Smartphones Are Changing The Way We Travel, Don’t Be A Luddite

It’s not exactly shocking to find out that smartphones have changed much in our lives, from our communication to the way we travel. As we keep planning more trips and with higher frequency, sort through busy layover schedules and rush from one flight to the next, why are we then not trusting our phones more to sort out many of these tasks for us?

smartphones
UNSPLASH Joshua Rawson-Harris

Of course, back in 2016, it was a little more unusual to see people relying on their smartphones to display boarding passes, but today more globe-trotters and leisurely travelers seem to be embracing this.

Tech giants have also been keen to work their way to your good grace’s and in 2016, Google launched an ambitious albeit slow-to-take-off solution called by the name of the main purpose it served, or Trips.

Trips works on a basic principle. It trawls your Gmail account, something Google already has access to anyway, and then organizes all your plane tickets and helps you figure out your hotel reservation.

Now, to the occasional traveler who plans a journey long and hard, this may not seem like too much of help, nor worth investing time and effort studying. However, if you tend to be one of those plane-hoppers who have planned multiple destinations and generally love to travel in higher gear, Trips may be quite helpful.

If not Trips, then at least something similar. Yet, even if Trips is trying to be a friendly solution accessible from your smartphone, reticence reigns supreme when it comes to consumer habits and air travel. Wolfgang Digital made a survey back in 2016 and it figured out that only 57% of visits to travel websites are from smartphones.

While any good marketing expert would tell you that global (Internet) traffic is coming from mobile devices, it’s almost surprising that travelers tend to be reluctant when it comes to booking their next trip over the phone. Surely, Booking.com and Airbnb have made some strides in establishing their native apps as a staple piece of software for any smartphone these days.

Why People Don’t Pay for Trips from Their Smartphones?

Traveling may be the only thing that makes most people return back to their computers, outside of the office that is. Yet, one curious trend abides. When people have to book a flight or reserve a hotel, they seem quite willing to blow the dust off the old laptop and have enough time to fine-tune every last detail.

After all, why flip windows left and right when you can enjoy the comfort of a desktop set-up and navigate the more fussy part of the booking experience? This seems to make some sense, but there is another theory, too. Some argue that we appreciate traveling the same way like we appreciate a good book. You can read it on your Kindle, but for anyone who is in the habit of reading as part of their daily ritual, ordering the paperback is actually a fantastic idea. As a considered purchase, we do want to get the best experience possible, and seem to have that moment available to place a purchase via a desktop.

However, this trend seems to only dominate in the West. The Asian-Pacific seems to be quite open to suggestions, especially if it comes to the utilization of mobile technology. With the rise of the Chinese middle class and a lot of mainlanders looking for entertainment in the neighboring Macau, often called the gambling capital of the world, mobile payments have long been welcome by the special administrative region’s household casino and resort brands. This has proved to be especially convenient with the current pandemic situation where cash is frowned upon and travel restrictions are starting to lift in Macau.

Asia-Pacific already surpasses the United States in terms of mobile usage, but not for only casual gaming, but also day-to-day activities. Chinese are paying using their mobile and cash payments are almost impossible these days. It all circulates through the banks where the Communist Party of China is able to keep a keen eye on all that goes.

Time to Embrace the Way of the Chinese Dragon

With China taking on the world by a storm, mobile use in the country has shot up, and it has shot up for none other reason than the government creating a great central model and China’s mobile payments reaching a great level of sophistication, reliability and ease of use.

To put things in perspective, let’s just consider the numbers for a minute there. Estimated 890 million users made mobile payments in 2017, for the sum total of $17 trillion. Not bad at all. China has also cradled some of the world’s most successful mobile companies, conquering both e-commerce but also online gaming.

With Tencent and Alibaba establishing them as staying powers in the world, it’s easy to see how the Chinese mobile ecosystem is only growing day in and day out. Therefore, booking a ticket from a mobile device in China is not only customary; it’s pretty much the only way to do it.

Will Westerns start to catch up? That depends. It’s all about how consumers perceive travel, really. Already, you see people not carrying around boarding passes and using their mobile devices to download the tickets and confirm their flights.

Comparison tools online are so much more accessible these days, allowing you to scan the skies and snatch out the best deals there are. Understandably, air traffic has dropped quite a bit these days and prices are definitely taking a hit as well.

That is good news for anyone travelling, minus the uncertainty of the global pandemic, which has paralyzed tourism. While Westerns are reluctant to use smartphones to finalize a purchase and buy a ticket, a smartphone is an indelible part of Westerns’ travel inventory.

A smartphone today will guide you through the most difficult routes, will recommend you places to visit and eat, sights to see, and give you a direct access so your financials. So long as you remember to spend some money on Internet and not hook yourself into the first little mirage of free Wi-Fi in distant lands, your smartphone is your most faithful companion.

Team JST

Team JST work with our sponsors, shop vendors, and many more to create informative and engaging content.

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