Google's dominance of European travel to be challenged by mobile

12 November 2010 15:46

Google's dominance of European travel to be challenged by mobile

Mobile phone manufacturers are poised to take over from Google as the most powerful technological players in the European travel and tourism industry, reveals the World Travel Market (WTM) Global Trends Report.

The report, in association with Euromonitor international, predicts increasing smartphone penetration across Europe will drive a shift in power from search giants such as Google to smartphone developers and manufacturers.

Devices such as the iPhone and the development of location-based applications are already revolutionising the travel industry, with smartphone penetration expected to reach 92% in Europe by 2014, according to Ovum, and mobile web browsing set to overtake PC internet access in the same year.

The increasing importance of mobile is likely to displace giants such as Google as consumers increasingly view social media such as Facebook as a portal to access all their information as well as seek to access travel via purpose built applications.

Smartphone Travel Usage Research from 2010 reveals 34% used their mobile device to find travel information, 29% to check reservations and 25% to book accommodation according to compete.com.

In addition, the European Commission has promised action on high international roaming costs, seen as the biggest obstacle to the trend, if mobile networks do not take steps to bring down costs themselves.

Due to the growing trend of mobile technology within the travel industry, World First Travel Insurance is working on developing a mobile version of its own website, www.worldfirst.co.uk, to enable people to get travel insurance quotes when on the move.

Martin Rothwell, Managing Partner of travel insurance socialists, World First said: "Travellers want quick and easy access to information and services. Whether that's flight information, tourist guides of general travel information. This is only the start of mobile travel services, I am sure that over the next few years the way we travel will be completely revolutionised by new technology and services designed with the customer in mind."

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