Enjoy a 15% discount on all purchases until the 31st of March 2023 using the promo code EOFWEB22 at check out!

Services Our expert insights reveal the key consumer and industry trends shaping global services, including best-in-class innovations in technology, customer experience and sustainability to thrive in dynamic times.

What the New iPhone 6 Means for the Travel Industry

Caroline Bremner Profile Picture
Caroline Bremner Bio

After months of speculation, the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has been met with a great fanfare and is being touted as the most significant product refresh to Apple’s portfolio since the iPad. The launch last week has led to record levels of demand for four million pre-ordered devices and delays are expected.

Game-changer for m-commerce

The new iPhone 6 offers 4G for faster connectivity, integrates electronic payments via the new and long-awaited Apple Pay and includes Touch ID that works from a fingertip sensor. Apple Pay is being hailed as a game-changer for mobile payments as Apple plays catch-up with its competitors like Google Wallet by integrating NFC technology (near-field communication) to replace the traditional wallet.

Apple will enable its users to make payments via their phones at point of sale, perform online transactions in-app and also offline purchases at bricks-and-mortar outlets. For the offline channel, the new iPhone payment platform is also a great opportunity for premium-to-luxury travel retailers, including chains like Virgin and Kuoni as well as independents, to accept NFC electronic payments in-store.

Euromonitor’s Online Travel Analyst, Angelo Rossini predicts that the larger screen size of the iPhone 6 Plus is a very important development in making mobile bookings easier as small screens are the biggest deterrent to mobile commerce.

Gaining critical mass

Experts believe that mobile payments are expected to achieve greater acceptance with consumers and retailers thanks to Apple enabling mobile payments for goods and services in-app, paid for with a single touch, for added convenience and security.

Apple holds a 20% volume share of mobile phones sold in the UK, second to Samsung in first place with 33%. Globally, mobile already makes up almost 15% of all online travel value sales in 2014, according to Euromonitor International.

Apple Pay will allow Apple users to make purchases using their mobile and thereby help boost ancillary sales of travel products and services at the airport, in the hotel, on cruises and in-destination, allowing brands to engage with consumers before, during and after their trip. Tnooz reported that Groupon, OpenTable and Uber will be among the first to allow their users to book and pay using Apple Pay.

The integration of Apple Pay with Passbook will also provide more opportunities for brands to enhance their loyalty programmes, providing greater synchronisation between payments and rewards to drive engagement. For travel brands that currently do not already have an app or mobile website, now would be a good time to review their mobile distribution strategy – or lack of – because the mobile revolution is picking up speed.

What will Apple do next?

In future, it would be interesting if Apple decides that it wants to position itself as a consumer lifestyle brand and goes beyond the realm of online and mobile distribution to sell travel products and services directly to consumers, rather than acting solely as an online retailer. Apple may decide to provide proprietary Apple trip planning and travel booking services direct from its devices, provided either by a white label supplier or via preferred travel partners.

Alternatively, Apple may look to harness the power of its user base, enabling Apple users to exchange goods and services and marking a move into the sharing economy. For travel brands, these are exciting times and consumer electronics brands hold the key to how the travel industry will be transformed in future.

Interested in more insights? Subscribe to our content

Latest Insights

Loyalty and the New Normal

Nadejda Popova 16 March 2023

Shop Our Reports

Car Rental: Top Six Industry Trends

This report examines the global car rental industry, providing analysis on market sizes, brand and company shares, growth trends over the review period and…

View Report

Financial Cards and Payments in Western Europe

Electronic direct/ACH and card payments continue to take share from paper transactions in Western Europe, while mobile m-commerce continues to be the most…

View Report

Financial Cards and Payments in Latin America

Although it is not the case in Brazil, the region’s biggest market, cash is still the leading payment method in many Latin American countries. However,…

View Report
Passport Our premier global market research database with detailed data and analysis on industries, companies, economies and consumers. Track existing and future opportunities to support critical decision-making across all functions within your organisation Learn More