Flight booking mobile apps have become an ancillary source of revenue for airlines in the travel industry. As more and more travelers have turned to mobile apps to book their travel, online travel agencies are leveraging flight booking mobile apps to improve customer loyalty and boost their revenues. Mobile apps have spearheaded a paradigm shift in the travel behavior of passengers globally, with over 83% of travelers using mobile apps as their primary travel tool.
In this technology-infused era, almost 85% of travelers use their smartphones to make travel bookings, resulting in travel apps standing on seventh place in the category of the most downloaded apps. Stats also suggest that 58% of travelers prefer mobile apps to search and book flights. Flight booking mobile apps help in enhancing the convenience and personalization of the customers’ travel plans. Increased customer satisfaction leads to customer loyalty and therefore, increased sales and revenue.
How To Boost Revenue With Mobile App?
Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like Booking.com and Expedia have transformed the way travelers plan their trips. However, they face stiff competition from airlines and hotel chains to increase their revenue and customers on their travel portal. In this competitive market, a flight booking mobile app with strong and innovative strategies will help you gain a competitive edge and boost revenue.
Here are a few strategies you should adopt to boost revenue with a flight booking mobile app:
- In-Flight Experience
Most travelers prefer an enhanced in-flight experience through their flight booking mobile apps. These experiences allow travelers to upgrade their seats to business or first class, swap seats with fellow passengers for a fee and book preferred meals. Your online travel agency can earn a fee to provide such upgrades, while the airlines can sell their otherwise vacant seats and the customers stay entertained and stress-free. It is a win-win situation for all.
- Offer Deals & Packages
A great way to attract customers and ensure they book their flights using your flight booking mobile app is by offering them hot deals, seasonal packages, and unique offers. Travelers are always on a look-out for deals and offer and go with the apps that provide them the best deal. Leading travel portals such as Booking.com use this strategy to boost their revenue.
- Engaging Website and App
Your travel portal should be attractive, user-friendly and engage the customers with good functionality and high-quality images. It is important for your online travel agency to understand the dynamic needs of the customers and provide a seamless flight booking experience.
Your website can also show pop-ups with the latest offers and deals to garner the attention of customers and persuade them to complete their bookings. Further, your website should be SEO-friendly and the domain name should be catchy and easy to remember.
- Engage Your Customers
Engaging your customers requires you to understand their needs and preferences. Your flight booking mobile app can include a feature that analyzes the booking and travel behavior of your customers and assists them with their future bookings.
Your app can also send out push notifications to inform customers about special deals in relation to their latest searches. Further, you can also engage your customers through blogs or news articles on different destinations that the customer may be interested in.
Who doesn’t love the add-ons in any service? Offering added value to customers for a better experience would help boost your revenue as it would attract more customers to pay for the deals you offer. For instance, Singapore Airlines offer a free meal coupon for long-distance flights with a layover. If you are traveling from point X to point Y with a layover in Singapore, you can use the coupon to have a meal at any outlet in the Changi International Airport.
Customers with a long layover would love the offer that most OTAs don’t consider providing. Similarly, some flights such as China Southern Airlines, even offer accommodation for long-layovers in China. You can take inspiration from these airline companies to offer something similar to your customers.
You can display professional images and videos of travel destinations uploaded by your customers to entice prospective customers. The images and videos will instill a sense of trust and reliability for your flight booking app amongst your customers. As per a finding by Airbnb, the listings with professional images receive 2-3 times more bookings than average listings.
- 24*7 Customer Support
Travelers seek customer support from their mobile apps while on-the-go. 24*7 customer support provides great benefits to customers when they need more information in relation to their travel schedule and flight. OTAs that provide this feature in their flight booking mobile apps generate higher revenue through increased customer satisfaction and retention.
Moreover, it is best to ask customers to leave their reviews and feedback, to understand what services travelers seek in a mobile app, and that would help you stay ahead of the curve by providing the best services.
