Vodafone Turkey introduced ‘Seyahat Yanimda’ (Travel By My Side), a new travel platform for customers. The platform can be used to purchase plane and bus tickets, make hotel reservations, book cruises and tours, and reserve car rentals and airport transfers, both at home and while abroad. The app offers flights from more than 400 airlines and over 500,000 hotel options. Anyone can use the service, regardless of whether they are Vodafone customers, but Vodafone Red subscribers will receive access to additional benefits.
With the bulk of pandemic restrictions coming to an end, travel has become popular once again. Attempting to capitalize on this change in consumer behavior, other mobile providers globally have been offering free or discounted roaming or increased data packages.
Vodafone Turkey’s new travel app suggests a different approach, since even non-Vodafone customers can use the app. Instead, this move is an example of an operator trying to expand its relationship beyond data delivery and develop a deeper connection with customers and potential customers alike. Ultimately, Vodafone Turkey’s likely aim with this initiative is to leverage the centrality of the smartphone in consumers’ daily lives (particularly true when traveling) to provide a unified hub for the travel experience. The app can act as a differentiated offering that aligns with the freedom of movement that mobile service empowers, especially in the post-pandemic landscape.
If successful, the app could create a modest additional revenue channel for Vodafone Turkey. More importantly, however, a successful travel app could strengthen the operator’s brand in the eyes of users—potentially reducing churn and luring away customers from competitors. That said, the provider should be aware that, in the space of travel applications, it is not just competing with other mobile carriers but with the likes of Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google, and many other tech companies focused on providing consumers with travel services. As such, the bar for a success will be quite high and most consumer will only download the “’Seyahat Yanimda” app if it truly stands out in this crowded market.