Ashley Murdoch considers how mobile ticketing offers so much more to both operators and travellers than just a payment and proof of travel mechanism.
There is no denying that in today’s digital revolution, the concept of a tangible, paper ticket is fast-becoming a dusty notion of yesteryear. The millennial age is now far more reliant on mobile technology, and transport operators must adapt to this and harness the vast amounts of data produced from these available means to stay afloat.
Today’s traveller is well aware of the multitude of benefits from using mobile apps to purchase tickets. With millions of people choosing this method over the last five years, the evidence is crystal clear that people prefer to use this quicker, easier and infinitely more convenient way of purchasing a ticket.
Consumers are growing increasingly aware of the multitude of perks reaped through using mobile devices for their travel, however the benefits are not solely limited to the customer alone; businesses who embrace these new technologies are also seeing huge improvements across the whole business model.
With the copious amounts of technology and choice at the fingertips of today’s instantaneous traveller, transport operators must ensure that they stay relevant, personalised and, above all else, well clear of the ‘one size fits all’ approach when getting in touch with their customers. Whilst this used to seem like a daunting and ‘pie in the sky’ approach, with the information generated through mobile ticketing, this strategy is now far simpler to deploy.
Previously relying on vague, blanket email campaigns or even through face-to-face kiosks, operators now have a direct channel that not only allows them to instantly communicate with their customers in a tailored fashion, but also enables them to glean valuable intelligence into their own customer base. These essential data patterns allow businesses to plan future marketing campaigns in a way like never before, giving invaluable insight that can be used in a constructive way to monitor travel habits, adjust offers or rewards and allow operators to align themselves accordingly to their patrons. Not only this but, in the eyes of the consumer, the operator shifts position from a mere ticket provider to a functional hub of travel information.
Once a positive relationship is established through personalised connectivity, businesses can then begin to sustain this through incentives and giveaways, and start to be able
to harness the way people travel to a mutual advantage. For instance, the data from a single consumer who travels through a particular station every day to work gives the business the ability to supportively capitalise on this habit by perhaps offering a free coffee, a discounted snack, or even a voucher code for a station retailer in exchange for catching a less congested service ten minutes later than they usually would.
If a business multiplies this process by the hundreds, or even thousands, of commuters passing through the same route every day, suddenly a service becoming crammed due to sudden strikes, unexpected delays and obstacles becomes far easier to manage and spread the crowds out. In the consumer’s eyes, they receive free goods and can catch a quieter tram or train home – all through the operator they are travelling with – for the cost of simply waiting a little longer on the platform.
Aside from the plethora of benefits in terms of smoother journeys and tailored incentives, operators can provide their customers with the security of all their tickets and tender kept on one mobile platform, eliminating the need to pull out wallets, cash and cards when travelling from a quiet or darkened station or stop. At a time when security is considered a priority when travelling, operators can provide additional peace of mind, knowing that their customers’ ‘wallet’ can exist on a slim device in their pocket.
Not only do these interactions create a positive and personalised relationship between brand and consumer, but by utilising the model from m-ticketing apps, transport operators increase their worth in the eyes of the customers and have the capability to change travel behaviour patterns in a mutually favourable way.
This relationship between an individual and a transport business extends well beyond the concept of a pleasant journey. If the operator is positioned as a facilitator of a quick, customised route and provider of tailored support, the use of public transport is inevitably promoted. More people opt for a fast, simple route via bus, tram or train instead of sitting in traffic, which not only eases congestion in busy cities, but also has a beneficial
knock-on effect for the environment.
Embracing mobile technology and the process of m-ticketing is a cornerstone for transport operators taking the steps to advance their business technology, providing reliable and refined tools that promote speed and efficiency.
Society nowadays is growing in digitisation and the concept of a totally cashless world is nearly a reality, with mobile wallets and contactless payments quickly evolving into social norms. Through smart customer interaction and making intelligent use of the data from their consumers, operators can generate increased profits, greater efficiency and customer loyalty through providing patrons with real-time congestion updates, streamlined payment methods and ultimately superior customer services.
At Corethree, we have seen around 105% in growth of m-tickets issued in the last year alone and evidently, the ease and speed of mobile payment is rapidly becoming the preferred method of payment among shoppers. In light of this major increase, it is now more than ever that transport operators must embrace new technologies and the invaluable data generated from m-ticketing, or else remain at risk of other travel businesses leapfrogging ahead.
Lastly, trams and metro systems ultimately equal movement and offer something that other modes can’t. This is not as a direct alternative to the bus, but with a very different, but nonetheless important USP. It’s about harnessing success and learning from other industries where light rail can punch above its weight.
Ashley Murdoch is the CEO of Corethree, a company that has been evolving the m-ticket and native mobile solution marketing for over five years. Over one million people use its applications across bus, train, tram and cycle hire, with over 17 million m-tickets issued.