Certificate of Commendable Use of Digital by a Travel Company: Nominees’ Review

Posted on July 8, 2016

Certificate of Commendable Use of Digital by a Travel Company: Nominees’ Review

World over, Transport Infrastructure is a core business requirement. Ensuring that there is ‘at-least’ acceptable transport structures to enable people and freight mobility plus guaranteeing a conducive business climate are key roles of the government of the day.  The private sector on the other hand plays a critical role in setting up transportation companies and equipping them with resources required to utilize the infrastructure already in place.

A Certificate of Commendable use of Digital by a Travel Company will be awarded at the 2016 Digital Impact Awards Africa (#DIAA2016). Running for the third year, this annual event will be held on 17th August 2016 at the Kampala Serena Hotel.

This category – Certificate of Commendable use of Digital by a Travel Company seeks to reward and recognize a travel company that has fully embraced Digital (Web, Mobile and Social Media) and deployed it in everyday operations. The category is looking at those travel companies that not only use digital for ‘mere’ marketing and customer communications but those that have a fully-fledged 360 degrees digital approach.

The travel companies vying for this certificate are; Brussels Airlines, Easy Coaches, Emirates Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airlines, Modern Coast Express and Rwanda Air. These were zeroed on after an in-depth 10 months research conducted by the Awards organizers. All nominees are already winners, however the travel company that will walk away with the single, overall prize will be one with the best use of digital as viewed by both a selected jury assessment and general public online vote.

This review shares more facts about the nominees and how they are using digital to make their customers’ lives better.

Transport Summary: Road Transport is the predominant means of transport used in Africa for both people and freight. On water bodies, water transport is available but needs urgent overhaul.  Air Transport is very functional though expensive while Railway transport is a sleeping giant.

Uganda has more than 100 registered Travel companies with majority of them operating on Roads. Bus companies are the majority as they are used for long journeys with in Uganda and across East Africa. The most mentioned problems that buses sector continues to face are high and multiple operational charges, reckless drivers, high fuel and maintenance costs drive plus poor roads in different areas.

The buses business has made huge strides in the last two decades thanks to an attractive business environment, growing regional business plus competition. Unlike 10 years ago when very old buses were plying most of the major routes, today companies are bringing in new buses. To further woo travelers, many of the buses are fitted in with TV screens, and Radios. Some have gone further to add Air Conditioners, Charging Ports and in extreme cases Wireless Internet.  All these are steps in the right direction all intended to better customers’ lives.

However while the whole regional is ‘moving digital the buses sector is still very analogue.’ Majority of the Bus companies are yet to embrace Digital Tools as integral parts of their operations.

But a few have taken up the digital challenge and are doing quite well.

Bus Companies nominated for Certificate of Commendable Use of Digital.


For this year’s Digital Impact Awards Africa, out of the very many Bus companies operating in Uganda, two made the list of nominees.

As indicated earlier, one of the nominees is Easy Coaches (Easy Coach LTD). This Bus plies the Kampala – Nairobi route every day. It has a good Website and Social Media presence. Web and Social Media are being used by Easy Coach for Official Communications, Marketing and Customer Support.  Additionally, it has enabled digital payments (Visa Cards, Master Cards and Mpesa) for its travel tickets.

As of today, Easy Coach LTD is upgrading its website with plans to launch online bookings underway.

The second nominee from the Bus Companies is Modern Coast Express. In Uganda, Modern Coast Express Buses ply the Kampala-Nairobi-Mombasa route and Kampala-Kigali route. Their embrace of Digital Technology is out for everyone to see. From investing in a healthy website presence to having aggressive Social Media campaigns. As they celebrate their 8th anniversary this year, they boost of more than 650,000 Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) fans and followers.

Modern Coast Express has online bookings and also accepts tickets payments made by Smart Cards (Visa, Master Card and American Express) and Mpesa. MTN Mobile Money integration for Uganda and Rwanda is underway. Additionally, they have a digital tracking system for people and courier. This helps you to know where your cargo or people have reached through an online tracker. This month, they announced the introduction of Digital Loyalty Cards for Customers to Earn Points and Redeem them for their next trips.

Five Airlines in the competition: The other five nominees for the Certificate of Commendable Use of Digital by a Travel Company are Air Transport operators. That is to Brussels Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airlines, and Rwanda Air.


By the nature of their businesses, Airlines have multiple digital elements. From tickets’ payments, checking flight schedules and seats availability, tracking plane location and distance covered to communications with in the plane. This already gives them some comparative advantage in digital embrace when grouped to Road transport operators. The already established advantage notwithstanding, Digital Embrace is much broader. The research conducted sought to see how these Airlines are using Digital Technology for Marketing, Online Customer Support and Corporate Communication. Additionally, the research also intended to establish whether these airlines have adopted relevant digital tools and are using them to improve travelers’ experience. For instance, considering that mobile financial systems (MFS) are very popular in Uganda and East Africa at large, have airlines embraced them as forms of tickets payments yet?

The full report will be available after the Digital Impact Awards Africa event. Contact “ceo [at] hipipo [dot] com” for details on how to purchase a copy of this report.

Access the Nominees Review

In order to access the FULL review of  Certificate of Commendable Use of Digital by a Travel Company nominees on the DIAA website, Purchase a DIAA package and you will receive access details for this content.

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Table of Analysis


Attend DIAA2016 Event at Kampala Serena Hotel on August 17th 2016

  1. Event Attendance(Tickets/Tables): DIAA is one of the most anticipated events of the year to celebrate digital excellence in Africa. DIAA gala night guarantees excitement and invaluable networking opportunities with the best digital pros in Africa, it is Africa’s largest gathering of digital pros. To attend the awards dinner, please book tables for your organization’s teams and select customers in good time.
  1. Exhibition opportunities are available for organisations that take on DIAA platinum or diamond packages.

Digital Impact Awards Africa is a production of HiPipo in partnership with Cyberplc and AdBank.