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Google's head of travel has urged the corporate travel industry to "get good at mobile" and to start investing more in that channel because "the consumer is already there".
Anna Chomse, speaking at the ITM conference today in St. Andrews, Scotland, said the industry had fallen behind other sectors such as retail, and travellers were becoming "increasingly frustrated" by the lack of convergence to mobile for many aspects of corporate travel.
Chomse said that, according to Google's research published at the end of 2014, one in three queries for travel on Google now comes from mobile devices and it will overtake desktop by the end of the year, so it's going to be the “primary way users are researching their trips”.
“Recently the number one biggest shift in user behaviour is the emergence of mobile and although consumers are predominantly using their mobile to research travel it's not the preferred option for booking, so this limits a company's ability to invest in that channel.”
She added: “As an industry, travel has always been a pioneer of innovation with the likes of Expedia, which was one of the first companies to get a grip on the web and develop online platforms.
“But we've rested on our laurels and if you look at the success some of the retail companies have online, people are more than ready to book travel through a mobile channel – 60 per cent of Amazon's Christmas sales were made through a mobile device.”
Chomse said that there was not the same shift to mobile in corporate travel because of a lack of investment and added that something “must be done” to correct that.
She used the examples of innovators in the industry such as Airbnb and Uber which are online-only technologies.
“An example with Uber is instead of inserting your credit card details by hand you take a photo of it and it automatically picks up all the information, so in one click you have moved a lot of pain for the user,” added Chomse.
“If your company isn't thinking about mobile in this way then it’s imperative you change that focus over the next year.
“50 per cent of emails are read on mobile devices but a lot of emails sent out by TMCs are not formatted for mobile, which is incredibly frustrating. Users expect simple and easier processes, born out of the trend towards mobile users.”
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