My top three travel apps 

 

Summer is officially here and if you’re jetting off somewhere on holiday – or away on business there are timesaving hacks to be had.  

These are my top three travel apps. 

British Airways  

What’s so good about this app? 

Highly personalised, it delivers a great customer experience from the get go. The look and feel of the app is welcoming and smart - your status (gold, silver, bronze or blue) is immediately evident in the app when you access it. If you have trips booked, the background picture of the app shows your destination. It’s a nice touch. 

The app is a big productivity tool. Timetables are simple to access and view. You get real-time status updates for flights that, with other apps, can be a bit hit and miss. It’s also much faster to check in than with other airline apps and you can instantly add the booking to your calendar to remind you. It cuts down on the anxiety that you may have forgotten something. 

If you’re travelling a lot to certain destinations you can set up favourites. This means you literally hit the ground running, having used the app to book hotels and cars if you need to, as well as showing things to do once you’re there. 

But the thing that seals the deal for me and the reason I really like it is because it feels like a two-way conversation with the app – not just an information interface. It feels smart.  

It’s a detail we hoped to emulate by extending the opportunities for personalisation when we created the white glove executive travel app for Reed and Mackay. A really important productivity tool for executive business travellers, it’s billed as a travel ‘companion’ to keep you informed, reassured and safe. 

For me it’s the gold standard of executive travel apps.  

TripAdviso

Why do I like TripAdvisor? Quite simply it’s the Glassdoor of the travel world. There’s no place to hide and the power of the consumer rules. You get much more than just the hotel’s view of the world through their website and their gorgeous filtered photos.  

TripAdvisor has successfully built a whole community of consumers who go beyond taking a review at face value. The ability to ask questions of other travellers and get the benefit of their experience is invaluable. 

In fact, what did we do before TripAdvisor? We often travelled very hopefully and were sometimes disappointed on arrival, when things didn’t quite match up to our expectations. Then, if we wanted to complain it was usually to the hotel management. Now hotels and restaurants must show their willingness to publicly take criticism on board – and to respond positively and unreservedly when negative reviews are posted. After all, their businesses depend on it – and customer service has undoubtedly improved as a result. 

You can tell the businesses that are going to turn their negative reviews around, in the way they reassure new visitors and disarm the irate customers. They’re never reactive. By adopting a warm tone of voice and being specific about the issue, they’re saying to the world – we lead with excellent customer service, despite not being 100% perfect all the time (and let’s face it, which business is?) 

It’s nice to visit hotels and restaurants where the owners are so confident and proud of their customer experience that they actively invite you to post a review.  

Touchnote

Ok, I will admit it, a complete gimmick, but so much fun for the kids and a lovely surprise for the recipient.  If you love the idea of sending postcards to your family and friends when you’re away – but never quite get around to buying, writing, finding a post box to send them, then you’ll love Touchnote. 

A clever app that helps you send postcards using your holiday snaps (and no, I’m not on commission for this one). You write the message in the usual space, add the name and address, then you pay only the cost of UK first class postage to send it. And when you get home you’ll find that, wherever in the world you’ve been, the postcards will have beaten you back. Bringing postcards back without the hassle – what’s not to love? 

Productivity – for consumers and business travellers

We’re all consumers – whether we’re at work or not. When it comes to customer experience there should be no difference between using an enterprise app or an app for a consumer brand. That’s the philosophy we have at CAF and the reason why our experience-led design is at the heart of the digital products we create. If you’d like to find out more about travel apps and how we can help with developing yours, drop in for a cup of tea at our Farringdon studio or contact us here

 
Edel McGrath