’s Arizona Travel Deals on your iPhone or iPod Touch combining searchable hotel and travel content with a webcam.
Travelocity has today also released an application for the iPhone. In fact, there are already around 50 or so travel-based apps for the iPhone!
The applications show off the iPhone’s user-friendliness but it won’t be long for other suppliers to come up with handsets that are just as good – arguably they already exist but haven’t had the fanfare of the iPhone.
Anyway, the point is the phones are improving and so is the content and there are loads of applications for which it will be rather useful:
- Travel alerts when you are on the go
- Bar codes for checking-in at airports or with hotel confirmations
- Marketing messages/promotions with a call to action
- Using GPS to see where someone is and then pushing relevant travel info. to them
- Searchable and bookable hotel, tours content
WAYN has talked about allowing members to update their profiles from their phones - but it some respects it seems a bit strange to network with people via your mobile phone when you could just call them!
In some respects the extraordinary growth of the SMS message indicated how we feel about communicating with other people on a mobile.
More fuel for those predicting the death of the conversation perhaps?
Linda Fox, lead reporter, Travolution