New technology is all around us – in our vehicles, our homes and especially through our smartphones and tablets. A quick Google search finds that in 2014, more than 128,000 new business apps were released in the iOS app store (appfigures). It’s incredible and great news for those in the travel industry. At MacNair Travel Management, we pride ourselves in using the latest tools, technology and people, to help our clients balance the needs of the traveler and of the business, ensuring costs are minimized and performance is optimized. As new travel apps become available, we assess and check their usability and then pass along the most efficient and user-friendly options to our customers.
The ability to manage travel and stay up-to-date on flight schedules, weather and hotel check-in times is critical when on the road for business. The ability to do this with one app is a tremendous time saver. We’re excited to share two of our favorite itinerary management apps in this post.
The two apps that we’re featuring make managing your itinerary so incredibly easy and are available to anyone with a smartphone. In addition, if your business works with a travel management company (TMC), your TMC should also be recommending these apps to your travelers. We are excited to share this new technology with clients, and our team of travel experts works hard to maximize the use of the app. These itinerary management apps are easy to use and allow your TMC to provide the needed support that travelers have come to expect.
What is an itinerary management app?
Quite simply, this app allows you to aggregate all the data about your trip and view it in one place from your phone or tablet. That way, you can view airline reservations, car rental information and hotel details from one app - at any time before, during or after your trip. In addition, TMCs and travel managers have the ability to communicate with travelers via mobile phone with information on travel disruptions or other last-minute changes to a travel schedule. There are a number of trip itinerary management apps available, but the two that we find are most useful are TripCase and TripIt.
TripCase is a product of Sabre, a technology leader in the travel industry. Their goal is to give travelers a simple way to manage everything they need when on the road. Once you’ve downloaded the app and entered your profile information, trip data can be automatically imported or manually entered for future use. If you work with a TMC that’s affiliated with TripCase, this information is automatically imported. While on the road, the app offers “Tripfeed” which gives useful messages to the traveler – everything from check-in updates to travel policy highlights related to the specific segment of the trip. In addition, you can remember places along the way, like restaurants and shops, and access important travel documents as needed.
What’s the latest?
TripCase just released version 4.0 which includes a redesigned TripFeed. In addition to an updated “look and feel” to the news feed, travelers are able to handle specific travel details like reserving airport parking spaces and determining hotel preference from the convenience of their smartphone.
Related to the TripFeed improvements, TripCase has also integrated several new partners based on customer feedback. Blue Ribbon Bags helps track lost luggage and if it doesn’t show up in four days, travelers are paid $1,000 per lost bag. Blacklane works with local, professional drivers to offer premium black car service at discounted rates. LoungeBuddy gives exclusive access to the best lounges in an airport without the need for platinum status. These added benefits enhance the overall traveler experience.
This itinerary management app works with Concur, and offers similar benefits as TripCase, including full itinerary integration via email and real-time trip information and alerts. TripIt offers upgrade options including TripIt Pro and TripIt for Teams which streamlines the process for team travelling.
What’s the difference?
While the TripIt app is free to download, it offers the ability to upgrade to TripIt Pro for an additional cost. The pro version offers the ability to find alternate flights if your current flight is delayed and can notify a traveler if they are eligible for a flight refund. This is a great option for the business traveler if they don’t already have a TMC that is tracking this detailed information for them. Seat Tracker gives seat availability on scheduled flights and Point Tracker keeps track of reward program points - all in one location.
These apps provide our customers with an incredible amount of information, organization and added value for each and every traveler. Communication is vital - travel managers and TMCs need to be sure that travelers have signed up, are utilizing the app, and completely maximizing its capabilities. When itinerary management is seemingly effortless, travelers are less stressed and have an overall enhanced, more positive travel experience. Happy travelers increase the likelihood of successful outcomes and in turn, directly affect your bottom line.