Budget carrier easyJet said it is looking at adding discovery and inspiration functionality to its mobile app, but will not comprise the functionality of the service.
Speaking at Travel Technology Europe in a session on acing mobile Daniel Young, easyJet digital development manager, mobile, said the airline was proud of its achievements.
He said the easyJet app, originally launched five years ago having been built by Mobile Travel Technologies, now Travelport Mobile, consistently outperforms larger rivals’.
“The app started out as quite a basic booking app, but on that we have added various functionality and features like mobile boarding passes and flight checker to make travel easier for our customers.
“We see mobile as our day to day job. We realise we are on a journey and it’s a never ending journey and we have to consistently develop.”
Young said the easyJet app consistently gets between and 4 and 4.5 star rating in the iOS app store and generates positive feedback on platforms like Twitter.
He said the airline does not pressurise customers to rate the app or pay for downloads, but takes an organic approach to growing app usage.
There have been 19.9 million downloads of the app which see more than three million monthly active users.
“We are a utility-based app,” Young said. “We are happy that people will come to our app, use it and maybe uninstall it and come back again.
“We are taking more and more traffic from the website. There’s no day to day discovery yet, but we are looking at that.”
Young said in December mobile bookings were up 16.6% and on average 24% of passengers are using a mobile boarding pass each week.
In the week before last 230,000 passengers used a mobile boarding pass. Last year easyJet’s mobile channel was worth £600 million, up 22% on the previous year.
Easyjet’s mobile users on average make 50% more bookings than non-mobile customers and are 3% more valuable, added Young.
“You have to keep it simple and get the basics right, and have a passionate, focused and empowered team,” he said.
“It’s not all about throwing people at a problem, it’s about getting the right people, people who are focussed on making a difference on mobile.”
EasyJet has just four people working on the mobile team while there are an additional 13 people in Dublin, where Travelport Mobile is based.
The airline prioritises speed and stability and says it will never have more than three versions of its app live at any one time.
It has only two iOS versions, so the app does not work on iPhone 4 handsets.
“When you have a lean team you have to make sure you are moving forwards and not really worrying about the stragglers,” Young said.
“Whatever we develop had to work first time. It has to be simple enough that customers get it. If you have to explain how to use a feature then you have not delivered it the right way.
“Listen to what your customers want. Be agile in all your approaches. Travel and tourism constantly changes so you have to be able to adapt all your approaches.”
EasyJet has sought to work with partners when developing new features rather than build them itself and makes decisions based on feedback and data rather than commercial gain.
Its collaborative SDK (Software Development Kit) approach has also seen it integrate Flightradar24 allowing users to see exactly where their aircraft is.
A new ‘Mobile Host’ service which uses geo-fencing to know where customers are guides users through airports and is live with 39 airports, including Gatwick, that have agreed to allow easyJet to use their data.
Young said launching with Apple Watch was an opportunity to “play with wearables” and although it did not make much of a difference it meant it was ready to integrate Apple Pay when that became available.
“We do not lock ourselves into a particular roadmap. Given the industry we work in I’m happy to lock in for three months and have a pretty good idea about what I want to do for the next six months. Beyond that you are wasting your time.
“Innovation is part of our DNA. We’re willing to experiment and take risks. We get first mover advantage and this can result in really good PR and more app downloads.”