Both mobile applications and responsive websites are important in this growing age of smartphones and tablets. To keep up with this explosive expansion of technology, airports must make sure all travelers can grab the information they need to fly onwards.
Mobile applications and responsive websites are two sides of the same coin. Mobile apps are downloaded on for use on phones and tablets while a responsive website is a website that works and displays great across all devices.
The number of global mobile users passed desktop users in 2014 and the popularity of these devices continues to expand, according to a study done by Morgan Stanley Research. 51% of time spent with digital media by adults is through a mobile device, according to a study done by eMarketer this year. Only 42% is done through desktop devices in comparison, and 7% through other devices.
The direction you’ll want to take with your airport will depend on many factors, and it’s best to consider the pros and cons for each possibility before going forward.
Mobile apps can serve the user personally, and are able to keep useful information without logging in and out constantly. Passengers could scan their parking location and store it in the app – making sure they know where to go on their return. This personalized experience and other functions can be very useful for frequent fliers that have their local airport’s app downloaded.
These features, however, come at the price of needing to go through lengthy update processes, licensing applications, and development time – along with the fact that not everybody may want to download something.
89% of time spent with digital media is within an application rather than browsing the web. Even though this hefty statistic includes all apps (games, social media, etc.), it shows that people are certainly willing to download apps, but it must be for a good reason to the individual.
Responsive websites are becoming popular – and for good reason. If a whole website is planned around looking good on all devices, then a consistent brand image can be put forward.
Ofcom Research discovered that desktop PCs are falling in popularity – with a much larger percentage of people owning laptops, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, and even portable gaming devices beating out desktop computers. This means people are purchasing a wide variety of devices that can access the Internet, and a website must be prepared for that.
Responsive websites are built with mobile devices in mind first, and then expanding to the desktop and other views. They stretch and add content as the screen size grows, allowing you to customize what will be on which devices depending on screen size and orientation.
Though a website may not be able to have all the functionality an app may have, the versatility, consistency, and lack of download push it to the forefront of what may be preferred. If someone is just looking for information rather than interaction, a website is easier to sort through and deal with.
But with all this information, a choice is still left. Do you choose one? Both? You have to decide based on the needs of your airport and passengers.
Ideally both should be had to ensure you reach all the right audiences, much like having a parking structure close to the airport for people in a hurry and a long-term lot far away for cost-conscious passengers. An app caters to frequent fliers while a responsive website will cater to your leisure travelers and people passing through the airport. Reaching for both a responsive website and mobile apps can allow you to push your brand image into the forefront of users minds.
Just be careful to ensure the app and website aren’t exact copies. Let the responsive website be what it would be, and mold the mobile app into something with extended functionality and uses that travelers would want, but cannot be put easily into a website.
Regardless of the direction an airport takes, a mobile solution is increasingly important. 80% of Internet users own a smartphone, and it’s a statistic that will not stop growing as smart technology become more popular and affordable.
To land in and keep up with the growing world of smartphones, airports must look at their decisions with technology and stay connected with passengers. There are pros and cons to going with mobile apps, responsive websites, or both – but there is no doubt a choice must be made in order to not fall behind.