10 Years Of iPhones: How Mobile Made Its Mark On Travel

This week sees Apple launch a series of new phones, the iPhone 8, 8+ and X, the latter aptly named on this its 10th anniversary since the initial launch all the way back in 2007. On June 29 of that year, the iPhone went on sale for the first time and went onto change the world in a way that few gadgets have done before.

It brought a revolution to the mobile market that impacted across every industry. It put a supercomputer in our pocket and now it’s hard to function in basic daily life without an iPhone or one of the devices made in its image. It changed the way we access, buy, consume, communicate; anytime, anywhere – almost everyone is now looking down at a small, five-inch screen. 80% of US adults own a smartphone and by 2020 it is projected that two-thirds of the global population will own a smartphone.

The success of the iPhone can be somewhat attributed to the humble app. A word that barely existed a decade ago is now an industry worth tens of billions of dollars. The App Store arrived on the iPhone 3G; in 2000 there were 800 apps available, now there are over 2.2million. Apps spawned hundreds of major companies from Instagram, Uber, AirBnb etc. paved a new way to do business and transformed industries, for example; back in 2008, 51% of people used travel agents for flight booking and 47% for hotel bookings and now 8% of people use a travel agent to call or book flights – that’s pretty shocking. When it comes to the hotel industry, compared to 10 years ago when pen and paper were still popular, mobile now spans across all guests touch points affecting the search, shop, buy and retain process. With the Internet in your pocket and a plethora of apps at your fingertips, the life of the guest is much easier, albeit a more demanding one.

Mobile has not just changed the life of the consumer but also how businesses interact with them. For hoteliers, there are now mobile websites and apps for distribution, guest relations’ management, PMS, CRS. Mobile has transformed hotel operations, from checking-in and out guests, housekeeping, providing room-based services like mobile keys, entertainment, special offerings, restaurant reservations and concierge services. Mobile plays a key strategic role in the growth and progression of the Hospitality Industry enabling staff to focus more on guest experiences.

While iPhones make up 20% of the smartphone market and Android the other 80% its safe to say that the iPhone is the single most influential and most transformative consumer product in history changing the way we communicate, work and live. And it’s only been a decade – I wonder where we’ll be in the next 10 years!

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