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Mobile Travel apps for 2009

A major New Years resolution for me this year is to blog at minimum once a week! During the last two months of 2008 I did not blog at all and I am determined not to repeat this long absence. My apologies.

A recent post by Tim Hughes of the BOOT (and VP of Orbitz in Australia) predicted that 2009 will NOT be the year where the travel industry embraces mobile.

I could not disagree more! Having now completed the PhoCuWright “The Future of Mobile Travel” special report, I strongly believe mobile travel applications will flourish in 2009 despite the global economic crisis. The two primary drivers of this mobile trend are the adoption of smartphones and the implementation of next generation networks (3G, LTE & WiMAX). The research clearly showed a correlation between frequent business travelers and smartphone adoption. Take a look at these two slides from our Special Report:

The key statistic here is that as of November 3, 2008 18.9% of consumers are now carrying a smartphone.

Compare that with our research results which found that 71% of Frequent Business Travelers own a smartphone. Additional research showed that 90% of frequent business travelers have owned their smartphones for less than 2 years, showing that smartphone adoption is a recent trend. You combine this with the explosive growth of 3rd party apps stores from not only Apple, but RIM Blackberry, Google and T-Mobile and it is clear that 2009 will see tremendous growth in downloadable travel specific applications.

These applications will be location and contextually relevant. The affinity between emerging mobile technology and frequent travelers will change the business and leisure travel experience 2009.