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Mobile commerce or m-commerce is basically performing internet functions or e-commerce on cell phone or PDAs in a wireless environment. There a many m-commerce applications that have been launched in the hospitality and tourism industry. Before, I mention some of the applications involved, I would like to address the application Aladdin as mentioned in the case study.
Aladdin aims to develop a mobile destination system that combines both the provision of a mobile incoming tour operator workspace and a mobile content and service management system for destinations. Therefore, Aladdin will consider different usage scenarios, having in mind the variety of holiday types, such as culture, city or sun destination trips and different types of travelers, like business and leisure travelers in groups or as individuals.
It allows travelers to look for their own personalized destination services and information.
It also provides location-based services and information and translation services. It is also known to be easy to use mobile Java client applications and also interfaces to incoming tour operator systems. It also has mobile networks (UMTS, GPRS, and GSM) and location technologies (GPS / Galileo) connection.
Before the traveler embarks on his journey, he is invited to reveal his personal details and interests using a portal application. This profile information is used for providing advanced customer service and support, and for a personalized mobile custom-tailored content and service offer. Online advance reservation of incoming tourist services can be offered to the customer as well.
Upon arrival, the incoming agency will use the combined information about the customer from the portal along with information about his booking for an optimal arrival management:
Arrival lists on the tour guide's PDA for arrival checks
Arrival numbers and possible changes, updated automatically in the incoming reservation system
Special customer profile data for use on the first contact
Provision of current multimedia content and service information about the destination on the traveler's smart phone such as mobile infotainment about restaurants, golf clubs, diving clubs, sightseeing tours, museums and about the region itself
Variable and regularly updated content and service information about the destination such as current events, excursions, concert information and shopping offers
During the clientââ‚¬â„¢s stay, further services are offered on the tourist's smart phone tailored to his particular interestsââ‚¬â„¢ e.g. special deals in local restaurants, current exhibitions and travel itineraries.
Upon departure, current departure information is sent on the tourist's mobile phone as well as on the tour guide's PDA, assisting the organization of departing tourists, thus assuring an optimal departure management.
After reaching home, there are ongoing post-travel customer relationship activities via the personal portal site for marketing and service offers.
Mobile Services and Its application in the Tourism & Hospitality Industry
Many airlines have launched their own applications. An example would be the British Airways application. This application allows one to view the available flights and its prices.
One can also view hotel room availability for some hotels through applications like HotelApps. This application tells the viewer about the availability of the rooms, its rate and allows reservations too.
There are also some applications like French tutor and itransalate to allow travelers to communicate easily with the people of the country he / she is visiting.
Other applications would be itinerary planning apps, currency exchangers, restaurants, maps and much more.
In the hospitality and tourism industry, these applications allow more travelers to tour around with ease and it also gives an advantage to the hotels or flights. The advantage is that, when a client keys in his personal information into the system, the hotel or the flight will receive it. In this way, they have the clientââ‚¬â„¢s personal information as well as his / her interests allowing them to give the best offers and deals to the client.
Deployment of Mobile Commerce by an Organization
One organization that uses mobile commerce would be the Hilton Hotels. Their purpose of using mobile applications is to improve customer service. Hilton Hotels launched a new mobile Web application giving iPhone users accessibility to the hotel chain's Internet features.
The new mobile services for German and British users, including the ability to book from the iPhone, were launched in conjunction with Dublin-based Mobile Travel Technologies Ltd. In this application, users can access and change bookings and view hotel images and information.
Hilton has launched the innovative mobile service to ensure customers have the best possible means of booking and managing their hotel accommodation with ease. The mobile service has integration with the hotel company's Hilton Honors for the benefit of Hilton loyalty club members and a Hilton downloadable application will soon be available to British users.
The downloaded application will give users three ways to search for a hotel: text search, country or city, or by current location with the iPhone's GPS capability showing a list of nearby Hilton hotels. The technology was designed to be usable by both high-end and low-end software.
The new app gives details on searched hotels
Some benefits on using the Hilton Hotel Application is that it allows instant booking or change of reservations, saves time with eCheck-in, allows the guest to check his account and access profile information. It also allows access to hotel specials and gives you directions with the use of GPS and mobile map integrations. It also enables the guest to customize his rooms with the Request Upon Arrival tab.
Mobile commerce is one step above e-commerce as it allows access at anytime, it is portable and light weight, and one can get access to it whenever and wherever they need to. However, mobile commerce has its own disadvantages too. Some disadvantages are that the device has small screens and some types of files or data transfer may not be allowed. The use of graphics may be limited too. It may have limited bandwidth too. Another disadvantage is of course, the cost of using mobile commerce followed by the limited memory a phone or a PDA can hold. Lastly, there is no guarantee that the data moved across certain wireless networks is secure. Therefore, like how everything has its pros and cons, mobile commerce has its advantages and disadvantages too. Nevertheless, we should not step back from trying mobile commerce out, especially, if the clients or guests are enlightened with the help of mobile commerce,