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Expedia’s Egencia bets on mobile deals to propel bookingsBy
Expedia-owned Egencia is rolling out mobile-exclusive deals to its application and mobile site as a way to lure consumers to book from their mobile devices.
The new mobile-only deals will roll out by mid-February. Using mobile-exclusive deals is a tactic that many travel agencies are relying on more to not only acquire new users but also keep them coming back in the future.
“The strategy is consistent with the fact that Egencia believes that mobile is the future,” said Chris Vukelich, vice president of supplier relations at Egencia, Bellevue, WA.
“This is just the next step in our mobile strategy,” he said. “Increasingly handhelds are critical – people are using them to transact, and this is just the next logical step in that process.”
Egencia includes more than 10,000 corporate travel clients in 60 countries.
Book on mobile
The online travel agent has rolled out mobile-only deals from more than 7,000 hotels in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia to its TripNavigator app.
The company claims that it offers deals for 10 to 50 percent off of public rates via the app.
The TripNavigator app is available for iPhone devices and will be rolled out for Android devices later this year.
Additionally, the deals will be served up within the Egencia mobile site.
The mobile deals will be available to Egencia clients beginning in mid-February.
In conjunction with the launch of the deals, some of the hotels are offering same-day cancellations and loyalty points to consumers who book through their mobile devices.
Migrating mobile users
In July 2012, Egenica revamped its mobile apps and site to better accommodate the growing number of consumers who were booking their travel plans through their mobile devices. The revamp opened up reservations at 150,000 hotels (see story).
The online travel agency is one of the marketing verticals that mobile has hit hardest, and the move from desktop to mobile has seen mobile account for a significant portion of revenue from these companies.
In fact, a recent study from Expedia and Egencia last October found that more than one-third of business travelers under the age of 30 book a hotel from their mobile device (see story).
However, simply cementing on-device sales will not be enough to keep the online travel space moving forward.
Instead, marketers should look to improve other parts of the travel experience, including streamlining the check-in or concierge processes.
For example, the Egencia app also shows consumers their itineraries before their trip.
Additionally, consumers can hit a button within the app to talk to a customer service representative.
“People are very reliant on these devices, so we have a consistent plan that we’ve been executing of putting content, information and customer service on mobile devices,” Mr. Vukelich said.
“In our business, booking is just part of it,” he said. “As the travel management company, we are responsible for a lot of things helping you facilitate the transaction, but also giving you the information that you need about your journey, giving you the data that you need about the trip that you’re about to take.”
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