How Apple’s Passbook Is Going To Change Itinerary Management and Ticket Purchases
Earlier this month, Apple announced the “Passbook” app as part of its iOS 6 release that’s scheduled this fall. Passbook is an app by Apple that is projected as one stop place for all your movie tickets, travel boarding passes and coupons. Let’s discuss how Passbook is going to play a role in travel industry.
First, the not so good news – While Passbook is going to be make consumers’ life convenient and easy, it has already passed a current shock in the nerve of many travel startups whose business model is only on mobile loyalty cards / coupon card generation. It’s clearly a death bell to change their business model.
From a consumer standpoint, this is a much needy app. When Passbook goes live this fall, the initial partner list includes – Target, Fandango, Starbucks, Amtrack, United. Passbook allows customers to store their travel boarding passes, store loyalty cards, movie tickets. Also, the app pops up the relevant card depending on your location. When a customer is near Starbucks, Passbook pops the Starbucks card that’s stored. All cards can be virtually shredded in iPhone itself, the shredding animation is fantastic (as usual). Also, few of the fields in the cards – say flight gate change, time changes are updated live as and when there is a change.
Though full detail about the app is not known at this stage, Apple is certainly gunning on below things –
We strongly feel the next version of iPhone is going to have NFC (Near Field Communication) chip embedded. Apple’s style of execution is – they make the life of customer very easy by introducing “something”, later they think on monetizing that “something”. Apple’s App Store has the highest number of credit cards stored – 400 million – and this is the highest on any online store in the planet. It’s going to be breeze for Apple to bring in customer’s credit (also debit) cards into Passbook for purchasing anything in App Store or in physical ticket purchases. Though there are varying viewpoints on whether NFC will emerge, we strongly challenge NFC is going to be the next big thing for travelers in terms of ticket purchases. And, this trend towards moving towards NFC is going to be made possible by Apple’s Passbook (with NFC embedded iPhone in near future). Travel companies have to start thinking about the next logical step of NFC enabled payments from customers in hotels’ front desk, travel agency offices when customers walk-in, airport counters, in-flight purchases, airport lounge purchases, purchase during cruising, purchase inside train, purchase in any other facility like spa/restaurant. The scenario is endless. One liner for travel enterprises – if you are accepting payments from customers, be NFC ready. It’s coming, big time!
This is purely our speculation. Below are few of the scenarios that might happen if Apple releases API for Passbook.
- Any travel company will be able to roll out discount coupons and loyalty cards that are “Passbook-friendly”. Two days back, when I walked into Café Coffee Day, they gave me a “Coffee Day Pre-Paid Card”. While I was receiving the card from them, I was thinking – “This physical card is soon going to be a waste”.
- Travel companies rolling out discounts/offers if payment is made through NFC. Payment made through NFC means less transaction time, this in-turn means less time to serve a customer. Time saving is money saving for travel companies.
- ANY field / data in the boarding pass / hotel voucher / rail ticket / bus ticket will be updated live if there are any modifications done to the booking. Example: James reserves 2 day stay in Hotel Holiday Inn and he receives Passbook friendly hotel voucher. Later, he modifies his stay for 3 days by calling the hotel’s call center, the hotel voucher in Passbook automatically gets updated.
- With Passbook, customer life will be easy. Few travel companies might suffer.
- NFC is very much visible in radar, that means – travel companies have to include “NFC based payments” in their strategy.
Author: Karthick Prabu