by Mark Mullis
Traveling with technology: is there a generational rift? While most everyone hits the open road with their smartphones nowadays, not everyone is diligent as the next about the safety of their device and the personal information stored inside of it. And it appears that most of the popular travel apps on the market aren’t as safeguarded as they could—or should—be, for customers of any age. Let’s look at how these two factors fit together for today’s travel company.
Millennial and Boomer Mobile Security Face-Off
Internet security company Webroot recently surveyed over 200 Millennials and 200 members of the baby boom generation to assess the “Cybersecurity Gap” when it comes to traveling with connected devices. Here are the highlights from their U.S. Traveler Security Study:
- (Almost) everyone is concerned about personal online security. Nearly all boomers (95%) and 85% of Millennials say they want to be sure their mobile devices safe and secure while traveling.
- Millennials are more likely to share personal travel plans on social media. Nearly two-thirds of Millennials share personal travel plans on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, whereas 71% of boomers say they never It’s no wonder Millennials are more concerned with someone gaining access to their social media accounts (49%) than boomers (33%).
- Boomers are wary of free Wi-Fi. When traveling, 88% of Millennials connect to free public Wi-Fi vs. 32% of boomers, who are clearly more aware of the inherent risks.
- Boomers have a tighter grip on their devices. Compared with 20% of Millennials who have lost a mobile device while traveling, only 7% of boomers can make that claim. The top three places to lose said device are restaurants, hotels and parks.
- Personal information of most concern on a lost mobile device, Millennials vs. boomers:
|Banking or credit card information||79%||79%|
|Online dating history||6%||3%|
|Social media usernames and passwords||49%||33%|
|Social security number||51%||61%|
|Work or personal email correspondence||45%||57%|
Travel App Security
In their study of travel industry mobile application security, Bluebox Security found that of the top 10 travel apps in use on Android and iOS devices, none are adequately secure. For example, they found that only 1 out of 10 Android apps and none of the iOS apps encrypted data at rest on the mobile device, and none of the apps for Android or iOS had anti-tamper or anti-debugging controls. This shows that better security needs to be implemented across all travel industry apps before customers can be sure their data from app usage is protected.
Pulling it Together for the Travel Titans
Getting a feel for customers’ sentiments and behaviors surrounding their mobile devices while traveling is useful because it demonstrates what functionalities they’re looking for and are most likely to use. It’s part of delivering the seamless “experience” people are looking for from their travel vendors. When it comes to mobile booking and making payments-related transactions, it’s critical that customers—if they’re even willing to use their devices for the purpose—trust their confidential financial account information is completely secure, whether they’re transacting through an app or a mobile site.
Travel companies have the tremendous opportunity to enhance their customers’ experiences through the mobile channel and much investment has already gone into building out the infrastructure and processes that accommodate travelers’ changing preferences. Security needs to be a primary focus, for most travel companies their IT organizations and technology vendors are covering the bases. But moving forward, as growth in the mobile space gains momentum, consumers of all ages are going to become more aware of the need for ample security and their adoption of new tech tools will depend on it.