Can you remember a time before texting, Amadeus asks agents? Or before Facebook updates and Foursquare check-ins? Hold on to your hats, Amadeus says, because a new wave of technology has hit the scene, including iPads and tablets.
Now it’s easier than ever for travelers to stay connected, wherever their journeys take them. And this has changed the way agents and clients interact, Amadeus reports.
Amadeus advises, "Keep up with the latest media trends and devices so you can speak your customers’ language—and stay competitive. You can streamline your workflow and eliminate downtime during your own travels, as well, by hopping on the new-gadget bandwagon."
Don’t overload, download, Amadeus says. "Hefty baggage fees, higher gas prices and strict airline rules have put a high premium on space. Good thing you can leave the bulky overhead items at home and travel lighter by downloading books, apps and widgets right to a tablet."
"Less cumbersome than a laptop computer but with most of the perks, these hot new items can serve as a one-stop-shop for all your online needs, including sending and receiving email, downloading music, movies and books, and photo and video sharing. A long battery life means travelers can stay entertained on long flights and connected to important applications during flight delays or service disruptions. Keep working in-flight so when you land, you’ll be ready to roll."
With so many tablets on the market, choosing the right one can be a tough call, Amadeus says. The Apple iPad 2 gets the most love, but the Motorola XOOM, the Blackberry PlayBook and HP’s TouchPad are also big players in this burgeoning market, Amadeus says, recommending that upgrades and add-ons are chosen for maximum customization.
"Light reading. Streamline your suitcase by taking an electronic reader instead of the old-fashioned paper-and-ink variety. Whether you go for an Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble NOOK or a Sony E-Reader (all available in multiple versions ranging from simple black-and-white to features-packed color tablets), you’ll be able to take a virtual library with you wherever you go."
"Download an electronic book anytime, anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection. Get the classics, current best sellers and even magazines and newspapers in minutes. Downloads are available for free from most public libraries.Tablets offer reading capabilities, too—but if your main need is to read, you can cut costs by getting a basic-level e-reader instead."
Phone freedom. "Want to really, really travel light? With games, social networking apps and even reading apps that take books to the small screen available on most smartphones, you can stay entertained during your flight—and beyond. And once you’ve arrived, travel maps, city and landmark apps and restaurant reservations programs are at your fingertips."
"Today’s sophisticated phones allow for plenty of flexibility and adaptability. Many apps are free, but expect to pay fees between $4.99 - $19.99 for pro versions or specialty features. Get to know the top travel apps on the market so you can impress your customers with your tech-savvy know-how, "Amadeus says.
Free travel apps Amadeus recommends include:
Travel Seeker – Compare flight options across airlines, dates and alternate airports or cities. This app uses Amadeus Master Pricer fare engine to deliver the best fares directly to your iPhone or Android device. Searches can be triggered by voice recognition and results filtered by price, airline, airport, trip length, stops and take-off or landing time
Word Lens – Point your iPhone camera at a sign in any language and get an instant English translation.
OpenTable – Find nearby restaurants, search by name and view reservation openings. Book a table on the spot!
GateGuru – “Locate the best food, shopping and service options within any airport.” Available for the iPhone.
Google Maps – just added a navigation feature that offers satellite images and street views with audio directions and is available on every Smartphone.
Yelp – A handy app that will let you locate and read word-of-mouth reviews local businesses. In need of a beauty salon, oil change or sushi restaurant while on the road—or want to help scout out a service for a client in need? Find what you’re looking for fast!
"With high adoption rates and low learning curves, these new on-the-go innovations keep you connected, your clients happy and your business growing. Stay in touch and in control when you’re on the road, make recommendations to your clients for their trips—and simplify your life by putting online solutions at your fingertips," Amadeus says.
For more insights check out a free white paper that Travel Tech Consulting Inc. and Amadeus released offering an assessment of airlines’ technology and mobile capabilities, the emerging mobile technology innovations that are likely to be launched in the near future and the advanced functionality that will change the traveler journey over the next five years.