With our dependency on technology these days, you might not remember how you ever got on without it. What did you do before your phone was pocket-sized? And how did you check what the weather will be like at your destination? Now you probably have an app or two for that.
When we acquire technology as fast as it’s released, whether that’s hardware or software, we run the risk of being surrounded by devices and apps that aren’t actually simplifying our lives. Cue an audit of your travel tech.
Karen Ling, Business Improvement Manager for Corporate Traveller, says that technology should be simple and contain everything you need to make your business travel faster and easier. “Simplicity, efficiency and money saving are the key benefits you should be getting from your travel technology.”
Follow our tips to audit your travel tech and ensure it’s helping to simplify your travel.
What Tech Do You Travel With?
As with any successful audit, you need to start by taking stock of what you have. Consider all the technology you use when booking travel or while on the road, such as your phone, tablet, laptop, even chargers for these devices and headphones. Also consider the software you use, including programs you use for work and your apps.
Now consider how much you use each of these pieces of tech. You might access some constantly (hello, phone) while others you may not even recall the last time you used them. Usage may also vary depending on how long you’re travelling for or what type of work you’re doing while away.
Once you have an idea of how much technology you travel with and how often you use it, it’s time to ask the hard questions.
Audit Your Travel Tech
For all the travel tech you identified, consider the questions below. They won’t all be relevant for each piece of tech and you shouldn’t need to spend much time on each one; you’ll know pretty quickly if the tech is serving its purpose.
Does It Save You Time?
One of the major benefits of technology is its ability to save us time. Consider your travel tech and its time saving – or sucking – capabilities. For example, automatic updates to your location will save you time when you need to check the weather. Whereas a device that takes five minutes to boot up can be a real time sucker, especially when you’re in a hurry.
Any tech that takes up your time might not be completely lost; see if there is an update you can make or free up some storage to help it run more efficiently.
Does It Save You Money?
Following time, money is your next big consideration. Is your technology saving you cash? It may be active or passive saving, such as a budget tracking app that helps you to save money by keeping track of your spending.
If your tech is not saving you money, is it costing you? This may be the case, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Consider if what you’re paying is less than an alternative. For example, a subscription to a music streaming service might cost you money, but it may be cheaper than another option.
Is It Easy to Use?
Your travel tech will only be effective if it’s user-friendly. Otherwise, you won’t use it. With research and technology providing instinctive interfaces, it can be frustrating in this day and age when platforms are confusing, processes have too many steps or the tech is, frankly, unintelligent. How does your tech stack up?
Also, consider that your tech may actually be easy to use, but you haven't yet mastered how to use it. If you have a new device or app that you aren’t familiar with, don’t write it off just yet. Give it a chance and review it again down the track.
Is It Convenient?
The answer to this question is key. While on the go around the country or the world, you want your travel tech to be at your service, not the other way around. You should be able to access it quickly and get the information you’re after – and some that you hadn’t sought out – at the touch of a button.
Consider whether your tech can multi-task or if you need to use different devices or apps to access information. For example, one app that can provide updates on your travel itinerary, check-in, flight status, gate changes and weather and traffic at your location can negate the need to access your email, three websites and two other apps. Think this is too good to be true? You haven’t met Sam.
Is It Compatible?
You might have all of your devices and apps connected to make your processes smooth, but what about compatibility in a new location? Does your time zone update and sync your calendars automatically? Can you access your server remotely? Are you equipped with the right adaptors for power outlets if you’re travelling internationally?
Also, consider how common your devices are and if it would be easy for you to pick up or hire a power cord or adaptor if you forgot yours. Some hotels may have cords available for major tech brands.
Is It Easy to Travel With?
It can be a juggle to manage all of your bags during transit. Even more so if you travel with multiple screens. Consider the size and weight of your laptop in particular, but also your tablet and smartphone, and any additional hardware such as power cords, keyboards and hard drives. Being weighed down by your devices may cost you more than discomfort with some airlines now weighing carry-on luggage as well.
New technology often boasts being lighter and more compact which will inevitably make it easier to travel with. And having the right bags for your devices will certainly help with storage, transport and protection of your equipment.
Is It Up To Date?
Are you operating current devices and apps? This is the easiest way to ensure your tech doesn’t get left behind. With new versions being released so frequently these days, you’ll be forgiven for not having the latest and greatest. But staying within a version or two will help you keep up.
Staying on top of when your contracts expire to upgrade your devices, or damage to equipment, such as power cords, that need repairs, can help to not only keep you up-to-date but ensure you don’t run into trouble when travelling. Regular software updates are another simple way to ensure your tech stays current.
When Should You Audit Your Travel Tech?
With technology evolving so quickly, it can pay to review your travel tech every three to four months – or more often if you’re a regular traveller – to ensure you remain up-to-date with changing capabilities and trends and let go of any tech that isn’t making your travel easier.
But you don’t have to conduct a full audit every quarter. As you travel, pay attention to any devices, apps or systems that aren’t meeting your needs and change these up as soon as you get home, or while on the go if you can.
Simplify Your Travel Tech with Sam
If your list of technology used while travelling exhausts you more than the travel itself, we’ll let you in on our big secret to simplify your travel tech: Sam :]
The Smart Assistant for Mobile app, or Sam for short, is a business traveller's best friend. The pocket travel assistant streamlines the process for travel booking activities and keeps you on track while you're on the road. With Sam, you can do away with a number of other apps and make the most of its multitasking capabilities:
- Provides easy-to-read and detailed travel itineraries and syncs with your calendar –late may
- Online check-in reminders
- Notifications including flight status reports and boarding gate changes
- Access weather and traffic reports for your destinations
- Receive restaurant recommendations for your itinerary locations
- Share your trips easily with family and colleagues via SMS, email, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other social channels
- Integrates with Uber and Lyft to support ride requests at any of your travel locations
- Upload your expenses on the go with one tap access to your Certify or Expensify accounts
- Easily forward any other reservations (such as Travel Club or Flight Centre leisure bookings) via email
Tapping into AI technology, which offers big benefits for business, Sam’s ability to streamline and enhance your travel processes are just the beginning, says Karen: “With AI capabilities, technology can recognise your preferences and speed up your processes by recommending those. Its more advanced and has fewer clicks to get through the process. And it’s changing pretty quickly; we’re adding more and more AI enhancements all the time.”
AI-supported features in the works for Sam include enhanced traveller safety by triggering real-time alerts about critical incidents in your location or destination, and further integrations with popular service providers to make the process of business travel even more efficient.
*Note, some features listed above are on the roadmap for future enhancements of the app.
Join the Digital Revolution
Bring your travel tech out of the Dark Ages and into the Digital Revolution with a thorough audit and regular reviews of your devices and apps. Assess your tech, update where needed and make Sam work for you to get the most out of your travel technology.