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Below is a roundup of our favorite travel apps.

1. Google Maps

Google Maps

Google Maps works in almost all the countries in the world. It has amazing features like turn-by-turn navigation, public transport connections and the most updated local information for any place in the world.

Simply tell Google Maps where and how you want to go and you can be sure you will never be lost.

2. Hipmunk

Hipmunk

Hipmunk is our favorite way to do flight searches. Although it does not do flight bookings directly on the site, it is the best tool to decide which flight to book. It lists flight by agony, unlike other flight booking websites.

They have recently started a hotel search engine on their site too.

3. Booking.com

Booking.com

We love booking.com because it helps us book hotels fast and with easy cancellation options. For most hotels, it allows free cancellation till 1 day before your checkin date. We, like millions of users, love this convenience, making Booking.com our number 1 hotel booking site.

4. TripIt

TripIt

TripIt helps you organize your travel itinerary in 1 place which you can easily share with your family and friends or on your social media sites. The best thing we love about TripIt is how easy they have made to add your flight and hotel details to your trips. Simply forward your flight or hotel confirmation to their email and it automatically adds the details to your trip.

5. Local SIM Cards

SIM cards

Although not really an app, buying a local prepaid SIM card in the country you visit, lets you connect to internet on your smartphone in the cheapest possible way. Its only then you can use our recommended travel apps stress free. We find that this is the better than the many world SIM card options in the market.

Feel free to tell us your favorite travel apps in the comments below.

Mobile

Click here for an excellent article on mobile opportunities to grasp today.

From a targeted deal in the spa, to a beer in the bar or a mobile-optimised booking engine, the latest research from EyeforTravel shows that many in the travel industry are not yet taking full advantage of the opportunities in these increasingly mobile times. 

Google Travel

In the past 2 years, Google has made it clear that it wants to play a big role in the travel industry.

Last week it made its intention crystal clear by purchasing the travel guide book company Frommers. This comes after its other big ticket purchase of ITA 2 years ago.

The addition of these 2 companies will add major arsenal to Google’s existing travel products like Google Maps, Google Hotel Finder, Google Flights.

Google Hotel is a relatively new product in beta. Google Flights is also a new product launched after its purchase of ITA and currently is limited to USA.

Google Now, the major new search product which works on Android can also be considered part of its travel offerings as it gives you alerts based on your travel plans.

The integration of all these products have a potential that could change the way you travel. A combination of above Google products would help you quickly plan your itinerary (Google Frommers) based on your past preferences and Google’s algorithm magic as they already know everything about you ;). It would also recommend flights (Google Flights) and hotels (Google Hotel Finder), the 2 main pain points while planning a trip. During your trip, it would give you relevant alerts like when to leave (Google Now) and directions (Google Maps).

And of course ‘relevant’ ads and offers depending on where you are going or where you are.

Travel Mobile

There is a phenomenal growth in adoption of tablets and smart phones. For hotels, mobile presence today is becoming as critical as Internet presence.

  • According to the Trip Advisor Travel Trends 2012 report, 44% of all travelers will be using their mobile phone as a travel resource in 2012.
  • Deloitte Hospitality Trend 2015 ranks mobile adoption as one of its top 10 game changers in the industry.
  • In 2011 some 475 million smart phones were sold and 17.7 billion Applications were downloaded.

The travelers are rapidly moving into this digital age and it is critical for hotels to engage guests / travelers on their mobile devices, and add value to their mobile experience!

But the biggest challenge is – How to do so? What are the ways to leverage this new exciting platform? The answer is an ‘App’ – a Tablet/Mobile based Guest Experience & Marketing App. The app would serve multiple purposes like Marketing, Branding, Advertising, Cross-Selling, Impulse Buying, Guest Loyalty, and above all it enhances Guest Experience. With effective implementation of such app, there is a definite increase in RevPAR.

Revolution in Guest and Hotel interaction

All guest services can now be presented in high quality multimedia formats with stunning images and videos. Whether it is the restaurants, spa, golf, in-room dining, concierge or travel services, presenting these services in rich multimedia formats will result in an increased exposure and usage.

Guest can access details of all offered services, place orders and requests directly from the mobile device.

Language is no longer a barrier for foreign guest to enjoy hotel services to the fullest.

All activities of the guests are logged. Hotel can track time taken to complete guest requests and monitor trends to make informed decisions based on factual data.

Live and up to date information to guests

All information presented to guests on the mobile device is controlled through a web based Content Management System. The hotel has complete control over all the content and can add, edit or remove anything at a click of a second. All changes are immediately reflected on all the devices.

Guests only see live and actual information. The hotel will never have to say “Sorry, that item (or service) is not available at this time”.

Any special events or offers can easily be added to the app. Once the event is over, the information can be removed with a single click.

Hotel presence in the Mobile World

Hotel can have its presence in mobile devices worldwide, across all the devices, like iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, etc.

With the Hotel app, hotels can market their property and amenities to a much greater audience in completely new and engaging ways.

Having hotels’ own branded app on Apple’s App Store or Google Play will significantly increase hotel’s brand value.

The Bottom Line: Increase RevPAR

Such app gives an amazing ROI, ranging from 10-25%, in terms of increasing room service bills, restaurant bills, direct marketing revenues, Internet revenues, cross-selling, etc.

Some of the great benefits that a Hotel receives, which will increase hotel’s RevPAR:

  • Customer Satisfaction and Engagement
  • Targeted Advertising
  • Greater Brand Value
  • Shopping – Merchandise, Local Bookings
  • Increase Profitability by Cross-Selling
  • Increase Employees / Operations Efficiency
  • Reduce Operational / Manpower Costs
  • Competitive Edge

Blynk Hotel is one of the solutions in the market for achieving the above :)

– Hiren Yadav, VP Marketing, Blynk.

Link: SITA research concludes that Mobile will be the new dominant channel for Airlines within 3 years!

According to us, it’s exactly the same for the hospitality industry. Highlights from the video in the attached link:

1) By 2015, mobile will be the new dominant channel.

2) Smart phones and websites will dominate passenger interaction. Smart phones will dominate customer services.

3) Maximum growth in mobile as a distribution channel.

4) Personalization – major opportunity for direct channels.

5) By 2015, self service will come of age.

Bring your hotel / restaurant to life by creating 360* views and interactive tours with Google Street View technology.

If you are located in select cities in U.S., Australia, New Zealand, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, and the UK (as of now), get your business on Google Business Photos.

http://maps.google.com/help/maps/businessphotos/index.html

Businesses every where are moving to the cloud. Hotels, big and small, are embracing the cloud. Running your hotel software on the cloud is now possible and is answer to solving all your existing tech complexities.

The new breed of guest experience solutions are leading the adoption of running on the cloud compared to existing PMS software. This means that a hotel can implement these solutions within days and without any hardware or software installations.

Blynk Hotel runs 100% on the cloud.

The restaurant and food industry is embracing the mobile movement more than other business sectors, according to this infographic.

Link: Majority of smartphone owners now accessing travel content via their devices

smartphone

more than 20% of smartphone users are using their smartphones to lookup hotel related information on their devices.


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