10 Ways Travel Brands can use Beacons to offer Connected Travel Experiences
September 29, 2014
The rapid advent and adoption of mobile devices, has given rise to a completely new level of consumer expectation. Gone are the days when merely providing your consumers with 24×7 access to information gave you the edge above your competitors. Travelers today expect their favorite travel brands to deliver instant information and services, based on their contextual needs, at all times. One of the main factors that differentiates a great travel app from a good one, is the seamless integration of contextual intelligence into the app experience. This is where beacons come into the picture.
Of recent, many hotels and airlines have deployed these proximity-detection devices to tap into a traveler’s precise location and empower him/her with the right information at the right time. Contrary to popular belief, beacons don’t calculate location. They intelligently deliver promotions and messages by measuring the proximity of a traveler to the beacon itself. This helps travel brands to ensure that the relevancy of delivered information is well aligned with the intent of the traveler. We’ve answered a few Beacon FAQs in one of our earlier blog posts.
Today, most travelers already use beacon powered mobile apps for on-the-go guidance, be it at the airport, destination hotel or major attraction sites such as museum, stadium etc. But the main pain point here is that, this information is spread across multiple apps. For example, with the Virgin Atlantic app, The James hotel app and the New Museum app, installed on his/her mobile, a traveler already has three different pieces of information to process. An effective solution to this is to have travel brands share beacons so that they could associate their own mobile apps to them, as and when required.
Pushing the right offer at the right time has now become more important than ever. To put this to use, you can deploy beacons at various locations around the terminal, such as security gate, waiting lounge etc. The meta-data, including information on longitude and latitude, as well as scenario-specific data such as information on terminal, flight boarding times etc, will be made available at a common airport registry. Your app will then use this information to determine the precise location of the traveler.
Once the beacon data indicates that the traveler has cleared the security check, you can trigger messages offering discounted seat upgrades to business class from economy. In most cases, it’s the beacon data that holds the key to contextual intelligence. For example, in this case, knowing that your traveler has cleared security helps you ensure that he is more open to considering an offer.
This is particularly useful when it comes to car-rental services. For example, Silvercar, a popular car-rental service, has beacons built into their car, enabling travelers to unlock the car, pop the trunk, and begin the service using Bluetooth LE via their app. When the traveler returns the car, the app automatically logs the end of the rental, and measures the gas level before sending him an invoice.
You can also use the ability of beacons to recognize a traveler and store data on his preferences such a favourite radio stations, places he has checked into the GPS etc., to personalize his drive. This is particularly simple, when the car rental service is based on a one car model, as in the case of Silvercar which uses the Audi A4.