17 experts advise on what’s to come this year. Spoiler: Data factors big.
The Innovate Conference for the Advancement of Business Travel offered business travel executives the opportunity to articulate priorities and recommendations.
Business Travel News'
recent research issue on the roles of mobile technology within corporate travel
programs also included a look at the mobile tools and services offered to
corporate travelers and managed programs by traditional airline, lodging, expense reporting and payment, car rental and meetings technology suppliers, as well as intermediaries.
Each is detailed below; click the name of each sector to go directly to each
On Flight Path From
Self-Service To E-Commerce, Airlines Up Mobile Investments
Enterprise IT spending once was dominated by outsize
mainframes and data storage systems that looked like refrigerators, but
airlines nowadays are dedicating growing sums of IT dollars to far more compact
Mobile-optimized airline websites and applications no longer
are new, but the current round of tech investments increasingly are shifting
the initial focus from basic mobile self-service tools to pocket-sized e-commerce
Industry IT supplier Sita last year noted that mobile
technologies for the second consecutive year topped all other airline IT
investment areas, according to its survey of more than 50 of the 100 largest
airlines in the world.
"There's absolutely no doubt that the vast majority of
airlines are putting mobile as their number-one investment area in IT,"
said Sita market insight director Nigel Pickford.
Among the priorities that drive airline IT initiatives are
improving customer service, generating revenue and reducing business costs,
according to Sita. Pickford noted that mobile tech uniquely is positioned to
accomplish all three.
Among the most common functionality already deployed by
airlines is the ability to purchase tickets, check in for flights, access
mobile boarding passes and receive flight status notifications, according to
Next will be more transaction-based capabilities. Nine out
of 10 carriers covered by Sita's survey plan to sell by 2015 tickets via mobile
phones, up from about five out of 10 today, thereby "establishing mobile
as a mainstream distribution channel for airline tickets," according to
Sita. "Growing from zero just a few years ago, mobile phones as a
distribution channel are expected to generate significant growth in years to
A February PhoCusWright report also noted that for most
airlines "the primary focus" in first-generation mobile technology "has
been on customer service rather than booking."
The firm in September conducted an online survey of more
than 2,000 travelers who had taken at least one trip in the preceding 12 months
and found that 32 percent of "mobile web users researched air options,
compared to 30 percent the previous year, while 14 percent made a reservation"
on their mobile device.
Mobile's position as a point of sale has yet to mature, but
it's coming of age. PhoCusWright projected that airlines last year generated
$2.7 billion from bookings through mobile devices, representing 5 percent of
online transactions. PhoCusWright expects that to "more than triple by
2014," reaching $9.9 billion, or 16 percent of bookings. "Mobile
provides a compelling opportunity for airlines to foster direct relationships
with travelers, and airlines have been successful in capturing the vast majority
of mobile air bookings" compared with intermediaries, according to
Increased mobile functionality creates an "untethered
mindset and an untethered consumer that is ready and willing to do business
with an airline at any time," said Hudson Crossing travel industry analyst
Henry Harteveldt, speaking during a Farelogix media event in February.
Travel Tech Consulting president and founder Norm Rose at
the same event predicted that within five years the majority of travel searches
and bookings will be conducted on mobile devices. He suggested that "the
concept of mobile is gone" within that time span, "the reason being,
everything will be mobile."
Rose said mobile technology is not just another touchpoint,
but "should be considered as the channel for direct distribution."
Carriers have focused on delivering to consumers what United
Airlines executive vice president of marketing, technology and strategy Jeff
Foland called the "right offer, right time, right place, right price."
Mobile increasingly helps accomplish that, he said.
Sita noted that 83 percent of airline respondents to its
survey "have the ambition to sell ancillary service on smart phones by
2015. The list of services sold on mobile phones will replicate the airlines'
website sales functionality."
Some examples already in the market that are growing in
availability include ticket changes, baggage fees and such onboard services as
seat selection. Consumers aren't always sitting in front of a laptop when the
need for such services arises.
"You have all this mobile technology," said
Harteveldt. "Part of it will replace what we're doing on a laptop or
desktop, and part of it will be incremental to what we do." He pointed to
virtual wallets, near-field communications and geolocation features as
differentiators of mobile functionality from their desktop- or laptop-based
— Jay Boehmer
Strategies Laying Groundwork For Future Dominance
Hotel mobile apps and websites still are something of a Wild
West, with many hoteliers looking to find their footing while numerous third
parties jump into the game. But mobile is poised to become in the very near
future the dominant channel through which travelers discover and book hotels.
