I was doing a lot of reading over the weekend, as well as talking to a few people in the know recently, on the topic of the mobile and travel – every airline wants to know more (much more) and thereby gain some insight into what is happening in this space and how to position themselves;  unfortunately I am not yet seeing anything that I would classify as a watershed release. But in this research I have come across two interesting points of view that I thought I would share here. They both look at the question of what it takes to win.

The first comes from Peter Williams of Deloitte Digital. In a recent presentation he used the quote about any match in the box being able to start a fire. The review of his presentation (I was not there) made a very good point about working out what it will take to get large adoption – I think this point is especially relevant for airlines, as airlines should be looking to dominate in their region – I do not see a role for niche products in this space:

Peter’s argument that we spend too much time working out who are the influencers, rather than what the buttons are for the whole population was well made.

The second interesting piece I saw was from Worldmate founder, Nadav Gur. I’ve never met the guy, but anyone who writes as honestly and frankly as he does regarding how a competitor (Tripit) came from nowhere and stole their thunder gets a lot of respect from me. His basic premise is that the key influencers are all in Silicone Valley, and if you are not based there, then you are at an instant disadvantage – he is so convinced of this fact that he is apparently moving his family there to live. I have a good friend running a fast growing construction industry project document management IT company, and even he is close to moving his family to California. Back to Nadav Gur, – I’ve copied a small part of his excellent post below:

Tripit is another example, and closer to home: A web app that mimics ours and is in many ways inferior caught on because of the influence of local media and bloggers, and the local buzz radiated outward to the national market.

I wouldn’t say the two opinions here oppose one another, as clearly you need the influencers to get the mainstream onboard, but the obvious message is don’t spend all your time thinking about one and forgetting about the other.

Whichever way we get there, mobile apps will be huge. Location was already hot in 2009, but now we are hitting crematorium-like temperatures in terms of the smart money and the hype! Still not convinced, then just take a look at Travelers Love the Mobile Web – But Most Don’t Use Travel Apps Yet.  As the saying goes: be there, or be a rhombus!