Imagine leaving your wallet at home. No credit cards, no cash and definitely no checks to weigh down your pockets or purse. The only thing you do have is your phone. Soon this will be a reality with the introduction of mobile commerce and near field communication (NFC) technology. Near field communication technology essentially allows consumers to purchase products simply with the swipe of their phone. Despite obvious convenience advantages, mobile commerce is expected to revolutionize the way we purchase products and services, especially in the travel industry.
Earlier this month, Visa announced the release of their digital wallet, a service that allows Visa card holders to purchase products directly from their mobile phones. By incorporating instant purchasing capabilities with mobile devices, Visa has taken a huge leap in providing not only more convenient, but also more time saving services for card holders.
As we saw just last week, Google and Foursquare are both eager to implement NFC to make user check-ins more instant and less user intensive. By utilizing NFC, consumers once timid to try Google Latitude or Foursquare due to the networks’ premises of constant manual updating could now seamlessly check into locations and events without the touch of a button. This bodes well for those in the travel industry as vacationers, too, would be able to check in to attractions, dining locations or hotels without any extra effort.
Mobile commerce also creates greater opportunities for hotels and lodging facilities to reach weary travelers on the road. Expedia.com has already released a mobile app that not only uses a consumer’s GPS location to find lodging in their proximity, but also book rooms directly from their phone.
As mobile commerce develops and smartphones become more widely adopted by mainstream travelers, those in the travel industry must anticipate new consumer expectations. Just as the Internet ushered in the need for travel destination websites, so too will mobile devices lead to more mobile services for consumers to research trips and book vacations directly from their mobile devices.
Those in the travel industry can prepare best by staying up to date on mobile commerce and anticipating what services consumers will want at their finger tips next.