Mobile Travel App Guide goes into the third round

Right in time for the ITB Berlin 2013 the third edition of the Mobile Travel App Guide – Edition 2013 powered by ITB will be published. The catalog provides an overview of selected mobile applications in the international travel industry. As in the previous years  there will be an iPad  as well as  print version. 

MTAG_PR_2013The close look at mobile applications in tourism revealed new bias. Last-Minute or Same-Day Hotel bookings represent the overall trend of short-term bookings especially within the Hotel segment. The pioneering app Hotel Tonight started its service already in December 2010. Since then a bunch of copy cats have entered the market. The development in technology, especially the smartphone with its geolocation capability paved the way for last-minute booking apps. Therefore, Same-Day Hotel booking apps got an own category in the Mobile Travel Guide. The second new category in this year`s edition is Flight Tracking, which summarizes apps that radar the air traffic.

Where can you get your personal copy of the Mobile Travel App Guide – Edition 2013 powered by ITB? If you attend this year`s ITB Berlin just come by the booth of mvolution (hall 7.1C, 106) and get your personal copy. If you cannot make it to the event, get the iPad version or download the technolog guide from the ITB Library.

Since 2011 the Mobile Travel App Guide has been released at the ITB Berlin. The catalog has made a name for itself among decision makers in tourism and business travel industry.

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mTourismuscamp 2012: Explore the traveller of tomorrow

What does local and social mean to mobile in tourism? Is the printed travel guide dead? How does roaming influence mobile travel apps? What are the requirements of the traveller of the future? Does every destination need a mobile website?

 mtourismuscamp_logo

Those are just some question that were raised and discussed at the mTourismuscamp 2012 last week in Hannover, which was organized by Tourismuszukunft and TUI.  With 54 registered attendees it was a rather small barcamp. However, the composition of participants was heterogeneous, although (creative and travel) agencies were in superior number.

543860_10151373371664874_741442055_nAs characteristic of a barcamp the sessions were defined and scheduled in the very morning of the event. The session topics varied from technical discussions about html5 and responsive webdesign over the concept of second screen to chances and challenges of Google Now and Passbook for tourism . The most frequented sessions focused the interdependance of Location Based Services and social networks, the usage of QR codes  as well as gamification approaches in tourism.

Here are some of the main statements of the sessions:
–  Travelling becomes constantly individualized because of usage of mobile  technology
– Requirements of the users should be focused when developing a mobile strategy.
– Print is not dead despite digitalization of travel guides.
– Mobile travel apps should offer offline content.
– Roaming costs does not prevent from using mobile websites while travelling anymore, but network coverage.
– QR codes provide touch points between destination and user and help to transfer content offline to online.

Due to the superior number of agencies and academic participants mainly concepts and trends were talked about rather than practice examples analyzed. However, according to the feedback all attendees went home with a lot of inspiration and new ideas. I am looking forward to the next mTourismcamp in 2013!

Mobile in Tourism – mtourismuscamp 2012

No matter if  app or website – mobile solutions is one of the hot topics in tourism industry today. To exchange and discuss trends and chances of mobile services in travel industry the second mTourismuscamp will take place in Hannover on 12th December 2012. The barcamp (user-generated unconference) is organized by Tourismuszukunft and TUI Mobile Services.

Are you working in the travel industry, developing mobile software or just curious about the topic? Do you wanna attend  to the mTourismuscamp, too? Just click here to register! There are still some last places available.

We are looking forward to interesting people and exciting discussions!
Of course we will keep you informed about the event.

Introducing the Mobile Travel App Catalog ITB Berlin 2011 Edition

Pick up your personal edition of the brand new Mobile Travel App Catalog by mvolution at
ITB Berlin 2011 hall 7.1c booth 107.

The Mobile Opportunity

Since the arrival of the Smartphone (not only iPhone but also Android, BlackBerry and newer Nokia devices) and the increasing public awareness thereof, end users (including travellers) have been quick to embrace mobile applications (apps). In the last 12 months there has been an explosion of companies leveraging apps to capture the benefits of mobile technology. According to BITKOM about 900 million apps have been downloaded in Germany in 2010 generating an annual growth of 112% and revenues of 357 million Euro. Over 25% of the German population own and more interestingly use their Smartphone to access the mobile internet: this has become a mass market.

By today the German Apple App Store accounts for about 300.000 apps including 18.324 travel apps (category travel). This is rank no. 7 just after category Utilities with 19.020 apps. Interestingly paid apps account for 72% and only 28% are free travel apps. In terms of downloads the most popular free travel app (in Germany DB Navigator) will reach over 2 million in 2011 and Kayak already has more than 5 million downloads in the US.

Within the App Store category Travel we had a close look at different apps. We analysed the most interesting ones and created 16 categories relating to the travel industry. For each category we took (if available) five travel apps and tried to extract their differences in terms of functionality, ranking and App Store user reviews. We discovered very interesting features and multiple approaches to creating and marketing apps.

