Mobile technology is particularly useful and well developed in terms of itinerary management, traveller tracking, airline/hotel/car rental/ground transportation information/advice and, in some instances, booking, as well as airport/city navigation, parking, journey planning, lounge access, e-ticket storage and travel disruption.
Whilst many mobile technologies are useful it is key that members ensure before implementing that the technology available genuinely offers something that the corporate or the traveller/travel arranger need. If it doesn’t give you more flexibility, information on the go, access to the latest information or make your journey/journey planning easier then is it really adding value?
Another thing to consider is app consolidation; ITM do not believe that travellers/travel arrangers want to have hundreds of different apps on their mobile devices so it is worth considering whether complimenting suppliers can consolidate apps or, more likely, introduce API’s that will enable these apps to talk to each other. For example, a TMC/itinerary app could alert a travel tracking app that a traveller has arrived in country or allow a traveller to check-in to a flight or hotel direct from the app.
A final consideration is whether employees are allowed to download these apps onto personal or corporately supplied devices. If an employee downloads to a personal device, is the corporate happy that potentially sensitive or confidential travel plans may be held on a personal device that is possibly not subject to the same levels of IT security that a corporate phone may be. Similarly will corporate IT departments be happy for third party apps to be downloaded onto corporate phones, in many cases they will want to conduct reviews on each separate app, which could be very time consuming.
ITM believes that mobile technology and “apps” can add much to a corporate travel programme and, in particular, aid a traveler or travel arranger’s role. Many suppliers have launched mobile technology but these are sometimes launched on the basis of having something to showcase, rather than offering any new or meaningful benefits.