Mobile-first Experience in the Hospitality Industry

By Josephine Wawira

Image by Pop Tika

A report by IDC (International Data Center) indicates that Africa has steadily recorded an increased shipment of smartphones in every quarter, and the market is expected to double in volume, accounting for a third of all handset shipments by end of 2017. This will further bolster the number of customers preferring to make their purchases via the device, again reiterating on the need for ecommerce players to adapt a mobile first strategy into their operations. A recently released Hospitality Report by Jumia Travel also shows that 68% and 51% of the customers prefer to book and search for accommodation via their smartphones respectively, as compared to 32% and 49% who do so through the desktop.

Considering that Jumia Travel’s main market in the Sub-Saharan Africa majorly consists of mobile-originating customers at 75%, it was imperative that the company adapt a highly engaging ecosystem. In a case study with Google, the online hotel booking company announced the adoption of the Progressive Web App (PWA) as compared to the use of native apps (android & IOS). This showcases new achievements attained in key areas pertaining to storage space, battery life, and data consumption. PWA combines high-converting features of native apps with the wide-reach abilities of the web, hence overcoming the issue of 2G networks most common in SAA (Sub-Saharan Africa), intermittent connectivity and data limitations.

 

The integration of the PWA on Jumia mobile ecosystem has resulted to better user experience, growth of conversion rate and notably, lower bounce rate on the ecosystem. CEO of Jumia Travel Paul Midy said, “We operate in a market highly characterized by a “mobile-first” adoption, thus aims at bringing the latest technology customized to accommodate all markets even where internet speed is still limited.” He further expressed the Group’s focus on leveraging on technology and continuously investing resources to enrich the user experience.

Following the optimization on all the elements of the PWA experience, the company revealed a remarkable 33% increase in conversion rates compared to the previous mobile website. It is also notable that traffic to PWA has eclipsed that of the native app by more than twelve times and is still growing, while the bounce rate has gone down by half.

Giovanni Clavarino, Chief Product Manager at Jumia Travel, highlights that, “About 95% & 80% of our mobile users are using the browser to check our website in Nigeria and Kenya respectively. This is why we have come up with the PWA technology to give our customers the same fast and content rich experience on browsers as they have on Android and IOS apps, but at a fraction (5 times less) of data usage.” Jumia Travel’s Progressive Web App uses 80% less data than the native app to complete the first transaction; consumes 25 times less storage, and is much easier to keep up-to-date. The ability to work offline-first also makes a lot of sense given the erratic mobile-network service experienced by users.

As the mobile continues to dominate the operations and marketing spheres of the hospitality industry, players including hotels need to move with speed in leveraging relevant mobile technologies that will improve guest/customer experiences.

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