'Get set to go mobile', travel distribution industry warned

06th October 2010
'Get set  to go mobile', travel distribution industry warned
Tim Gunstone, Urrshila Kelkar and Joe Nguyen at the Travel Distribution Summit, Mumbai,Oct 6

Tomorrow's travellers will expect to research, plan and book their journeys on their mobile devices -- and the travel fraternity ignores this brugeoning trend at its peril, an industry gathering in Mumbai was told.

Key speakers on Day One of the Travel Distribution Summit, drove home the point that exploding mobile phone usage in geographies like India, meant customers would expect to find all the tools they needed to plan travel -- both business and leisure -oriented -- on their handsets. indeed for many of them, their phones might well be the first and only Internet access devices they would ever use.

Joe Nguyen, Asia -Pac Vice President for Internet usagemonitors, ComScore, said, over 16 million Indians visited travel-related sites every month-- and the country also accounted for the maximum reach to online banking and financial services in the region.

Tim Gunstone,Managing Director of Eye fo Travel, the UK-based organisers of the Summit, pointed at the experienceof carriers like Ryan Air who were almost wholly dependent on the Web for their business. "Fifty percent of Web traffic -- and by extension of Wweb-based travel business -- would soon come from mobiles", he said.

Veteran Indian tour executive, Urrshilla Kerkar, Executive Director of Cox & Kings, suggested that the mobile phone was 'the great leveller' in countries like India, empowering a new middle class and fuelling its ability to get the best travel deals.

The opening event of the 2-day summit saw David Peller Vice President ( A-Pac) for ITA Software ( a fare comparison solution s provider, recently acquired by Google) and Kiran Mani, Google's India Business Head, pointing at the challenge and promise of social media in Net Marketing; while Ashwini Kakkar, Executive Vice Chairman of Mercury Travels, reminded the audience of another untapped customer base out there --one which had as its 'mantra': closeer, cheaper, shorter, later', when it came to travel.
Oct. 6 2010