Mobile commerce in the meetings and travel space will be an exciting development because of the need and opportunity for disruption within many facets of the market. It’s an industry that has long prided itself on relationships, not an unfair statement because most industries do. But technology hasn’t had the ability to influence and enhance these relationships. It will.
Think of what Priceline or Orbitz did to travel agencies.
The opportunity lies in using technology to further relationships and transactions between people. Mobile payments will create some of these fluid interactions. What better place to create these interactions than in a meeting or event?
A study performed by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) and AirPlus International supports this claim. According to the research, 50 percent of travelers would be interested in mobile payment solutions, although presently only 5 percent of travelers use any type of solution. This shows that there are still big knowledge deficits in the industry.
Translation: development of a travel management and mobile payment solution would be a worthy niche to serve.
Research shows that flexibility, information management and security are at constant premiums for any type of traveler or meeting attendee. I would add convenience to the list. There need to be easier methods of payment for meetings and travel expenses. Everyone hates traveling and having to pay for expenses out of their pockets and then wait to get reimbursed. What’s new in that statement? The disconnect between want and reality.
What will drive the adoption of mobile payments in this space is its integration with expense reporting. It is a long and tedious road to venture down but one that is ultimately the lucrative linchpin for m-commerce to work.
As the meetings and travel industry matures, so will mobile payments within the industry. The use of mobile devices in travel has steadily increased as has the demand for businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions to keep them connected. Companies who are not already engaging with stakeholders via mobile are missing a huge opportunity. And once mobile is even more pervasive in a few years, businesses who are not in the mobile space risk being squeezed out by competitors.
Enabling POS solutions to have rapid access to all relevant information for people on the move will allow companies and their stakeholders to stay relevant and competitive.
Thomas works in the convergence of technology and law. Involved in a variety of mobile ventures, his market expertise extends from North America to emerging markets such as India and sub-Saharan Africa.