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Espresso of Innovation: Come Fly With Me

By Chris Miller, chief digital officer

Hello and welcome to this week's Espresso of Innovation; the hottest news and strongest stories from the world of creativity and technology filtered into a quick shot of inspiration. This week, we’re flying to the moon, or a bar in far Bombay.
Travel has changed a lot from the days of the family trip and the only entertainment being “I spy” to post 9/11 and long(er) security lines. Frequent traveler or once a year family vacation – to borrow an over-used term – there’s an app for that.
Technology and more precisely mobile phones have been game changers for travel, from the early mobile days of just being able to call from anywhere to now bringing information right to you and in some cases even food to your gate. All this is making the travel experience an easier one, or at least a bit more palatable (and sometimes downright fun).
In The Air
I’m a big fan ofTripIt as it can hold all of your trip information, and if you spring for the pro version it will monitor your travel to give you alternate flights. And it’s as easy as emailing your hotel, airplane, car rental, etc. confirmations to populate your trips. Now you can even do these updates (or catch up with Netflix) above the clouds with American Airlines’WiFi in the Sky.
Before Boarding
Once at the airport somehow I always think about food. In Chicago and a few other airports you can useB4 You Board to order food brought to your gate. Imagine your fellow travelers shock when a "B4 You Board" agent walks up with your hot wings. And if it’s not just food but a drink or perhaps a newspaper thenGate Guru is the app for you. It’s always at my fingertips when I’m at an airport that I don’t know. And of courseSeat Guru, which helps you find the perfect seat. But shhh, it’s our secret.
On The Ground
Now you’ve landed and you’ve got to get to your destination. No need to hail a cab or wait outside, just book an on-demand taxi, town car or SUV onUber. Or if that’s too up-market then check outTaxi Magic orHailO.
I could go on. In fact looking at my travel folders – yes plural on my iPhone and Samsung – there are the airline apps,Currency apps to check exchange rates,Trip Advisor and of courseWord Lens -- all of which have replaced or changed the way I travel.
For The Future
Travel is one area that has barriers and hurdles that the utility of a great mobile tool (app or website) can help overcome. The apps that I’ve illustrated work because they come from a clear behavioral insight, e.g. I need help (where do I eat?), or service (I need a taxi to get from point A to point B). Brands of any category have the same opportunity if they first identify the behavioral barrier or hurdle; just look to the travel category for a bit of inspiration.