How to...

Make apps work for you

Many of your travellers are real road warriors, putting in their time around the world, carrying with them iPads and smartphones. Timothy O'Neill-Dunne ask if apps are the panacea to all the stresses of modern business travel?

Make apps work for you

In this day and age it's not uncommon to be toting three wireless devices on our travels – a laptop, a smartphone and a tablet. I daren't hazard a guess at the number of associated apps available around the world, but HP estimates that by 2020 there would be a whopping 25 million. Although we can't put an exact number on it, we know that there's a significant amount of travel-related apps out there. Probably over a million fall into the travel category and we can look forward to some pretty good new apps coming soon that will make the travel process much easier. In fact, even next year it will be a different game altogether. We won't be asking, 'is there an app for that?' but instead we'll be wondering 'how did I live without this before?' What follows is a rundown on how best to manage what's out there at the moment.

STEP 1: Clearly a lot of apps are one-time use only and serve to clutter up devices. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that only one in 20 apps is still being used a month after it was downloaded. Ask your travellers to look at the apps that they only use once or twice and ask if they really need them. Pretty much any company worth its salt now has a mobile app, and some are better than others.

STEP 2: Drill down even farther and start to look at the travel search process as a way to get into the trip life cycle. Frankly this is just really tiresome. The average US traveller looks at more than 22 sites before making a decision. Europe is not much better. Recommend the Skyscanner app as the best for searching for flights. Kayak is pretty far down the list. For buying short-haul flights, go to the airline directly – the easyJet and British Airways apps are pretty good. No one wins for long haul so revert to your TMC for this. Hotel shopping? No contest here – booking.com's mobile site is comprehensive and does the job. However, buy direct if you can.

STEP 3: Look into the process of how to get the best out of the trip for your travellers. Mapping is always useful for them – I recommend Googlemaps, though there are some better ones out there.

STEP 4: I prefer the BlackBerry as my smartphone of choice, thus for me the BlackBerry Travel App is very functional. It keeps travellers correctly up to date with timely information. Tripit does fairly well, but BlackBerry integration is superior. Increasingly the social side of things with Facebook integration is a way of life but there are severe security concerns to be aware of so ask travellers not to broadcast their itinerary.

STEP 5: The airport is the place most road warriors hate. Here, there are two providers of airport waiting times, the TSA and GateGuru.

STEP 6: Once at the destination, personal guides help. Tripbod is a great site for this and of course they should always check out TripAdvisor.