Travo Summit 2012: Travel firms failing mobile users

Too many travel firms are failing to optimise their online offering for mobile, according to leading travel technology players.

Mark Lenahan, vice-president of product strategy at technology supplier OpenJaw, told the Travolution Summit in London yesterday: “I groan every time I see a mobile app that forces you to fill in a form.” 

Lenahan said: “You’re using a touch device – you don’t want to be filling in forms.”

He told the travel technology summit: “You have to start from the user experience.

“You don’t go to Tesco and have to declare everything you intend to buy before you enter the store.”

Nishma Robb, chief client officer of digtital marketing firm iProspect said her company had checked five of the biggest names in online travel – including Thomson and Travel Republic – and found only one optimised for mobile.

“And that was still using drop-down menus,” she said. “Only 37% of advertiser websites are optimised for mobile.”

Robb told the summit: “Your presence needs to be consistent across platforms.”

She said: “2013 will be the year of mobile, the year of big data, the year of personalisation.” But she warned: “Research shows 44% of consumers won’t come back if your site isn’t fast enough.”

Brannon Winn, chief commercial officer of air fare search provider Vayant, said mobile dominates among new entrants to the sector.

He said: “95% of start-ups we work with begin with mobile and design their product around mobile with a pure mobile strategy from the get go.”

Lenahan agreed, but added: “All start-ups begin with the same trajectory. They start as B to C and then realise they can’t get enough C and after about six months pivot to B to B.

“That is because it is very expensive to acquire customers. The cost of customer acquisition is the basis of B to C business.”

The seventh Travolution Summit was held at The Grange St Pauls hotel in central London and drew an audience of more than 230 people from the online travel sector.

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