This article is adapted from our new Tourism Trend Report: Latin America. You can download your free copy of the report for more exclusive insights and strategies.
The growth of access via mobile is not a novelty anymore: it has been increasing over the last few years and is a trend that will keep growing. A new report from comScore, 2016 US Cross-Platform Future in Focus, shows that mobile now represents 65% of all digital media time.
However, while some regions are close to saturation (such as the United States), the mobile growth in Latin America is about to come. In Spring 2015 only 65% in Chile and 41% in Brazil reported owning a smartphone, but mobile access is continuing to grow rapidly (Pew Global).
According to WTM's Latin America Report 2016, “Latin America is expected to remain underserved even by 2030, providing strong potential for growth in the long term”. We’re talking about a “moving experience”, especially when it comes to travel, and the chances of tourists using mobile devices while they travel are high. Our data at TrekkSoft also suggests this: 40% of bookings via our system come from mobile devices.
Introducing the domestic and autonomous traveller
The rise of mobile has also led to a new type of domestic traveller, defined by WTM Latin America as the “Domestic and Autonomous Traveller”. This is a highly connected tourist who uses their mobile device during a trip to seek experiences and information, make bookings, and adapt their plans on-the-go during domestic travel.
As explained by Alexis Frick, Research Analyst at Euromonitor International, the industry’s attention will soon focus more on domestic travellers:
“The weak exchange rates across the region is particularly problematic for outbound tourism from Latin American countries. The industry’s attention will thus come to focus more strongly on domestic travellers and inbound visitors from outside Latin America.”
Tour operators will need to not only focus on these individual trends, but also pay attention to how they intersect. For instance, will domestic connected travellers in Latin America want a mobile-optimized booking process that’s also in their own language and currency?
So how can your tour and activity company respond to mobile growth?
Well, to reach your audience you need to fulfill a basic step first: be where your audience is. The mobile trend gives travel companies the possibility (and necessity) to extend their services in order to reach every stage of the travel experience.
This means your company has to be prepared with strategies, features and tools focused on mobile which make it easier for travelers to find your products while having a good user experience. You can do this with TrekkSoft, as we'll now explain to you.
To reach mobile users your company needs a mobile-optimized website
The best way to reach your audience on mobile devices is by having a responsive website. In more simple terms, sites with responsive design adapt their layout to all types of devices, regardless of if it's a smartphone, tablet, notebook, or any other. With this in place, the user will be able to seamlessly access your site anywhere and from any device.
As a TrekkSoft customer with a ProMarketer price plan, you can benefit from a whitelabel mobile app for your business
Due to changes in Google algorithms, having a mobile-optimized website is about more than just offering your customer a better experience. For some time Google has recommended the use of responsive design, but in 2015 they took it to another level: the search engine updated its search algorithm and made mobile-friendly features a ranking signal. This means it’s now easier than ever for mobile users to find content that works well on their devices.
Many other companies will choose responsive websites in order to keep up and remain discoverable on Google. In short, if your site is not responsive, it will fall behind the competition, have less relevance to the search engines (especially Google) and consequently lose visibility in searches.
To get bookings from mobile users, you need to accept mobile payments
For tourism companies, it’s crucial to ensure that your site visitors on mobile devices are also able to become customers. To make this possible, you need to be able to accept mobile payments.
However, the WTM report has noticed a challenge for Latin American tour companies: as the digital era is not yet fully evolved, you and your customers may still be unfamiliar with digital sales channels. There may also be a general lack of trust in security, especially when it comes to choosing which currency to charge your customers in.
To solve this, the TrekkSoft booking system can now be integrated with PayU LATAM if you're looking for a payment gateway solution. It’s a payment solution available in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Peru, and it accepts online domestic and international payments through websites, mobile devices, tablets, social networks and e-mail, which can be paid with credit card or payment slips.
For your next steps forward, we have published a free ebook that will give you an overview of the most important trends in Latin America to be aware of over the next few years. You can download your copy here to access these exclusive insights.
Your checklist for responding to growing mobile access:
- Check that all the information a tourist might want to know is displayed on your website and available in the main languages spoken by your customers. Don’t make someone pick up the phone to make an enquiry!
- Make sure you’re using a user-friendly online booking system, such as TrekkSoft, that allows a customer to easily book and pay on your website or even on their smartphone.
- Demonstrate your credibility by showing some of your TripAdvisor reviews on your website. If you’re a TrekkSoft customer, it’s easy to do this with the TripAdvisor integration.
Request a demo call to find out how to take your company online, adapt to mobile, and manage your bookings on-the-go
Written by Maria Eduarda Possamai
Brazilian social media analyst and content writer who likes traveling, camping and listening to some good music. You may call her Duda.