Virtually every major hotel company and brand today has a
mobile site and app that at least allows travelers to explore available hotels,
make bookings and monitor reward program activity. These apps generate a small
portion of total hotel bookings, but it is growing exponentially.
In 2012, bookings through mobile phones and tablets made up
about 7 percent of bookings through hotel-owned online channels, according to
PhoCusWright. That's almost 12 times the share mobile channels had in 2010. By
2014, PhoCusWright projects such bookings will make up 20 percent of bookings
through hotel websites.
"Mobile is no longer a novelty or nice-to-have for any
hotel competing for bookings from global business travelers," according to
David Millili, CEO of Pegasus Solutions, which aids hotels in transforming
brand websites into mobile sites. "It has become a must for generating
Some hotel companies already are trending above average in
mobile bookings. Choice Hotels International president and CEO Stephen Joyce
noted in a February conference call with analysts that the mobile channel
accounted for 10 percent of Choice's online revenue during the fourth quarter
of 2012 and that mobile-channel revenue nearly tripled year over year in 2012.
La Quinta, which last year invested in a new mobile site and smartphone app, reported
that mobile now accounts for about 23 percent of its online traffic, according
to chief marketing officer Julie Cary.
That does not take into account the growing volume of
bookings from third-party mobile sites and apps, available not only from the legacy
online travel agencies but the ever-expanding list of startups targeting the
hotel sector. Room 77 and Hotel Tonight are two such firms generating lots of
buzz. PhoCusWright estimated that OTAs made up about 64 percent of gross mobile
hotel bookings in 2012, compared with 36 percent for hotels' own mobile sites.
Of course, the average mobile hotel booker does not match
the profile of the average business traveler. Mobile bookers tend to be looking
for last-minute deals. Priceline monitored mobile bookings this past New Year's
Eve and found that 42 percent of bookings for hotels that night were made after
5 p.m. Hotel Tonight's entire raison d'être is to accommodate travelers looking
for same-day deals.
Some hotels have geared their apps to that trend, removing
from the last-minute booking process many obstacles—entering credit card
information, for one. La Quinta last year added its Instant Hold feature,
through which users can reserve a room for a short period using only their
phone number. Wyndham Hotel Group's app has an express booking option, through
which a hotel will hold a same-day reservation until 6 p.m. with just a guest's
name and email address.
Although this has some utility for business travel—a
car-bound road warrior looking for an overnight stop in a small city, for
example—it is geared much more toward leisure travelers than those in managed
corporate programs. That does not mean business travelers are not using hotel
mobile apps, however, even if as nothing more than information sources.
PhoCusWright reported that 36 percent of mobile web users in 2012 researched
hotel options on their mobile devices.
"The information-gathering stage for business travelers
continues to escalate, and all travel providers need to provide powerful content
on the web for them to best make their travel decisions," Best Western
senior vice president of sales and marketing Dorothy Dowling said in March at
the company's annual Business Travel Summit. "While mobile is being used
as an information source, it's not necessarily a transaction source yet."
Several hotel companies have developed their apps and mobile
sites to be information sources for travelers both before and during their
stay. Starwood has used a "state-aware" design, in which the display
changes depending on whether travelers are booking, getting ready to travel or
are already at their hotel. Hilton's app includes a "request upon arrival"
feature, through which guests can ask for specific amenities to be in their
room upon arrival.
Reviews also are of growing importance for hotel mobiles
sites and apps. Starwood was among the first to allow unedited reviews of
properties, according to the company, and others bring in reviews from third
parties. Wyndham, for example, includes TripAdvisor ratings in its app.
— Michael B. Baker
Tech Seeping Into Rental Car Experience
When it comes to rental car mobile functionality, features
such as booking, finding rental locations or viewing and changing reservations
are like midsize sedans—all the major suppliers offer them.
Yet, inspired in part by the car-sharing industry, rental
companies are eyeing more creative ways through which mobile devices can
streamline the user experience.
Unlock the door to your rental with your smartphone? Hertz
will release that functionality soon, and Zipcar (now owned by Avis Budget
Group) already does it. Honk your horn when you're lost in a parking lot?
Zipcar's mobile app has that feature. Synch your phone via Bluetooth to make
hands-free calls from your vehicle? That technology this year will be included
in Hertz vehicles.
