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How Apps Became Essential Business Travel Tools

By / Jul 3, 2019 (martin/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Apps, once a novelty for phone owners, are becoming increasingly integrated into the travel experience—whether the goal of the trip is business or pleasure.

When a traveler hits the road, whether for business or pleasure, odds are good that their biggest standby is an app on their phone that will help along the way.

People increasingly use smartphones to book and plot out their travel and ease their way through the trip. According to a study from Travelport, the average traveler uses between 10 and 12 apps when planning trips and during travel, and demand is increasing for offerings such as hotel check-in without having to visit the reception desk.

“Our research highlights a clear opportunity to engage U.S. travelers with enhanced features on mobile apps to reduce effort and provide a convenient, end-to-end travel experience,” said Simon Ferguson, president and managing director of Travelport Americas, in comments to Hotel Management.

Digital payments are one example of how apps are helping to reinvent the travel experience. In a Global Business Travel Association survey last year, for example, nearly three quarters of respondents expressed interest in using mobile wallets.

And the benefits of apps can be found during road trips, too. A study from AdColony [registration] found that nearly 60 percent of respondents used their phones to plan out their routes when taking road trips, while others used their phones to find things to do (41 percent) and plan accommodations (38 percent).

(One downside is that cell service is still spotty, an increasing concern for travelers on the road.)

There’s evidence of still-untapped potential for mobile apps in the travel experience. For example, a recent Forbes piece notes the under-the-radar success story of the app Mobile Passport, which allows users to fill out customs information on their phones, getting many of the benefits of the official Global Entry program without much of the cost and hassle.

And of course, once you get to town, apps can help you get a local vibe even if it’s your first time in the big city. The New York Times recently noted that apps have helped fuel the popularity of tours and “experiences” at different destinations.

“There is a real unique leap, more of a quantum leap being made in the experience space,” Jamie Wong, CEO of the urban experience app Vayable, told the Times.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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