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Tips For The Traveling Executive: App In The Air
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Tips For The Traveling Executive: App In The Air - Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: App In The Air

Executive Leadership Articles

Tips For The Traveling Executive: App In The Air

It’s getting really difficult to stay on top of the buzziest travel apps. Whatever else may be true about the shifting business-travel landscape, it’s difficult to deny that entrepreneurs see fertile fields in the land of travel apps. Startups are rolling out new apps at a dizzying rate, and what was yesterday’s darling quickly becomes today’s old news. This is not to say that established apps are losing usefulness, but many of the new products certainly attempt to improve on older models, and even if you or your company have settled on your core app services, it’s fascinating to see how the new apps are finding their crevices in the market.

Claire is a voice-activated business travel app available on multiple platforms, including Skype, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and Slack. Designed to manage a company’s travel and assist its travelers, it receives a user’s request for arrangements and presents a few options, which can be refined with specific parameters. Management can keep track of who’s traveling where, while travelers can request real-time assistance with any complications that might pop up. It looks as if Claire is a whole-company travel management solution, as it offers analytics and is customizable for individual firms’ travel policies. The service and app haven’t launched yet, but early sign-ups are being taken for an intended fall 2017 release. If you love getting on board early to put services like this through their paces, you can imagine Claire will go far out of its way to help its first clients. There’s quite a bit of pre-release buzz out there for this app, but if for some reason it doesn’t get you excited, there are a lot (a lot!) of new apps in the pipeline or in their infancy trying to occupy the same space.

LoungeBuddy isn’t new—it’s been around for four or five years—but it escaped our notice in past travel app reviews, and since the word-of-mouth is so positive, we thought we should give it a dry run. The app is a Yelp for airport lounges, and since we are strong advocates for traveling as comfortably and stress-free as a budget allows, this seems like an invaluable resource, especially for lengthy layovers or unexpected delays. LoungeBuddy prompts you for the airport where you’ll be (or where you are) and offers two views. In one view, you see only “purchasable” lounge accommodations, or those lounges available for a one-time visit, for a fee. In the other, it shows you lounges that don’t sell individual admissions, but which you may have access to depending on your memberships and VIP status. LoungeBuddy works with some of the providers to promise a “best price guarantee” on some of the lounges, and at a quick glance tells you what services are offered for the price you’ll pay. Snacks, TVs, newspapers and magazines, flight monitors, alcohol, WiFi, children’s rooms, nap rooms, showers, and other amenities are indicated by icons for a quick understanding of what’s available. Clicking on a lounge brings up a short description by the LoungeBuddy editors, followed by Yelp-like reviews by people who’ve been there.

We reviewed expense-tracking apps two years ago, and since then, many new apps and services have emerged into what is clearly an in-demand space. We’ll have to do a more extensive review of the new apps in the near future, but until then, Shoeboxed seems promising, especially if you have major paper-management issues. In addition to the usual ability to take a photo of your receipts for digital filing later, the service allows you to send your physical receipts, business cards, and other little pieces of paper that overflow your wallet in a Netflix-like mailing envelope. The service receives your hard copies, digitizes them, and sends you digital files and text files (which you can copy and paste into your expense reports or reimbursement forms, for example) verified by actual human beings. Business card info is added to a contacts list, which can be exported as a CSV file for importing into whatever you’re using to manage your contacts. We gave Shoebox a free test run (it comes with a scheduled payments signup, which you can cancel before the 30-day trial trial is over) and love its ease of use and integration with multiple services, such as QuickBooks and Evernote. It also offers a “forever free” account, allowing up to five document scans per month, unlimited online storage, and receipt- and mileage-tracking with its mobile app. The free “DIY” account doesn’t offer the full range of services, but four plans run from $9.95 per month for the “Lite” plan to $99.95 per month for the “Executive” plan, aimed at larger businesses and accountants. It’s definitely worth a look if you our your employees have difficulty managing little pieces of paper.

It’s easy to settle into the routines of business travel, especially when routine can be your best friend in a possibly stressful situation. Still, with app services clamoring over each other to offer you their best ideas, it can be rewarding to try a new thing or two with each trip. Anything that makes your trip more comfortable or productive is worth a look, and there seem to be countless attempts to promise both.

 

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Tips For The Traveling Executive: App In The Air - Executive Leadership Articles

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