It won’t be any surprise to learn that mobile is transforming the airline industry. As usual, it’s a case of ‘welcome to the club’, as airlines - just like retailers, banks and publishers before them - realise that as consumers now live on their smart devices, that’s where brands need to build relationships.

Research from eMarketer suggests that 2016 is the year in which the majority of digital bookings will take place over mobile. But the use of mobile apps goes well beyond that - hugely significant as it may be. Most obviously, the app has become a travel companion (think mobile boarding passes), and as such a key source of competitive advantage for airlines that ‘get it right’ when it comes to mobile.

Native Mobile Experience

Whilst there is, of course, a huge opportunity in mobile, it remains the case that building relationships in that channel is tough. The reason why should be obvious - with hundreds of apps on a typical phone, the vast majority are forgotten or used extremely infrequently. No wonder that a full 25% of installs are used precisely once and never again.

That’s an even greater risk for airlines, because travel is often infrequent. It becomes vital to be as helpful and intuitive as possible when it comes to support customers through both the booking and travelling process. Interactions should be as relevant, timely, simple and visual as possible - embodying what we would call ‘native mobile experience’, whilst at the same time taking advantage of the unique opportunities mobile provides.

To demonstrate this approach in action, let’s take a look at two simple campaigns that illustrate the way in which airlines can build stronger relationships on mobile.

The first of those examples relates to the booking process and ticket sales. It’s just a fact of life that mobile users are easily distracted - largely thanks to the fact that a single device is used for a whole host of functions. With that in mind, when specific tickets are left in the shopping cart, or a purchase is not completed, it’s time to follow up as shown below.

Yes, this is a simple push notification, but note the detail. The message is personal, addressing the user by name, and referencing the specific flight and price point. What’s more, the time of delivery can (and should) be optimized and sent at the time when that specific user is most likely to respond - ie the time when they have historically been most frequently in the app. Even something as simple as this can dramatically improve mobile bookings and revenues.

What Mobile Means For The Airline Industry

Our second example relates to the travel experience itself. As noted previously, there are significant opportunities to make this more pleasant for the traveller and benefit the airline in the process - a win win! What below appears as a simple notification hides a sophisticated combination of real-time data processing and smart personalization. It is acting in the moment in a way that only mobile makes possible, and driving revenues as a result. It's also helping a customer in a hurry avoid a potential roadblock.

What Mobile Means For The Airline Industry

Of course campaigns such as these are only the tip of the iceberg - an integrated mobile interaction platform can help drive improved onboarding, opt-in rates, app store ratings - and customer engagement across the board. All via targeted, tested and dynamic in-app and push campaigns.

If you’d like to know more, check out our recent webinar on the subject!