It's never been more important for travel companies to invest in mobile, says Econsultancy.com.
For instance, new research from business intelligence firm Euromonitor has found that by 2017, almost a third (30%) of online travel bookings by value will be made on mobile devices.
This is due to the fact that travel apps are becoming more useful to travellers, the firm explained – for example online travel companies are adding location services to their apps, helping travellers to find the nearest rooms and restaurants.
The theory is also backed up by research from mobile advertising firm BuzzCity, which has highlighted the use of mobile in travel booking. According to the company there has been a massive 50% increase in mobile use by both business and leisure travellers, and 30% of these travellers are relying purely on their mobiles to make last-minute travel bookings.
In fact, mobile will be the driving force for the travel industry this year, Econsultancy says. In its Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing, mobile was named by travel companies as the most exciting opportunity for 2015 - above personalisation, customer experience or even the hot topic, big data.
With this in mind, travel firms must ensure that their websites are optimised for mobile. This includes easy navigation, providing engaging content and giving users a personalised experience that is primed for the end goal of purchasing.
As mobile becomes the norm, companies which fail to optimise their websites risk losing customers.
Where personalisation is concerned, another study - this time by e-strategy - found that the vast majority of online consumers (74%) find it off-putting when content appears which has no relevancy to them. Personalisation, in fact, is predicted to overtake mobile as the most exciting opportunity for travel companies in five years' time. Big data is one of the most effective tools for travel firms wanting to personalise the online shopping experience for their customers.
When it comes to the top three digital priorities for 2015, targeting and personalisation topped the list, followed by conversion rate optimisation, with content and mobile optimisation tying for third place.
With conversion rate optimisation the focus is on the user experience, particularly at the booking and check-out stage of the process. Booking.com is a prime example of good practice in this area - its website is extremely easy to use on a mobile device, says Econsultancy.
Another trend to watch out for is augmented reality. The mobile augmented reality market is predicted to grow to $5.1 billion (£3.4 billion) by 2016 according to a study by e-strategy and Juniper Research. This has already been exploited by Marriott Hotels, which has used the technology to promote its honeymoon destinations in London and Hawaii.
One thing is certain: 2015 is set to be an exciting and challenging year for the travel industry. The firms with the upper hand will not only use big data but will use it effectively in order to deliver a more personalised, contextual experience for their customers - across all devices.