travelmobileWhile the retail and hotel industries have embraced mobile for everything from purchasing and in-person pickup to check-ins, the transportation industry has been slow to catch up. That is all about to change as more companies use data to transform the customer experience and mobile tickets become more common.

United Airlines intends to leverage data from existing app usage, which grew following their 2013 re-launch, and employ it to enhance the overall customer experience.

“As an airline, we’re rich in data,” said Jennifer Dohm, a United spokeswoman. “Data about our customers, about trends, about airports, flight times, operations and more. The biggest opportunity for us is to continue to cross-reference that data for better customer experience,” she said.

Push notifications are an example of proactively reaching out to customers based on such data, letting passengers know when planes are delayed and linking them to existing systems to allow them to re-book, if necessary. All of this will translate into better brand interaction for customers.

Mobile ticket sales, which has been a significant growth area for airlines, is also having an impact on other modes of transportation ticketing, as these industries also continue to speed up their use of mobile. Currently half of all airline ticket purchases are made on a mobile device or tablet. The same is true for trains and buses, primarily in Europe. It is estimated that by 2019, 1 in 2 of these tickets for public transportation will be purchased using a mobile device. This is good for an industry that relies on low prices but high volume and high frequency purchases.

Finally, the transition to mobile tickets involves an education process so customers know it exists and how to use it. Fortunately, mobile wallets and services like Apple Pay have increased awareness about this type of purchasing, and customers are becoming more comfortable using their mobile device for ticket purchase and check-in.

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