The smartphone and tablet market is growing rapidly. There are millions of new phones manufactured and shipped to consumers every year. On the other hand, the PC market is plummeting. Consumers are moving more towards portable devices and this has created a necessity in the travel industry to have an app for your travel business. Although a lot of travel business owners have understood the need to have an app; there are many who have turned a deaf ear because of the mobile app myths. Here is a list of 7 mobile app myths which have been busted –
1. Consumers still make bookings on their PCs –
Gone are those days when consumers used to make bookings only via their personal computers. A lot of consumers have now moved to smartphones and tablets for making reservations. The PC market is plummeting as hundreds of millions of smartphones and tablets are shipped every year. According to a research conducted in 2008, about 55% or less reservations were made from a smartphone in 24 hours whereas only 14% were made more than a week in advance. Although consumers previously used their smartphones to make reservations only at the last moment; this has changed significantly today. According to another research conducted in 2014, about 35% bookings were made within 24hrs whereas more than 40% were made more than a week out. This clearly shows that consumers now rely more on their portable devices to book tickets online instead of their personal computers.
2. PC is still first priority –
According to the statistics shared above, PC is no longer a priority when making bookings online. Consumers are equally comfortable making reservations on their portable devices Consumers are equally comfortable making reservations on their portable devices and this scenario is going to change as more smartphones get shipped and more apps become interactive, easy to use and easy to develop as well.
3. Everyone has an iPhone. You don’t need to make an app for another device.
This was true a few years ago when the ‘iPhone’ was the only ‘smartphone’. As Android gathered traction, the scenario has changed significantly. Android has now taken over more than 70% of the mobile market making it extremely necessary to develop apps for the Android platform as well. Companies need to have applications for both iOS and Android. Although Windows Phone has a relatively less market share, developing apps for Windows is necessary too.
4. Small screens equal less functionality –
This is not true. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Small screens allow you to turn the complex into something simple and easy. It allows to navigate and consume content easier than on the computer. Travel businesses should feature only the most important information in their smartphone apps. This will prove even more true in the not-too-distant future in case of hands-free devices such as smartwatches and Google glass. As Berman puts it, “Expand your view of what’s possible. Don’t think of the small screen as a compromise. Think of it as a challenge to deliver what’s most important to your customer”.
5. Mobile apps are expensive to build –
Although this is true, it is not the same in all cases. Developing mobile apps is expensive only when you have to develop everything from scratch and if you have a large app and a lot of data. Develop simple, light weight apps is inexpensive and in most cases do not require much time as there are a lot of graphics and templates available today.
6. Mobile apps and mobile sites are the same
Not true! Mobile apps and mobile sites are different and can be kept largely different (if necessary). For an instance, it is better to include eye catching graphics in a mobile application instead of a mobile site as including a lot of heavy images on a mobile site might require longer for the site to load. On the other hand, mobile apps require a one time download and rest is all just data (mostly feeds or transaction data) going to and forth between the app and the server. It seldom requires downloading heavy graphics and can reduce the amount of time required to check or make a booking (compared to a mobile site). Although many companies might want to keep the UI of their mobile app similar to that of the mobile site, the experience can be different depending on many factors.
7. Marketing mobile apps is difficult and expensive.
Unless you are a new business, marketing your mobile app is not that expensive. There are many free methods you can use that can increase the number of downloads of your apps significantly. For example, including a link to your mobile app on your website, posting it on facebook, twitter and other social networking websites, writing a press release, making a youtube video, including a link in your email signature are some of the free promotion methods that work great, unless, as discussed earlier, you are a new business with no customers or fans whatsoever.
Having a mobile app for your travel business is absolutely necessary and not having one might be significantly limiting your business’ growth. It is time, travel businesses start focusing on portable device users as well.