Rental firms have driven some distance since they began
flirting with car-sharing technologies several years ago. Zipcar then was
ascendant, Hertz had launched its own car-sharing service and Enterprise joined
the market. Initially considered a separate model, more for urbanites and
students than the core rental customer, car-sharing and the technology that
enables it increasingly are seeping into the core rental experience and mobile
Hertz senior vice president of global sales and marketing
and head of global car sharing Bob Stuart during an investor conference this
month said the company is "gearing up for a late-summer launch of Hertz
24/7," a suite of new options and rental technologies, some of which are
enabled through mobile technologies.
In addition to allowing customers to rent "by the hour,
by the day, by the week, by the month—how you want to, when you want to,"
Stuart said Hertz 24/7 will feature "keyless access," which, among
other vehicle entry mechanisms, will use near-field communications embedded in
some mobile devices to unlock car doors. The firm also will install in-vehicle
tablets that feature the next-generation Hertz Neverlost system, providing core
GPS functionality, and other applications that expedite pick-up and return.
Additionally, "every car will have Bluetooth technology, so the customer
will have safe, hands-free driving" when they make or receive phone calls,
While Avis Budget declined an interview request for this
article, the company for years has discussed similar concepts through what CEO
Ronald Nelson called "virtual rental car" technology. The company
last month closed its $500 million acquisition of Zipcar and plans "to
leverage Zipcar's technology to expand mobility solutions under the Avis and
Budget brands," according to Nelson. Details are still to come, but Zipcar's
aforementioned mobile features show some possibilities.
Enterprise Holdings, owner of its namesake brand as well as
National and Alamo, is rebranding as Enterprise CarShare several car-sharing
businesses acquired in recent years, including WeCar and Mint Cars On-Demand.
While Enterprise does not offer a mobile app, relying instead on
mobile-optimized websites for its brands, the company is eyeing the crossover
appeal of car-sharing technology for core rental brands.
"The technological platforms we have acquired through
our Enterprise CarShare business enable us to analyze and refine those
innovations that will truly add value, and not just bells and whistles, for the
business traveler," according to a statement attributed to Enterprise
Holdings vice president of corporate business rental Brad Carr.
Even before next-generation mobile features become status
quo, PhoCusWright in a February report noted that "car rental transactions
are a no-brainer for the mobile device," considering that "a
significant share of car rental bookings are already made last-minute, and the
booking process—often not requiring payment up front—is relatively simple."
While mobile devices last year generated only 5 percent of rental car bookings,
according to PhoCusWright estimates, by 2014, 16 percent of bookings are
expected to be initiated through such devices. Still no data on the extent to
which customers will use mobile phones to honk horns or unlock car doors.
Concur And CWT Buy
Early Lead In Mobile Managed Travel Contest
Is anyone but Carlson Wagonlit Travel in the pole position
on mobile travel management technology? That may depend on whether you consider
Concur a "travel management" provider.
These two parties during the past two years bought the two
most significant business travel apps: CWT last year picked up WorldMate after
Concur in 2011 bought TripIt. In so doing, Concur and CWT powered to the
forefront in not only their ability to service their own clients, but also
their reach into the coveted lightly managed, unmanaged, small, independent,
rogue or whatever-else-you-want-to-call-it side of business travel.
Both are styling the robust itinerary data-capture features
of these technologies as solutions to the challenge of business travel spending
generated outside the typically preferred travel management company/global
distribution system channel. Given its similar capabilities, Sabre's TripCase
product could be a contender for that, too.
While these uses of mobile technology could alter the very
mission of consolidated travel management and procurement, the aforementioned
apps and dozens more still are quite new at their basic functions of servicing
business travelers. TripIt and WorldMate were the first movers when mobile
finally caught on in business travel about five years ago (after many more
years of anxious anticipation). Sabre launched TripCase soon thereafter. As
these offerings proliferated on the backs of the iPhone's App Store and its
copycats, they demonstrated that previous industry experiments with mobile
solutions were misguided in that they focused on enabling bookings and other
transactions rather than empowering travelers with information.
Now, mobile access to much of the relevant travel
information is so ubiquitous that it's almost too boring to mention. Everyone
has weather, currency converters, dining guides and airport maps. The key to
effective mobile services from travel management companies and their tech
providers is using the most vital information of all: the itinerary. Nowadays,
the itinerary is "actionable." Some solutions let users easily share
trip details in social networks. Itinerary apps offer varying degrees of
synchronization with booking systems. If fully integrated with the TMC or
online booking tool, the technologies are capable of pushing changes to the
traveler's pocket in real time. In cases of more limited integration, travelers
usually can do the updating themselves.
