Smartphones - customer advocacy and travel booking tools

22 March 2012


More than half of the UK population now own a smartphone[1] and Amadeus reckon that 16% of their travellers surveyed use smartphones to book trips

Android leads the pack as shown below. and Kantar Comtech worldpanel

Incentives for tweets

Smart phones are now being used to win incentives such as free holidays for the best tweet at the Future of Tourism (#futourism) event last night in London. My smartphone stopped working this week and the phone company said I’d have to return it, so no smartphone, no prize for me!

Engaging your customers beyond your product

Incentives can drive a lot of frantic activity on Twitter as I watched the revolving tweets on the screen at last night’s event. Some of the amusing tweets caused a ripple of giggles, however many were full of enthusiastic praise for the company hosting the event and their work with communities in developing countries and several echoed the view that “all inclusive trips” are not sustainable. Gadventures is very smart to “engage its customers beyond its product” as shown in the #futourism event.

As 10%[2] of Twitter users still don’t know what a #hashtag[3] is – training your audience with the relevant hashtags is important. Gadventures trains their 1000+ staff to tweet for the company and has double figure growth with over 43,000 Twitter followers and 211,000 Facebook fans.

Active Fans and Followers

The value of all this free customer advocacy spreading via the thousands of followers and fans generating messages, from as far afield as Australia, is considerable. It’s not about the number of fans and followers but more about how active they are. One committed fan with active followers can be worth so much more than an inactive one.

Winter Work Breaks

As Gary Arndt commented at the Future of Tourism event, we are seeing a fundamental change in how we blend work and leisure time. Knowledge workers can work anywhere, anytime, thanks mostly to their mobile devices.  Colleagues of mine disappear to Thailand on a work break and run their business as usual. I’m just waiting for the enterprising hotels in sunny spots to offer the “Winter Work Break” with unlimited sunshine, free wifi and no heating bills.

Smart phone users are 2.5 times more likely to use social media. Emerging markets such as China have seen phenomenal 800%+ growth in mobile apps as illustrated in a recent WTM blog and are showing frustration with their online travel booking experience.

Mobile apps saving customer service costs

Mobile technology is only just being adopted by travel companies such as Airbnb to enhance the customer journey and save customer service costs. They have been using mobile to enable owners to confirm bookings for their properties via text.

Mobile email

Research [4] shows that only 13% of the top 89 travel companies had their email viewable on a mobile device.  In 2012 15.1million people are expected to book travel on a mobile device[5] and so far hotels and airlines are the most active in developing their mobile presence as shown below but many travel players are without a mobile enabled website or mobile app.[6][7]

Expect the future of online search to go social within the next 12 months and mobile after that.  


“Mobile is becoming the key way that consumers are searching for, using and creating content - brands ignore this trend at their peril”


Don’t forget to download the new Mobile App for World Travel Market when it launches in April this year.


[2] Source:  - also shows 16% of users access Twitter most often on a mobile device – click to view Twitter stats here

[4] L2 Think Tank’s Digital IQ survey 2011

[5] “Mobile Travel Takes Off: Emerging Trends and Best Practices for Marketers,”

eMarketer, March 2011

[6] L2thinktank research with 89 top travel brands in 2011

[7] L2thinktank research with 89 top travel brands in 2011

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