If you want to get ahead in the travel industry, get an app. Well, it certainly seems like that anyway.


This week, Clare Gilmartin, chief executive of Trainline, the world's largest independent online rail ticket retailer, has been talking about how she believe its app will revolutionise the rail sector.

She notes how just 20% of rail tickets globally are bought online, meaning 80% of rail journeys involve "people queuing in stations". This is despite 11 million people visiting Trainline websites and apps each month.

In the UK alone, more than 12 million have downloaded the Trainline app – only Uber has achieved more downloads in Trainline's sector, Gilmartin pointed out.

"Customers around the world endure stress buying train tickets. Our mission is to solve that and put all the options into one app, so people can go anywhere they want to with one click," she told the Telegraph.

ebook travel website

"We can be of huge benefit because people take an average of 20 minutes queuing to buy tickets at rail stations."

Gilmartin talks of Trainline being in "high-growth mode", with its app said to be a big contributing factor to that.

"We see huge opportunity to move that 80% to a much easier and more streamlined way of booking a ticket," she added.

That might sound like a big ask for an app, but Criteo's latest Travel Flash Report shows how travel industry is feeling the positive impact of the rise of smartphone use.

The research reveals that one in five Brits now browse for travel options on their mobile phones, and close to one-third of online travel bookings worldwide took place on mobile devices in Q2 2016 (up 24% from the year before).

During the same period, smartphones accounted for nearly one in five online travel bookings.

However, it's with mobile apps that travel firms are making some serious ground. In the first quarter of 2016, apps generated 57% of mobile bookings, up from 40% in Q3 2015, according to Criteo's data.

It also shows that travel brands committed to their apps – i.e. those with consistent tracking of both mobile and in-app transactions over the past two years – saw constant growth in app bookings, from 12% to now 54% of all mobile bookings.

ebook social marketing

For one-night stays, meanwhile, apps have a clear advantage over other devices or platforms, with nearly three in four app bookings made for one-night stays.

If these statistics have you tinkering with the idea of a mobile app for your travel business, consider these tips from Criteo:

• Offer users personalised recommendations based on searches, selection criteria, past travels and wish lists

• Make any notifications you send to users' phones up-to-date, useful and non-intrusive, e.g. check-in reminders, traffic, delays, etc.

• Offer app users better deals to temporarily capture downloads and bookings – be consistent to sustain them

• Give users the option of one-click booking with intelligent auto-fill of personal details

As is often the case, though, app users might browse their travel options on the app before transitioning across to the website to make their payment, so make sure their experience is consistent and satisfactory with our award winning travel technology.