TMC, Tech Provider
Being in the lead at the start of the race obviously does
not assure winning. Carlson Wagonlit Travel has a way to go before it can
deliver the "perfect trip," a term its officials have begun using.
(Concur began using the term first.) CWT last month indicated that a
WorldMate-powered version of its To Go app would "be available to CWT
travelers in the coming months and will include services such as itinerary
management for trips booked via CWT or through other channels, real-time flight
updates and, later this year, mobile booking." An earlier version of CWT
To Go, powered by Rearden Commerce, has been removed from the Android, iOS and
BlackBerry app stores.
The new version may include content from Rearden's Deem
Offers "daily deals" product, as CWT and Rearden this month announced
a partnership for the Groupon-style marketing offering, but a CWT official
declined to confirm exactly which "online and mobile touch points"
would be included.
CWT also offers an app for its Solutions Group's reports and
another, called CWT Market, that really is a recommendation app for other apps.
Awkwardly, CWT Market for at least a temporary period this month listed CWT's
To Go as its first recommended app, but since that app was removed, iPhone
users "clicking" to download it received a message indicating the
item was "not available."
CWT's mobile approach appears to exhibit fits and starts,
but at least it has one. American Express Business Travel and BCD Travel have
mobile strategies that are, respectively, stalled and unborn.
American Express offers plenty of apps in payment, and it's
doing cool things with Twitter and other technology, but the company's business
travel apps appear neglected. Branded Mobilextend and powered by Rearden, the
American Express Global Business Travel apps on Android and iOS appear
unchanged in two years. They offer itineraries, flight status, delay and
cancellation alerts, flight schedules, weather, mapping, Yelp-powered local
info and a currency converter.
At BCD Travel, officials last month said they would utilize
a tech developer to build a unique mobile platform that would not simply copy
what's in the market already. Meanwhile, Hogg Robinson Group has revisited its
initial strategy and now plans to shift from developing full native apps to
emphasizing the mobile web. In some cases, downloadable apps will remain
available, but as hybrids with mobile-optimized web content and data delivery
rather than full apps in their own right. Officials said the new approach would
be implemented this year.
Orbitz for Business all along has utilized the mobile web
rather than native apps. Its two-year-old offering essentially is a
device-optimized version of its main booking tool, with integrated corporate
policy, messaging and reporting capabilities. Available functions include
bookings, cancellations, flight status, company-specific messaging,
TripIt-powered itinerary management and tap-to-call. The company also is
planning to integrate rail and chauffeured car bookings.
From Egencia, a mobile-optimized web service is available to
those who are not Android or iOS users. For those platforms, the company's
native apps now offer flight exchange for 26 airlines, on top of the more
pedestrian itinerary, alert, schedules, check-in, mapping and click-to-call
features. The company is taking advantage of Expedia's 2010 acquisition of
Mobiata—maker of the top travel app (FlightTrack) in the Android store—and
expects to release all-new native apps by the third quarter.
While these largest corporate travel brands or their parent
companies are making big investments, one step smaller on the list of TMCs
finds a similar mix of internal and external developers. Travel Leaders
Corporate, Travel and Transport and World Travel Inc. during the past 18 months
have launched new mobile services on that basis.
Among this group, Travel and Transport was first with its
eTTek Dash app, launched on the Apple iOS platform in 2011. Working with an
outside developer to supplement its internal resources, the company also built
a native app for Google's Android platform. T&T also offers a mobile-optimized
website for other mobile operating systems. Dash is billed as a mobile
connection to travel information and services "without the hassle or
privacy concern of sending itinerary information to a third party"—a
not-very-subtle dig at the likes of TripIt. Mobile check-in links and
click-to-call for reaching T&T agents are among the included features,
while a fee-based version offers flight and security alerts from FlightStats
and iJet, respectively.
A Travel Leaders Corporate partnership with Canadian travel
tech firm Magnatech last year produced TLC Beacon, which is native on Android
and iOS. Featuring an automatically updating itinerary and typical information
bits, Beacon's differentiator is its role as a facilitator for reaccommodation.
"A complex monitoring system checks news sources for security threats,
extreme weather, flight cancellations or delays, and so on," according to
the app's description. "If the system detects conditions that can affect
your travel plans, it connects with the travel agent and changes are made while
you're in transit. Problems are often fixed before you're aware of them."
