Consumerization of Business Travel
Advances in virtual meeting technologies – like video and online – are eliminating the needs for some business travel. But most planes are full these days, reminding us that in many situations, nothing replaces the intangible value of face-to-face meetings.
If you travel much, you know first hand that business travel is not what it used to be. But this is not all bad, once you get over it. In fact, the new realities of business travel (crowded planes, long lines, poor service, etc.) have spawned a whole industry of new applications and services to make travel easier. And they do. Consider these tips the next time you head out on the road:
Tripcase or TripIt – Michael Finneran always praised his Blackberry travel app, but even he moved on. I prefer Tripcase over TripIt, but they are both very similar. They organize trip details into one master itinerary (airline, hotel, car rental…) that’s easy to share. In fact, TripIt helps you connect with contacts on a trip. As more of us book our own travel, these apps are life-savers.
SeatGuru – Getting the right seat can make a load of difference in comfort, productivity and fatigue. SeatGuru offers detailed airline seat maps and advice, turning you into a plane expert, making it easy to pick the right seat no matter who you fly.
PriceLine – I find this app useful for last minute hotels. It is nice to have it on the smartphone to find a hotel deal nearby. Big discounts on hotel rooms, but they only become available to you the day of travel. This app, along with Shatner, will boldly take you places you’ve never been before.
GateGuru – This one is for the real road-warrior in you. With less direct flights than even before, productive connections are important. GateGuru will give you the lay of the land before you get there.
Airportgyms – Long layover with time to exercise? AirportGym will help you find a place to do it. I intend to install this one tomorrow, but not today.
GogoAir – A no brainer, for when you fly a jet equipped with Wi-Fi. GogoAir and others offer memberships or monthly programs for those who use it frequently.
XE Currency – Nice one for simplifying international travel.
Concur or Expensify – With business travel comes expense reports. These apps automate process, remove some of the ugly and best of all helps you get reimbursed for all your expenses.
And lastly, FlyRights, for those times you get bumped from a flight or groped by a TSA agent? Remember, the TSA procedures are designed for your safety. Makes it easier to know your rights and report complaints in real time.
All of these apps are useless if the battery is dead. I carry a Monster power strip with a built-in USB port. This particular unit takes 220 power, too. That means I can power all my devices internationally with just one physical adapter (though make sure your devices can handle 220 power). I also carry an external battery pack. I resent Steve Jobs for this – I’d prefer a much lighter spare battery.
Business travel is not likely to get any easier, and no technology can give you the time lost with family members back home. But these apps and others go a long way to improving the overall experience. Like any technology, they take a little while to get used to, but once over the hump you won’t go back.