Whether you’re a gadget geek or a complete technophobe, in this day and age technology is increasingly becoming an essential part of travel - for business and pleasure.
But while it’s all too easy to get app-happy and download every useful-looking app that your phone storage will allow, apparently only 76 per cent of all mobile apps don’t get any usage after 24 hours . Being selective and knowing which pieces of tech to have in your business travel toolkit could save you valuable time and money down the line.
From booking your trip to navigating around a new city, to getting back to the hotel after that all-important new business meeting, to making dinner reservations in the city, we’ve put together a guide to the top technology you need to help make your next business trip a breeze.
1. Getting around
First on the list is ‘Waze’, the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app, which prides itself on being more accurate than Google! As well as helping you navigate those unfamiliar cities, it also works in foreign countries such as China, where Google doesn’t. The unique community-edited maps feature even allows users to improve and update Waze’s maps, to conveniently reflect routing changes. The app is a particular hit with drivers as it lets you share real-time traffic and road information, even alerting you before you approach police, accidents, road hazards or traffic jams. We all know what a nightmare it can be working your way around a new city, and figuring out your best route from A to B is not ideal when you’re dealing with all the countless other stresses of travelling on business. Thanks to technology, long gone are the days where you need to ask the reception desk for help when navigating your way around.
2. Acing airline travel
It goes without saying that the majority of airlines have now embraced the app world, including Qatar, Etihad and United Airlines. For those travelling further afield, using these apps to get yourself organised before you set off on your travel journey will mean you’re flying way before you’ve even had a glimpse of an airport. That being said, a favourite airline app of ours has to be Emirates. Unlike other airline apps, it’s a one-stop-shop for bookings, tracking points, managing flight preferences and checking in and downloading boarding passes. If you're an Emirates Skywards member, a perk of booking through the app is earning and redeeming Skywards Miles that can be spent on further flights or upgrades. Having all this to hand to access through a handy little app is sure to make your journey less stressful and time-consuming.
3. Keeping in touch
Communication on the go can be tricky, especially if you’re out of the country and out of sight. The last thing you want is to come home to a sky-high, data roaming phone bill on top of any extra travel expenses you've incurred. There are a couple of all-in-one communications apps that, once connected to WiFi, have proven to be a successful way of keeping in touch with your loved ones whilst on the move. WeChat and Whatsapp work in very similar ways in that you can instant message and send photos, connecting with both individuals and large groups. And with the video call option, you can have face-to-face conversations when voice and text doesn’t quite cut it. To access the apps on another device, there’s even an option to seamlessly sync all your chats to your computer once the desktop versions have been downloaded. They’re also both free to install and work anywhere across the world.
4. Logging it
Nobody enjoys dealing with their expenses, especially when you’re on the go and racking up five takeaway coffees a day and all the receipts that come with them. Luckily for business travellers however, the days of holding onto a crumbled bit of paper for a takeaway sandwich until you can get back to the office are over. Thanks to the Expensify app, you can now easily record receipts without having to carry them around at the bottom of your bag for what could be days on end. Expensify conveniently removes any hassle with the option to take pictures of receipts and upload them. Its unique feature allows you to even integrate it into your business’ existing accounting software, syncing up all your finances across business accounts. This is hassle-free tech at its very best.
5. Kicking back
When the meetings are over and it’s time to enjoy some well-deserved R+R, technology can allow you to make the very most of your precious downtime. Serviced apartments and hotels often have their own apps for their customers to use. The CitySuites app is designed to elevate every aspect of your stay at the luxury serviced apartment provider. It offers travellers the option to book directly and access exclusive local discounts, arrange their housekeeping, laundry and delivery collection in advance, contact their valet parking, schedule a private PT session - and even check out with the Express Check Out service if time is short. It also comes with the exclusive CitySecrets feature that works to refine your city experience by selecting the most exquisite and exceptional events the city has to offer. And after checking out, users can choose to leave feedback by star rating the service and facilities. Accessing all these features on a simple app leaves travellers with more time for the things that matter.
Outside of your accommodation, you can also use apps to organise your entire business travel itinerary. OpenTable is great for dinner reservations, a nice alternative if you fancy venturing out after a long day at the office. Then there’s Around Me, the ideal app to discover everything around you - the nearest bank, bar, petrol station, hospital, cinema, supermarket, taxi, you name it!
CitySuites is launching Manchester’s first and only luxury serviced apartments, set to revolutionise accommodation for business travellers with prominent tenants already queuing up following its opening in February 2017.
Gavin Bailey, Operations Director, CitySuites
Image Credit: Pixel Fantasy / Flickr