Smart phones, iPhones, BlackBerry, Google Android…whatever you call them, they are changing how we travel. Beyond online maps and guides, travelers are using their phones to view plane seat configurations, find taxis, get GPS locations for wineries, order room service or locate the nearest Thai restaurant. In essence these devices are becoming a mobile concierge, information center and databanks all in one.
Recently USA Today profiled the travel warriors and their hand held ‘tools of the trade’. Examples of travel related products and services the phones use include:
- Airlines and hotels are changing their mobile websites and creating applications, or “apps,” for downloading to phones.
- Software developers have created “location-based” apps that tap into a phone’s GPS to determine the user’s location and offer discounts and products.
- User-generated content apps, such as Yelp, provide information based on the collective wisdom of other travelers.
While many of the users are business travelers, they also use the technology for personal travel. The article states that in a survey of frequent business travelers conducted by PhoCusWright in 2008, 71% said they have used a smartphone for business during their trips, while 62% used it for leisure purposes.