The following is a guest contributed post from Amy Abascal, Head of Marketing, Americas at FollowAnalytics.
Happy Holidays! Today, just about everyone in our office is finishing up our last few deliverables so we can get home and prepare for holiday destinations near and far. The team is really spreading out this season with flights to Netherlands, Hawaii, San Diego, Arizona, Paris, New York, Corsica and several road trips too!
As a marketer, I tend to rack up the miles all year long, not just during the holidays. Between trade shows, conferences, visits to our New York and Paris offices and my own personal adventures, I spend a lot of time on the road. I certainly I traveled before the days of travel apps, but now I can’t fathom how I survived. The smartphone is quite arguably the biggest innovation in travel since the commercial airliner!
Since so many of us are hitting the road this weekend, we thought I’d write about our favorite travel apps, especially ones that have really mastered personalized customer journeys.
Why we love it: TripIt gathers your travel plans by scraping your inbox and putting your trip together. It builds your entire itinerary, including flights, car rentals, hotels, theater tickets and dinner reservations. One-click directions between destinations like airports and hotels are a lifesaver. It updates you with flight statuses and let’s you know if cheaper or better seats can be found.
How it’s winning personalization: Tripit pulls data directly from your inbox to dynamically create at-a-glance itineraries that walk you through every step of your trip. It knows where you’re at and provides the unique details you need while away, down to weather alerts.
Why we love it: What’s that you say? Expensify isn’t a travel app? If I’m using Expensify, there’s a 95% chance I’m on the road. Saving receipts, manually calculating exchange rates and arduously filling out spreadsheets are a thing of the past. Just snap a photo of your receipt and toss it. Expensify imports the info and codes everything automatically. When you get home, quickly review and press a button to submit it.
How it’s winning personalization: Expensify pulls from sources like your camera, email, PDFs and CSVs to read receipts and invoices. It sends useful push notifications to walk you through steps like letting you know when receipts have been accepted or if more data is needed. It ties into backend financial systems to simplify accounting. By drawing on all of these sources, it takes away a huge administrative headache and streamlines the process of getting reimbursed.
Why we love it: United may have a clunky and outdated website, but their mobile app is quite the opposite. (And we think they’ve prioritized correctly.) Travel updates, boarding passes and loyalty points are all easy to find and navigate. The app even integrates with rideshare services like Uber and offers entertainment options like HBO inflight. About a year ago, I took another airline that only had mobile web and found myself endlessly frustrated with the experience. United’s slick UX has spoiled me.
How it’s winning personalization: By keeping you updated to flight changes and gate info, you know where you are supposed to be and when. Customers with special needs or elevated status get the service they need. While there’s little they can do about the TSA, they make the rest of the airport experience efficient and easy.
Why we love it: Waze takes getting directions to a whole new level. It goes beyond merely providing maps, by routing you around traffic, construction and even warns you about speed traps. Waze uses crowd sourced information for up-to-the-minute data like hazards on the road that can make a huge difference in travel times whether you know the terrain or not.
How it’s winning personalization: Waze integrates with calendars and contact info to send automatic push messages letting you know when you need to leave. By warning you about heavy traffic or other obstacles in advance, you get to your destination on time.
Why we love it: Citymapper provides access to public transportation no matter where you are. Navigating subways in foreign cities becomes easy with maps and instructions in your own language, plus travel times and fare estimates.
How it’s winning personalization: Citymapper lets you identify your home, place of work and most common destinations in up to seven cities, saving you time from having to repetitively enter the same data.
When I think back to the days of road atlases, printed maps and having to call the airline to find out whether my flight was on time, I’m amazed I ever arrived anywhere in one piece. Today, I may leave home without my Amex Card, but not my iPhone! Travel apps have revolutionized the way we get around and significantly reduced the stress of being away from home. If you can think of examples we left out, let us know on twitter! @FollowAnalytics
Whether you’re traveling this season or staying home, we wish you happy, safe holidays!