I was at Mobile Monday Hong Kong earlier this week listening to a mix of start-ups and travel industry insiders talk about how mobile is affecting international travel.
There was an in-depth discussion on how general ticket apps (like Apple’s Passbook) were better than using an airline’s application (like Cathay Pacific’s app).
Now Cathay Pacific’s application does need a lot of work. The agency who built it squeezed the website down to a mobile form factor but didn’t take account the fact that mobile users won’t be happy having to keep logging into the application, particularly when you have the pressures of checking bags in and getting airside in a typical airport.
In contrast to this was an app that was the ticket equivalent of the One Ring. The idea being that consumers, airlines or channel partners like travel agents would be happy to have Sauron (sorry for the LoTR references) looking after everything from concert tickets to flight tickets.
Unfortunately, consumers don’t make rational decision-makers. They think about tickets in terms of context (travel, concerts) rather than a category (tickets). That’s the reason why the like branded applications. One quote struck me as summing this all up:
If only everybody understood the value stream analysis; there wouldn’t be any airline applications, just ours
Consumers aren’t rational, they aren’t interested in consuming the least overall resources in a given process. They are interested in how it fits into their life.