World Travel Inc. worked with mobile software developer
Mobilezapp to build its WorldMobile native apps for Android and iOS, with a
BlackBerry app also on the way. They offer past, current and future itineraries
with push notifications (on-screen alerts) for relevant reminders, calendar
integration, click-to-call, invoice emailing, FlightStats information, company
policies, travel tips and more. WorldMobile also provides users one-touch
access to preferred corporate booking apps, and World Travel Inc. execs
stressed that they were not interested in competing against mobile solutions
provided by their corporate booking partners Concur, GetThere and Rearden Commerce.
Among those corporate travel booking providers, Concur,
which claims to have more than a million mobile users, offers native travel and
expense apps for Android, BlackBerry and iOS that it plans this month to
enhance. Alongside expense management functions, Concur's tool allows users to
book flights and rooms, check flight status and integrate with TripIt. TripIt,
also, is a cog in Concur's Open Booking strategy.
Rearden Commerce's Mobile Personal Assistant and Deem@Work
offerings also are native on all three major mobile platforms and feature
itineraries, alerts, check-in, restaurant bookings and limited travel booking
functionality. The Deem product includes daily deals.
With a development strategy that mirrors those of Orbitz for
Business and HRG, both Sabre's GetThere and nuTravel Technology Solutions have
bypassed native apps in favor of mobile-optimized websites using HTML5.
NuTravel's site offers travel plans, content sharing, navigational tools,
flight status updates and hotel, car and restaurant bookings. The GetThere
product last year added air reservations to itineraries, flight status,
corporate preferences and branding, plus single sign-on support.
— Jay Campbell
Mobile Expense And
Payment Solutions Simplify Reporting, Bill Pay
The often-tedious process of expense reporting is getting
easier and faster thanks to expense management providers offering
mobile-optimized sites and native apps enabling receipt capture and report
approval. Card issuers, meanwhile, also have streamlined mundane
functionalities with mobile services allowing business travelers to check and
pay balances on the go.
Suppliers like Databasics, Insperity Expensable, Rearden
Commerce's Expensewire, TRX, SAP, Bank of America and American Express each
offer mobile apps for the Android and iOS markets that allow users to
photograph receipts and attach images to particular lines in expense reports,
eliminating the need to save receipts and the possibility of losing them.
Concur, KDS and SAP provide managers the ability to approve expense reports via
mobile devices. Concur, KDS and SAP additionally offer BlackBerry apps. SAP
also will roll out an app to Windows phones, said Carr Phillips, SAP global
lead for the professional services industry.
To provide a more comprehensive view of expenses and offer
better budget controls, KDS' Neo product, released in January, not only offers
door-to-door trip booking but also provides for pre-trip approvals an estimate
of all related trip expenses based on company policy and user preferences.
Calculations can include meal estimates of $20 for lunch and $30 for dinner,
for example, in addition to hotel and flight costs. The product is built on
HTML5, making it available in a web interface across computers, mobile phones
and tablets with Internet connections. KDS marketing director Stanislas
Berteloot said the product will be available as a native iOS app in the future.
Infor on April 3 released its first native app for iPhone
and iPad devices with camera receipt capture and camera roll, which allows
users to upload, store and email multiple receipts at one time. The company
provides a mobile-optimized site for users of other platforms.
Oracle's Fusion Expenses product offers features including
voice receipt capture. Available as an iPhone app, the product also allows
travelers to use their smartphones' contacts and calendar to select attendees
for business meals, while capturing the receipt. Oracle also offers iReceipts
as part of its PeopleSoft Enterprise Expenses solution, which enables receipt
scanning and cash-transaction settlement across mobile devices that support
All apps are free to download with a paid account.
On the payment side, card issuers American Express, Bank of
America, Citi and HSBC offer mobile-optimized sites where users can view
accounts, recent transactions, card balances, limits and reward points as well
as pay bills. Text banking is available on feature phones where users can
receive a text with their balance.
American Express' mobile site and its iPhone app allow users
to order gift cards and access benefits. The iPhone app additionally allows
users to find airport lounges and access AcceptPay, with which users can accept
payment from customers by card or e-check, collect invoices, set up one-time or
recurring payments and add or edit customer profiles.
The American Express, Bank of America and Citi technologies
also alert users to irregular account activities or an approaching card balance limit.