- Social Media Engagement
People are easily influenced by what they see on social media and many of them make their travel booking under that influence. Therefore, engaging your customers with good content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, is an effective sales technique. Being active on social media also creates brand visibility and quality content helps you rank higher on Google.
Looking at case studies of strategies that leading companies adopt can help you understand the flight booking behavior and use similar strategies to boost revenue with your flight booking mobile app. Let us look at a few case studies wherein the companies analyzed the behavior of their customers and changed their strategies accordingly to garner more conversions and ultimately increase their sales revenue.
Singapore Airlines: End-to-End Engagement With Customers
Realizing the challenge of living up to the expectations and requirements of the ultra-connected travelers of today, Singapore Airlines rolled out a sophisticated multi-device app for smartwatches, tablets, smartphones, and Apple Watch. The multi-device app aimed at increasing customer loyalty, satisfaction, and engagement through an enhanced travel experience.
One of the most important features of the app was the Real-time alerts for the day of travel. Through a survey, the airlines found that travelers mostly sought information and notifications on flight disruptions, and therefore they introduced an app feature that gives real-time updates on flight delays, gate changes, cancellations, etc. The app was designed to have a personalized home screen that displayed information on upcoming trips.
Therefore, where most of the flight booking mobile apps interact with travelers only at one stage in the travel cycle, the multi-device app by Singapore Airlines engaged with the customers at every stage of the trip.
Kayak: Experiment With Security Message
Kayak is one of the most recognized online travel agency owned and operated by Booking Holdings. The company keeps testing the influence of app features on their customers and the revenue and optimizes all aspects of the mobile app accordingly. One such aspect that they tested was the security message that is displayed to the customers during checkout.
The message assures the customers that the payment is encrypted and secured, as all travelers are concerned about the safety of their information and apprehensive about using their card details on mobile apps despite the good reputation of a company.
The assurance message merely reminds customers about risks that may be involved in sharing their information. Therefore, Kayak experimented and tracked conversions by removing the security message, to find out that the bookings fell when the message was removed.
Although people might not understand what is SSL/TLS encrypted payment, the experiment revealed that they still required an assurance. Therefore, such assurances convince your customers to proceed with making the payments for their bookings through your flight booking mobile app, without any doubts or apprehensions.
Hopper: Push Notifications To Drive Conversions
The Hopper mobile app facilitates customers to track airfares and avail the best deals. It introduced a feature by the name of Watch, to allow people to track airfares over time by sending push notifications for changes in flight prices. So, whenever there’s a change in the price of the flight the customer has been wanting to book, the app sends a push notification to the user asking them for further action.
Through this feature, Hopper reported that they send more than 60% notifications encouraging people to wait for better prices resulting in 90% of the app revenue.
Although push notifications sometimes may result in annoying customers with unnecessary messages or something that they may no longer be interested in, however, they are useful in keeping customers updated. If used strategically, push notifications can drive revenue for your online travel agency.
United Airlines: Refining Flight Options
The third-largest airline in the world, United Airlines is an American airline that has a wide presence in the Asia-pacific region. United Airlines recognized the overwhelming response of customers when they are presented with a variety of options to choose from, which can possibly lead to inaction. They found the perfect way to keep the customers engaged between two ends in the flight booking process.
Consequently, they displayed flights to users by lowest prices, time and duration, after which customers had an option to select the flight according to class and comfort. This kind of feature is generally not offered by flight booking mobile apps. Therefore, grouping together price points under a single option didn’t make the users feel overwhelmed which led to higher conversions.
Reputed companies also make mistakes, however, they constantly experiment their way to success. To boost revenue through your flight booking app, you must also optimize your mobile app experience for increased conversions. If your online travel agency doesn’t still have a flight booking mobile app, you are missing out on a lot.
A reliable flight booking app development company can help develop a comprehensive mobile app for your business so that you stay ahead of the curve.