Mobile 2.0 – The Top 10 Mobile Apps by Airlines
Yes, you read that correctly. I did not write Web 2.0. Of course, that’s not because it’s not relevant – it’s terribly relevant – but because this newer term encompasses Web 2.0 and then some. So what exactly do I mean by Mobile 2.0 and why is it important? Cutting to the chase, here are some things we all know: first, ordinary feature phones are dying a fast death and smartphone shipments are rising as iOS and Android become increasingly popular with others, such as Windows Phone 7, hot in pursuit. Second, people are increasingly using their phones to do tasks they earlier used their laptops or desktops for: hotel search, ticket bookings, banking, emails, etc. Third, smartphones are creating an all new category of the always connected traveler – a web-savvy, social-networking geek who isn’t afraid to declare to his virtual networks what he’s thinking or doing.
The future is mobile
Given the rapidly changing interactional/behavioural habits of the traveler, it has become important for airlines to target them where they can be found. Close your eyes and think for a moment about what the word mobile phone means to you: I’m quite certain that most of the readers here will at once think of an iPhone, Android phone, Blackberry or a similar device. It seems that the growth of social media – Facebook and Twitter primarily – as a valuable engagement tool to drive business goals has only helped create a more complex landscape. The growth of iOS and Android (especially iOS which is not just available on phones but on iPods and iPads as well), coupled with the ability to create custom apps to target customers and offer them value-added services right on their cellphones has changed the way airlines are thinking about customer engagement and driving revenue, customer service etc. In the past we’ve illustrated how mobile has been an important part of various airline initiatives in the social era: travel distribution, social loyalty and location-based-service initiatives. However, this case-pack deals purely with how airlines have specifically created mobile apps (in particular, on the iPhone and iPad) to engage customers while driving revenue and customer service as well.
Before we move on to the case-pack, here is a checklist of ways in which airlines have tried to differentiate their apps while offering value to their customers:
- Booking: Some airlines, such as Turkish Airlines, have made it ridiculously easy to book tickets from within the apps in a crazily small amount of time. Customers love it of course: the easier and quicker you make the booking process, the more likelihood that the sale will be completed.
- Convenience: British Airways allows boarding by flashing the QR code powered boarding passes that can be shown directly from an iPhone. Way to go paperless!
- Travel inspiration: Lufthansa and KLM have created apps that are excellent at making the users of their apps drool at the prospect of travelling to delicious destinations on these airlines.
- Complimentary travel services: A number of airline apps now allow customers to rent a car, know the weather and do more at their destination that is not strictly airline-related.
- Augmented reality: A new player but one with huge scope for engaging the customers who’re usually more than happy (and mostly fascinated) to use the service for things such as navigating an airport or finding places to redeem loyalty points (Qantas).
That’s it, for now! Enjoy the case-studies!
Do let us know what you think of this Top 10 case-pack. Comments, suggestions, brickbats are all welcome in the comments section below. Alternately, you can tweet us @simpliflying.
Note: While iPad apps currently don’t seem to have similar alternates on other tablet platforms, a number of the iPhone apps featured within are indeed available on the Android platform. As of now, the primacy of the iOS platform has led us to concentrate on iOS apps alone.