Mobile is the way to go as more and more people are using their smartphones in work and play. “Mobile Moves” at WIT Conference reveals strategies on how companies can use innnovation to make their mobile apps stand out.
Gerry Samuels, (pictured right) found and executive director of Mobile Travel Technologies (MTT) kicked off the discussion with the X-factors, which are shaping and driving mobile.
• Android app is better than the iPhone app. For example, an that alllows users to swipe from left to right just to see fares day by day.
• Travel is social. Apps could seamlessly share information like sharing a song on Spotify with someone listening in or sharing information on Facebook wall.
• Eric Schmidt, Google executive chairman, said, “The future of search is mobile”. For example, Google’s surprise move to buy restaurant-review firm Zagat will make the search content more local. (About 40% of the searches on the mobile have local intent, and the percentage is set to increase.)
• Siri, the interactive personal assistant on Apple’s newly launched iPhone 4 S, will impinge on Google.
"In the next version of Apple iOS may also be a boarding pass or loyalty care. The iPhone may be the single device to take you seamlessly on travel. Eye is on Apple and Google,” said Samuels.
Mike Bezer, vice president global sales, Asia Pacific of Carlson Wagonlit Travel Singapore (pictured left), said that a good strategy to differentiate an app is to look at the whole product and then “Slice and dice services, making ancillary mobile more interesting.”
He cited two companies, which have used this method and achieved success with their apps. A Russian airline integrated rail travel in their app to make the airport experience for their customers more pleasant without having to be in long queues for taxis.
"A US company, Hotel Tonight, enables users to book hotels for the same night, with the whole process of booking the room, confirming and input in just five seconds."
Singapore Tourism Board recently launched “Your Singapore Guide” app and its deputy director of marketing activation and innovation, Lim Wee Khee (pictured right) said its objective was to reach travellers directly.
"It is more than just a travel app as it haas travel information, an event calendar, is location based and has information on taxis and travel establishments, among other innovative features. Beyond that we team with Singapore Airlines and Starhub. All these make the user experience with the app more enjoyable."
Available for the iPhone and Android the app has 10,000+ downloads.
The mobility of using a mobile device like the tablet could provide travel agents with more mobility and interact more with their customers. "Travel agents could take booking after work and make it possible to be in touch with their clients beyond office hours," said Anil Damodaran, director marketing, mobile, consumer solutions and customer enablement of Abacus International (pictured left).
Joseph Chan, CEO, AsiaPay Payment Ltd, Hong Kong (pictured below) believes mobile also has another great potential, that is to be a payment device.
"Right now the mobile is a channel for booking, with credit card used for direct payment. Mobile may offer consumers another choice for making payment for services."
And the future of mobile?
• The cloud will bring the PC, mobile and tablet together. A consumer may usee the tablet to buy services, which are pushed to the cloud and then down to the mobile. However, it's not happening yet.
• Local mobile search, ancillaries, cloud integration, app
• Key words that will drive the future of mobile are: Simple, Quick, Local, Who, What, Partnership, Useful, Innovation, Value, Work, Relevant