The Search function for example, is important for finding places, hotels, train or rental car stations, connections or directions. The analysis showed that there are 10 different ways search (from Augmented Reality to Voice) is used by the app providers. Or Social Media features can range from pure Facebook or Twitter links to integrated sharing functionalities with other Social Media apps. It is also notable that for travel companies booking and reservation via mobile becomes a real positive return on investment business case.

Some players believe that mobile commerce will be arround 20% of their revenue share within the next few years. We think too, that this can be true, because Smartphone apps can create a user experience that is superior to using the corresponding website with the desktop device, and at the same time add specific value to certain travel related use cases. However we also discovered that only a fraction of travel companies do a good job with their mobile strategy which is not understandable considering the importance of the mobile channel.

So we are excited about the future developments in this segment and hope to bring you with this first edition of the Mobile Travel App Catalog, interesting insights into the market. We are also looking forward to getting feedback from you on your mobile experience.

The Mobile Opportunity

Smartphones as security channel for Business Travellers

In two weeks the 3. Forum Sicherheit und Reisen will take place in Stuttgart, Germany. The conference is connecting security and mobility professionals with a focus on saver business travels. One of the discussed aspects will be Smartphones and their influence in security.

Smartphones could play a significant role as Early-warning and Traveler Tracking System. In order to use Smartphones as security channel corporates need to maintain a database with mobile phone numbers of their Business Travellers. This database needs to be connected with a messaging system able to send and receive high quality SMS. The Smartphone not only can receive critical messages but also respond to the system by sending back the actual location in real time.

At the Forum Sicherheit und Reisen several workshops will look closer to the topic. Here is a link of the agenda.

Deichcamp 2011 under the focus of „Mobile Technologies in Tourism“

By now each Tourism oriented company should understand that they need a Social Media and Mobile Strategy. Such organisation should have a team (2 to 3 people) discussing the topic, analysing risks and opportunities and preparing a rough concept. But the topic is quite complex. The Mobile Device isn’t just another channel or format. It is more…

Thus Tourism organisations (Tour operators, Suppliers, OTA’s, Destinations etc.) should take the opportunity to attend next year’s first barcamp dedicated to Mobile Technologies in Tourism from 18th til 20th of February 2011 in Greetsiel Vitalis Hotel. The Deichcamp 2011 is organised by Social Media experts Tourismuszukunft giving the event the spiritedness of todays most discussed topics: Social and Mobile.

There is only limited space for attendees in order to keep the event informational. So please register here today. Looking forward to see you at the beautiful Northsea Coast.

PhoCusWright Conference 2010: Accelerate (your) Mobile Strategy…

…don’t just repurpose (y)our Web site!

This was one of the key messages of the 2010 PhoCusWright Conference last week in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference was a great event to me and presumably to everyone of the over 1.000 high level management attendees. The organizers of PhoCusWright did a great job and as an Executive in Travel Industry one must attend the show or otherwise lose connection of what’s new.

From my point of view, the US is more innovative in Mobile Travel than Europe is, although until 2008 North America was a non-innovative area in respect of Mobile (technology [with the exception of RIM] and usage). Japan, Korea and Europe dominated the progress. However the US dominates the Internet and Software Industry and the arrival of the iPhone turned the Mobile Device into a powerful Internet machine, a perfect combination of an industry changing piece of hardware and the ability to easily use the Internet with it. So US players became strong in the Mobile space too. But I also learned there are opportunities for European Online (and Offline) Travel companies, you only have to be quick and not trapped in your known patterns…

In order to summarise the event I will separate the story into several articels beginning with Philip C. Wolf, President and CEO, PhoCusWright Inc. and his view of Mobile in Travel.

The facts:

  • over 40% of iPhone users access the web more often on iPhone than on PC (in the US)
  • over 60% of Mobile Users own a device less than 12 months old (in the US)
  • disparate devices and channels (globally)
  • devices and interfaces have become increasingly visual and touch oriented (globally)

The behavior:

  • connecting with friends
  • updating locations
  • input: our coordinates –> changing all outputs
  • local check-in services are hot: where you are, who you like, what you want
  • virtual status
  • invisible graffiti

The message:

The mobile social web is the most powerful collaborative tool in the history…

One example:

A user checks-in at a hotel desk. The receptionist wants to have additional information from the guest. The guest itself is annoyed and responeses: “Don’t you see that I already checked-in on Foursquare and that the information you are now asking me is (already) there?”

My conclusions:

And yes, I said that years ago and now it’s been verified by a well known research company (PhoCusWright): Mobile has already and will have a changing and remarkable impact on Travel company’s strategies.

