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SA companies to place strong focus on mobile applications for travellers in 2013

The African Business Travel Association (ABTA) announced that mobile travel applications will be far more of a priority for the South African business travel community in 2013.
JOHANNESBURG - Speaking during the build up to the Associations events taking place in Johannesburg and Cape Town next week focusing on this topic, ABTA Founder Monique Swart said that many of ABTA's Buyer Members had indicated that more strategic focus would be placed on the usage of mobile travel applications for business travellers in 2013.  The main drivers for this trend include increased traveller productivity, enhanced return on investment of business trips, improved traveller tracking and safety, more efficient processes pertaining to expense management and better alignment with global trends.

"We are very happy to hear that corporations will be placing more focus on this very important aspect of business travel in the near future," said Swart.  "It is of vital importance that companies start understanding that mobile travel applications are not just a current trend that will soon disappear - Mobile technology is changing the face of the corporate travel industry at an alarming rate globally and savvy business travel professionals know that it's not just about keeping up, but more about understanding the strategic value that these tools can add to their corporate travel programs.  We are also seeing an increasing amount of local Travel Suppliers, Airlines, Hotels, TMC's and Travel Agents developing applications specifically for the South African market place, many of which are set to launch in the next two to three months, so 2013 is going to be an exciting year indeed!"

A recent survey of 5000 travellers by Nielsen shows some very interesting statistics pertaining to how people use their mobile phones when travelling.  Respondents indicated that they spent 95% of their time accessing information via mobile travel applications as opposed to just 5% by using standard web browsers.  In addition, 70% of respondents indicated that the majority of their time spent on mobile applications was to access navigational tools.

Swart believes that there is still a lack of understanding about the true value and ease of use of mobile travel applications and that many are still to embrace the fact that these applications can add tremendous value to travellers and business travel programs.  "One only needs to spend a bit of time browsing through these applications to understand the impact they can have and the limitless options available.  There are applications for pretty much anything you can think of - city subway maps, itinerary consolidators, expense scanners, flight trackers, wi-fi finders, translating tools -  you name it! And most are extremely easy to access and use, so even the techno-phobes out there have no need to fear!"

In a recent white paper by Amadeus "The Always Connected Traveller", the importance of traveller productivity is highlighted, reflecting that mobile travel applications play an extremely important role by providing enhanced productivity options to travellers on every phase of their journey, from 'pre-trip' to 'at the airport' to 'on board', then 'at the destination' and finally 'post trip'. This white paper also highlights the key air travel application functionalities required by travellers including travel disruption management, real time flight status and real time baggage arrival updates to name a few.

With an estimated 73.4% of the world's population being connected to mobile technology and 5 billion mobile devices being used across the globe, ABTA aims to de-mystify the topic of mobile travel applications at a series of events tackling this trend next week. "Our events being hosted in Johannesburg and Cape Town on 23 and 25 October respectively could not come at a better time," says Swart.  "These events will assist our local travel industry members and buyers to understand the usage of these applications within corporate travel programs and how to get the most out of them from a business travel perspective".
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