February 16, 2015
Travel and tourism are the third most popular topics for mobile apps on smartphones and tablets after weather and the news.
New trends in mobile, personalization and big data are changing the way people book and consume travel in Africa, said Harald Eisenaecher, senior vice president of Sabre Corp. for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Sabre provides data solutions for travel buyers and suppliers, offering insights into customer shopping and booking trends. Company headquarters are in Texas.
Based in London, Eisenaecher said South Africa is at the forefront of geolocation and mobile payment solutions. By taking note of key trends, South African and African industry leaders can get an edge on their foreign counterparts.
Everyone has mobile phones, and the more personalized the offer for travel, the more likely they are to buy it, Eisenaecher said in a ITNewsAfrica video interview.
Bringing together mobile, personalization and big data is one of the big trends in the travel world, he said. The goal is to reduce complexity and make it easier for consumers to book travel.
In South Africa, travel accounts for 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to Eisenaecher. That’s high compared to other countries. The South African tourism industry is growing at a rate of more than 4 percent.
“This has benefits for all parts of the value chain,” he said. “It creates jobs and growth. Technology is a big driver in unlocking this value.”
Improving the traveler experience through apps is one of the biggest trends, Eisenaecher said. He credits Apple with driving the experience of the app store.
Eisenaecher predicts wearable technology such as watches with apps will be significant in African travel.
“It brings together all the data services,” he said. “It’s just at the beginning of the innovation curve.”