Coming up next: Steve Hafner, Co-Founder and CEO, Kayak.com

The PhoCusWright Conference 2010

Was der FVW Kongress in Deutschland ist The PhoCusWright Conference in Nordamerika, nur um einige Dimensionen größer. Ich werde dieses Jahr das erste Mal daran teilnehmen und beobachten, welche Innovationen dort präsentiert werden und vielleicht den Weg nach Europa finden. Die Konferenz bietet einen sehr interessanten Teilbereich für neue Ideen, den The Travel Innovation Summit. Dort präsentieren sich meist junge Unternehmen aus den Bereichen Reiseplanung, Reisevermittlung oder Reisenachbearbeitung, aber eben auch große Konzerne wie Amadeus.

Ich habe mir die Liste der Innovatoren angeschaut und es sind selbstverständlich auch Unternehmen mit dem Fokus auf Smartphones dabei. Leider konnte ich bislang nur drei Innovatoren aus diesem Bereich identifizieren,  aber ich denke  vorort werden es hoffentlich mehr sein:

  • Movitas – Mobile Marketinglösung für Hotels, Resorts, Destinationen und Reisebüros
  • Kony Solutions – Mobile Application Platform
  • GroundLink – iPhone App zum Reservieren von Taxi, Limousinen und Shuttles

Auch im Programmbereich der Konferenz fehlt Mobile natürlich nicht. Ich bin jedenfalls gespannt, was mich dort erwartet.

Die News kurz vor der ITB

Morgen geht sie los, die größte Reisemesse. Und diesmal mit dem Topthema Mobile Travel Services. Da ich die Messe in den letzten Tagen vorbereitet habe und viel mit unseren Kunden beschäftigt war, habe ich nicht in aller Tiefe über die letzten Neuigkeiten berichten können. Daher hier wenigsten ein Überblick.

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Anzeige__ Mobile Apps für iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Nokia u.a.
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– Dieses Jahr gibts auch wieder den ITB Mobile Guide für Smartphones.

– Auch PhoCusWright veröffentlicht für die ITB eine iPhone App.

L’tur debütiert mit einer echt tollen iPhone App, die Reiseziele nach der aktuellen Temperatur vorort oder zufällig mit Würfel anzeigt. Zudem gibts einen L’tur Shopfinder. Gebucht wird über eine Hotline.

– HRS gewinnt den Innovationspreis-IT 2010 in der Kategorie Mobile.

– Kann Nokia im Reiseumfeld gegenüber Apple, Google & Co Boden gut machen und wie ist die Strategie dahin? Ein interessantes Interview mit Robert Rogers von Nokia.

HRS und Nokia bieten erste integrierte mobile Buchungslösung für Ovi Karten.

Aida und TUI Cruises bringen zeitgleich iPhone Apps auf den Markt.

– Kurze Zeit später folgt ein TUI Cruises “iPhone-Katalog” (eigentlich was für’s iPad!).

1.200% Wachstum bei der Nutzung von Mobilen Bordkarten im Jahr 2009 und 2 Milliarden davon, werden in 2010 über Smartphones zum Einsatz kommen.

mietwagen.com bringt eine iPhone App raus.

– Mit einer ab Mai erhältlichen App (“Snap2travel“) von Dertour kann man Katalogbilder abfotografieren und ins Netz senden, um daraufhin weitere Infos zu erhalten. Man darf gespannt sein.

– Ähnliches bietet ISO Travel Solutions mit der Lösung Mobile Booking Engine (MBE). Man kann gedruckte Inhalte abfotografieren. Die werden erkannt und daraufhin weitere Informationen an das Smartphone gesendet.

Reisekosten unterwegs erfassen und auswerten, natürlich mit dem iPhone.

– Bis zum 26.02.10 wusste ich nicht mal, dass es Vechta gibt und was ist der Nordkreis? Dank ihrer iPhone App und der PR drumherum, weiß ich jetzt zumindest, das Vechta zwischen Osnabrück und Bremen liegt.

Wir werden zur ITB noch mehr sehen, davon bin ich überzeugt. Mal schauen, ob ich es schaffe, während der ITB den einen oder anderen Beitrag zu schreiben. Bis dahin, Stefan…

One touch bookings

Mit einer Berührung Buchungen durchzuführen… Das ist doch eine schöne Vision. Genau diese Vision haben wir und zeigen auf der diesjährigen ITB in Halle 6.1 Stand 155 die ersten Ansätze auf dem Weg dahin. Mobile “Touch Devices” stehen im Vordergrund dieser Vision, aber wir gehen auch neue Wege im Web für das PC-Format.

Lassen Sie sich überraschen und besuchen Sie uns in Halle 6.1 oder bei den Vorträgen in Halle 7.1c auf der ITB. Für einen konkreten Termin kontaktieren Sie bitte Stefan Wagner (Xing). Wir freuen uns auf Ihren Besuch.

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