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You are a tourism professionnal, do you need to implement a mobile app strategy ? The smartphone weighs 23% of the total digital audience private tourism stakeholders. Did you know that ? Have a look on these key figures (m-tourism : key figures). Tourism also has to set up its Mobile App Strategy. Nearly a quarter of all hotel bookings are now made using a mobile device. Companies now need to take steps to ensure that mobile fulfills its potential and becomes a real business opportunity – from installing free-access Wi-Fi hot spots for guests to developing online booking apps.

 

M-tourism is thriving. To simplify the landscape, the market’s key players can be divided into two categories :

  1. Major players, such as retailers, online booking sites, comparison sites and suppliers (transport companies etc.).
  2. SMEs, independent owners running a hotel, a guest house, a restaurant or even an amusement park, a cultural venue or a festival organized by the region.

Very different strategies will be applied depending on which category the player falls into. One will have a transactional aim, while the other will have both a promotional and a transactional aim. In this post, I’ll be focusing more on SMEs, independents and regions. What are the key recommendations you need to follow in order to develop a value-generating mobile strategy ?

 

  1. Nurture the relationship with the customer 

It is thought that more than half of all people in France use the Internet to prepare for a trip. Their smartphone is the device they are most likely to take with them when they go. Mobile devices are therefore the best way to welcome travelers and provide them with advice, anywhere and anytime. So they don’t have to visit a tourist bureau or contact reception at their hotel. Instant messaging can be used – via Twitter, for example – for bolstering customer relations and coming across as more responsive. This is a tool that is more useful for groups with enough in the way of human resources for them to be able to deliver a relevant service. Relationships with customers are also built on the availability of useful information. They should be such that your customer feels as though they have a customized relationship with your company. Consider customized messages for making sure that your customer has direct access to the information they need for their trip. It may be hotel and restaurant addresses. Or details of places to visit. A useful local contacts so they can get around. Why not information about parking spaces near their hotel, etc. Nurturing the customer relationship means knowing what path they have taken and creating a personalized relationship with them.

 

  1. Promote the destination

This is something that online booking sites have understood for a long time now. Users’ opinions have a great deal of influence when it comes to choosing a hotel or restaurant. The same applies to tourist destinations. One of the key components of mobility is the social angle. Being able to share moments of one’s life, one’s photos and emotions, etc. You could therefore just as well consider building your strategy around the emotions associated with traveling. Turn your users into ambassadors for their respective destinations by encouraging them to share their life moments.

 

  1. Showcase a place

How can you enhance the appeal of a museum, a historical or cultural site, a festival or a region? One avenue worth exploring involves developing a mobile application so as to link up the “physical” visit to the site with a virtual visit. This is what people refer to when they talk about the visitor being on a continuous route. The impact is even greater when using digital technologies results in a more immersive experience, creating a real bridge to the physical visit.

Wins are created when:

  • users can access content quickly,
  • they can be geolocalized and their experience personalized,
  • the app can serve up content that supplements the content already available on the site,
  • browsing it provides the user with information that is useful and valuable.

 

  1. Inform travelers looking for authenticity

Mobile device-based tourist guides are becoming increasingly popular. Do mobile versions of all the classic guidebooks need to be created ? Regional tourist boards are better off exploiting the local information niche, providing users with “really useful tips”. Something that guidebooks are less able to do. This could involve special bicycle routes or boat trips. Or promotional campaigns with restaurant owners, different types of visit designed to cater to all preferences, etc. All this information needs to be useful. It needs to be fun. It needs to be interactive. If a regional tourist board decides to invest in this kind of app, the option for users to access information offline, the opportunity for them to take advantage of special local offers and be made to feel special are all key levers that will help establish it as a must-have app. And just how relevant a mobile guide’s local and geolocalized information is will make all the difference between it and a classical guide for travelers seeking an authentic experience.

 

  1. Keep it useful and fun

Users will only spend brief, fleeting periods of time using your app, in a broad range of contexts. Whether you adopt a transactional or a promotional strategy, you should:

  • Give users an experience that is straightforward, ergonomically designed and intuitive,
  • Provide them with something useful,
  • Create something that’s fun to use.

If your app can do all these things, you’ll have a good working basis. It could be based around a game – a fun and friendly approach that offers users numerous options to take part in competitions, take advantage of special offers, take up challenges, etc.

 

Whatever strategy you decide to adopt, don’t forget that your app development project can’t work if you hurry it.

  • Prototyping your project to define all its important features and functions is an essential phase,
  • A communications plan should be deployed when your app is released so that people know about it,
  • You need to assess any problems to do with maintaining your app beforehand – both as regards the technical side of things so it can be accessed from any mobile device, and in terms of content.

Freedom to create your bespoke project

Wakanda’s role is to give you the freedom you need to think, and then to design, develop and deploy your mobile strategy in whatever way you see fit. Wakanda Platform helps you free yourself of technical considerations. So you can focus on your business intelligence. It’s an open source platform designed to:

  • manage your app’s whole production cycle in the same environment,
  • give you the freedom to choose the technology that works best for your project: our platform integrates a wide selection of existing technologies,
  • make it easier for you to maintain your app, ensuring that you can upgrade your tools.