Travel insights from Jenna Buege, contributing editor of The Compass

What You Need to Know About Your Clients’ In-Destination App Usage

From checking in to their flights to locating that 5-star restaurant, travelers get a big assist from mobile apps while on vacation. But are they using apps throughout the entirety of their journey? Results from a recent SKIFT report help give us an inside look.

The survey broke the travel experience into a 15-part, in-destination journey. Travelers were then asked about their mobile app usage during each step of the journey: air travel, ridesharing, car rental, vacation rental/homesharing, hotel, OTA/Metasearch, maps/navigation, itinerary planning, tour guide, tours and activity booking, finding places to eat, restaurant reservations, translation, payment and social media.

The results showed that air travel, finding a place to eat and maps/navigation were the most popular categories used throughout the entire duration of the travel experience. When it comes to in-destination app usage specifically, the most popular categories were itinerary planning through TripAdvisor and Yelp, ridesharing with Uber, translation through Google Translate, vacation rental/homesharing with Airbnb and lastly, social media, with Facebook being the most popular choice. Where can you fit in to this equation? Skift found that 55% of travelers use mobile phones for ridesharing at the airport. Can you step in and plan the airport transfer for them instead? On the flipside are car rentals, with 45% of travelers using their mobile phone for that. Are you booking that rental car for your clients or are they doing it on their own?

As one might imagine, in-destination app usage by age was highest among those in the 25-44 age range, declining as respondents got older.

In addition to research from Skift, VAX held a poll earlier this fall asking agents which technology they use the most to communicate with their clients while in-destination. The results found traditional email and text messaging to be the most popular result among the 391 agents surveyed.

So what does this mean for you? First, before your clients even leave for their trip, ask them how they prefer to get a hold of you if they need to. Then, be prepared with the right mobile apps to communicate with them in the manner they prefer. Connect with them on Facebook if they like Facebook Messenger, or if they’re more into email, make sure you’re using the email address they want you to. If they like WhatsApp but you don’t know what that is, do a little research so you are prepared to talk to them that way and potentially save them any SMS fees or international calling charges.

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