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Mobile airline ticketing surges 1,200 percent: Trinity Mobile

Trinity Mobile, a specialist in mobile ticketing, mobile couponing and mobile marketing, reported that 600,000-plus mobile boarding passes were sent out via text message in 2009, up from 50,000 in 2008.

The 1,200 percent year-over-year increase in uptake occurred with little or no direct sales push of mobile ticketing, and was driven nearly entirely by customers opting in at the end of the ticket sales process to receive a bar-coded mobile boarding pass with text detailing all the relevant information instead of printing details at home. Trinity Mobile’s airline customers include Austrian Airlines and British Midlands Airways (BMI).

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Rob Clegg, commercial director at Trinity Mobile, London. Here is what he had to say:

Other than Austrian Airlines and BMI, who are Trinity Mobile’s mobile ticketing clients/partners?
We deal mainly in the transport and entertainment sectors. In transport outside of airlines our main clients are Chiltern Railways and Shropshire & Wrexham Railways. Both of these are dealt with through our partner, Your Rail.

We have also worked in the bus transport sector with Arriva Buses.

In the Entertainment sector we have worked with O2, Orange, Gatecrasher Nightlcubs, Nexum Leisure, more than 70 nightclubs, Global Radio, including Capital FM, Classic FM, XFM, Southern FM and Red Dragon FM, Cameron Macintosh, See Tickets, Lord of the Rings theatre show, Swindon Town FC and  Slammin Vinyl for WestFest, a 10,000-person music festival. 

Who are some of Trinity’s mobile couponing and marketing clients?
These clients include O2, T-Mobile, Ladbrokes, Rank Group for Mecca and Grosvenor Casino, Gala Bingo and Casino, BP, Debenhams, Esporta Gyms, Nectar Loyalty Scheme/LMUK, MVC Music stores, Chubb Security, Local and regional councils, Antalis and Wellcome Trust.

What challenges does Trinity Mobile address for them?
Trinity allows vouchers to be instantly delivered in the form of a ticket or coupon to the relevant handset at the relevant time.

Traditionally vouchers have had to be sent via post or printed at home. The mobile version does away with the need for any printing and allows instant delivery.

The nature of the unique codes closes the “marketing loop” by enabling the retailer/brand/venue to track consumer behavior from the moment the voucher is requested/purchased through the entire process, from delivery to redemption and then post-redemption follow up marketing efforts since the consumers’ mobile phone data is now known by the retailer/brand.

The mobile voucher can also help cut costs, for example, in airline ticketing, increase efficiencies, increase customer satisfaction, give a better ROI for a brand, be targeted and tailored specifically to individuals and improve the image of a brand through the use of innovative technology.

How did these clients get the word out about their respective mobile ticketing services?
It varies from client to client, and in truth this often dictates whether or not a roll-out is successful.

The airlines have simply added it as a delivery mechanism option to their check-out process.

Gatecrasher is a nightclub that forced the issue by making all tickets mobile tickets only for its launch parties when new clubs are opened, thus ensuring everyone had a mobile ticket.

Others use word of mouth and various marketing messages through flyers, Web ads and/or radio ads.

O2 ran a promotion via the radio where everyone who responded to an on-air ad received mobile tickets after they texted in.

Is there a 2D bar code component?
The system for vouchers is almost entirely 2D-bar-code-driven. We can do linear codes but do not recommend this nor do many linear projects. 2D codes are more easily scanned and better at being displayed on a handset.

NFC is being added currently as an alternative, but handset penetration is practically zero so this is still three to five years off.

How are the text-message tickets scanned/redeemed?
Using a barcode scanner—an imaging scanner, not a laser scanner.

These scanners are housed in either a PDA handheld device, a desk mounted scanner, an embedded turnstile scanner or a kiosk.

Trinity sources some scanners from companies such as Motorola and also manufactures its own depending on the project and requirements.

To what do you attribute the growth surge of mobile ticketing?
It just makes sense in the airline sector. It increases the efficiency of the entire process.

There is no need for passengers to print boarding passes or pick up passes at check in, and it enables them to carry a single device—their mobile handset—rather than paper and other documents.

This means airlines can cut check-in costs and staff requirements, and also save on kiosk, print and paper costs.

For nightclubs, it is again in the interests of consumers to have a guaranteed entry method—an advance ticket—that can be purchased online or via their mobile device giving them the added benefit of being able to jump or bypass the line or queue.

The surge in use of apps on mobiles and the increased use of the mobile Internet—WAP—has also fostered the growth as people become more comfortable with mobile apps and services.

The rise of app stores like Apple’s iTunes and Google’s Android Market is clearly a major driver behind this adoption.

We also believe that is also simply happening through its own viral momentum as people see others gaining an advantage using the mobile ticketing services and then adopt it themselves.

The picture is a very similar one to the growth of the Internet and online shopping.