Mobile Apps

Travel on Mobile: Using the device to its fullest

In the final instalment of my Travel on Mobile segment I decided to look at the bits of mobile that people often forget to take advantage of:
Push messaging;
Email on mobile;
SMS; Google Now
Push Messaging

If you are lucky enough to have a large customer base who have already downloaded your application, don’t let them become unengaged, disenchanted users. I read once that only 26% of apps are actually used once they are downloaded, so you need to do everything you can to remind your users that your app is on their device. Push messaging is a great way to do this. Put simply push messages are ones which the user has not specifically initiated which are sent to them through an application that they have previously downloaded.

A great example of use of this is the Virgin Australia Flight Specials app. Its primary function is to inform the user of sales that are occurring and it allows the user to set up specific routes as alerts and will then send a message to the user on their device when those ones are on sale. A great example of set and forget. This is a user opt-in feature, meaning the user has to agree to push messaging on download of the application. Even so, don’t abuse it to the point the user decides to delete your app. Email on Mobile

I’ve written about this before, but as more than 50% of emails are now opened on a mobile device, it’s important to make sure your email, promoting extra frequent flyer points, or sales on destinations, can be easily read by the user without having to pinch and zoom. SMS

The mobile application or mobile websites poorer sister, the SMS now often gets overlooked as a means to reach customers. It’s subject to lots of anti-spam regulation, so make sure you do it correctly and get your customers to opt-in first. In my opinion it’s the best and simplest form of communication. SMS messages are almost always opened, put your message in your customers hand immediately, and force you to really consider what your key call to action is because of the limitation in the number of characters available. Before you send out a mass SMS broadcast, ensure any links within it are optimised for viewing on mobile. There’s nothing worse than wanting to find out more and being taken to a desktop site on a smaller device. Google Now

Google Now is my new favourite travel accessory. It doesn’t require me to input the details of my flight, simply picks up all the information from my email and displays it automatically. I was recently informed of a delay to my flight by Google Now before Virgin Australia had even updated their website – Google somehow knew about it first. At the simpler end of the spectrum it also informs me automatically of when I need to leave for appointments even taking into account traffic conditions. I look forward to the day it can have a taxi waiting outside to take me to the airport without any intervention from me… Just be careful what you say around it, saying the phrase “OK Google” will launch voice search – and it has sometimes done this from my back pocket!