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Grab revitalizes mobile ordering for travelers with expansion across 80 airports

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July 19, 2016

Mobile is integrating itself more pervasively into travel hubs

Mobile is integrating itself more pervasively into travel hubs

Ecommerce platform Grab has joined forces with travel dining provider HMSHost to enable more airport travelers to order food and beverages via their smartphones from the latter’s restaurants, underscoring mobile’s growing integration within travel hubs.

The two companies have entered into a North American partnership in a bid to expand mobile ordering capabilities within U.S. airports and capitalize on consumers’ growing reliance on smartphones as travel companions. Individuals will be able to download the Grab mobile application to order meals from most of the 2,000 eateries and 300 brands operate by HMSHost.

“Grab aims to eliminate some of the stressors associated with air travel today, and improve the overall airport experience for passengers,” said Jeff Livney, chief experience officer of Grab. “We are giving travelers the resources they need to save time, and easily find the amenities they need when they need them.

“With Grab, passengers no longer have to wait in lines for food, or fear missing a flight due to hunger while in the terminal.”

New industry alliances
As the travel sector becomes more permeated with mobile services, companies are looking to jump onboard with innovative, smartphone-friendly solutions that streamline consumers’ experiences and simultaneously drive sales in travel hubs.

Grab’s platform aims to serve hungry travelers by providing them with on-demand resources to reduce wait times at airport dining establishments and offer seamless ways of ordering snacks and beverages.

Its app users can view menus, access wait times and place pre-paid orders. This enables time-strapped consumers to have their meals waiting for them as soon as they arrive at the restaurant.

Grab currently offers mobile ordering capabilities for more than 110 restaurants in 15 airports. The partnership with HMSHost will expand these capabilities across more than 80 airports.

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Grab offers users a variety of nearby restaurant options

The national expansion reflects travelers’ growing demand for personalized airport experiences and convenient services. Additionally, it will likely open the door for more mobile-driven revenue opportunities for HMSHost restaurants.

For example, if an individual is stressed about making a flight in time, he or she may opt to save time and forgo eating at an airport restaurant, particularly during peak dining hours.

However, if he or she has the Grab app already downloaded, he or she can order and purchase a meal while walking across the terminal, retrieve it from the restaurant and enjoy it at the departure gate or on the plane.

“We hope that by partnering with Grab, HMSHost will be able to reach travelers who are using the app to help identify dining options and place orders,” said Jim Schmitz, vice president of innovation at HMSHost. “We believe it will give HMSHost’s restaurants even more exposure.”

Mobile’s evolving influence
Mobile commerce has left a significant impression on many travel – and hospitality-based brands, a trend that has prompted other brands to explore new services and capabilities designed to minimize hassle and fuel sales.

On-demand dining app AirGrub celebrated its expansion to airports in Boston and New York last fall by enabling American Airlines AAdvantage members to earn loyalty miles for each dollar spent on food (see story).

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Grab users can also gauge wait times before placing an order

Last winter, Coca-Cola drove beverage sales in airports and travel hubs with a holiday-themed text-to-win campaign done in conjunction with HMSHost that gave consumers the chance to win complimentary airline tickets and Amazon gift cards (see story).

Grab’s platform is also available within American Airlines’ app.

By bringing digital ordering functionalities to a greater number of travelers, HMSHost and Grab are well-poised to drive sales and continue transforming airports into mobile commerce hubs.

“Based on the information we have, we believe there is strong interest for the accessibility that Grab offers, and we look forward to seeing loyal HMSHost travelers take advantage of this convenience,” Mr. Schmitz said.

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Alex Samuely is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at alex@mobilemarketer.com.

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