Closer to the cutting edge in payment, American Express, Bank
of America, Barclays, Chase, Citi and HSBC offer mobile wallet products through
such firms as Isis or payWave that use near-field communications, stickers, QR codes
or barcodes. However, many banks still are piloting or are in the early stages
of developing such technologies, and they are not widely available. Jennifer
Petty, head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch's corporate card offering for the
Americas region, said part of the delay is due to the need for higher merchant
adoption of the requisite infrastructure to scan phones or accept mobile
payments. Likewise, Chase's Mobile Pay option works only with selected
merchants in Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City, with Android platforms on
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon networks.
Providing employees with easier and faster expense and
payment options also can save companies money. As Oracle notes on its website, "By
automating entry, expense reports will be submitted more frequently and your
organization can receive earned corporate rebates."
— JoAnn DeLuna
As Meetings Apps
Multiply, Suppliers Target Corps. With Enterprise Solutions
Initially the sole province of large association and
citywide events, native apps and HTML5-based mobile sites from suppliers are
flooding all corners of the meetings industry. They range from simple, free,
agenda-creation tools to enterprisewide ones that allow corporate planners to
create as many flexible, branded apps as they like, which can include updatable
event content and features to enable networking among attendees and speakers.
Wading through the ocean of meetings apps would challenge
even tech-savvy buyers, but an increasing number of them are exploring the
possibilities of offering apps for at least some corporate events.
"The development of mobile apps for events has taken a
lot of different routes," said meetings technology consultant Corbin Ball,
president of Corbin Ball Associates. "The high-end corporate users are
looking at recurring apps, enterprise-level apps that they can use for all
different events, big and small. They'll be highly branded and in a native
environment. On the low end, there are lots of lower-cost and free apps out
there that you can put conference agenda and speaker information into. It's
easier than having a small program printed."
Today, it seems unlikely that corporate meeting buyers would
feel a need to provide apps for every meeting—small meetings of co-workers, for
example, likely wouldn't be prime targets. Ball suggested that as the market
continues to develop, corporate interest would center on enterprise meetings
apps, as opposed to apps designed to handle single events.
"Large corporations do tons of events, and they want
them branded, and this is a natural way to do that," Ball said.
The enterprise meetings app market already features a
handful of suppliers, some dedicated to mobile technology, others veterans of
the meetings technology field. In most cases, such apps feature the ability to
offer event schedules, speaker information, maps and methods to share certain
information through social media tools, and to push messages from organizers.
Most are available on Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry platforms.
Canadian mobile meetings technology firm QuickMobile in
October secured C$3.3 million in venture funding and in November released an
enterprise app that allows users to create custom event apps using a content
management system. SnapApp is based on a "single, branded master
application created by QuickMobile for each customer, which can draw from more
than 30 components representing a wide range of features," according to
the company, which claims as clients Accenture, Dell, Disney and Microsoft.
Attendees then "securely download the branded master app only once and
unlock each new event from inside the master app."
Similarly, GenieConnect, until March called GenieMobile,
offers a content management system-based multi-meeting enterprise app solution.
Called SmartConnect, the tool can be configured to suggest content to attendees
based on their use of the app—for example, pitching particular exhibitors based
on attendance at specific educational sessions, according to the company.
"As the app learns about the user, it becomes ever more
relevant, giving them more value whilst helping you understand them better and
uncover the true story of your event," according to GenieConnect.
But mobile tech startups aren't the only players in this
space. Meetings technology firm Cvent last month released an app construction
tool through CrowdCompass, a company it acquired in 2012. Another meetings tech
firm, Certain offers Certain Mobile, which allows the construction of unlimited
HTML5-based sites for events.
Those are only a handful of examples of apps available to
those corporate meeting buyers interested in deploying mobile solutions. The
list continues to grow as smartphones become ubiquitous among corporate meeting
The functionality of meetings apps will continue to expand,
as well. QuickMobile in a white paper suggested the next step for such
technology would be further convergence with travel suppliers' tech. "Users
will be able to create and modify travel plans, personalize and coordinate pre-
and post-event activities and coordinate with other attendees, travel
suppliers, hotels, airlines and car rental companies from the mobile app,"
according to QuickMobile.
Whatever the future holds, "the meetings industry is
going to change more in the next five years due to mobile tech than it has in
the past 15," Ball said. "This confluence of mobile and social
together will have profound impact."
— Chris Davis
Originally published in the April 15, 2013, issue of Business Travel News.
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