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3 posts from December 2009

December 28, 2009

5 travel trends for 2010

2010 is knocking on the door and with it, some big changes to the way we travel, we’ve listed some of the major trends in 2010 travel to give you a better picture of what the future has in store for you

The year of SWF WiFi

Laptop

Last year it was widely predicted that SWF (surfing while flying) WiFi would become ubiquitous. Well, it may have been slightly ahead of time (at least for U.S. travelers), but the trend is clearly growing stronger, with Virgin America, American, and many other airlines rolling out service in 2009, and many more on tap for 2010. Kinks are still being worked out, based on the chatter about porn-surfing and VoiP use, among other controversial pastimes. Still, it’s clear that the value to many travelers is so great that it’s likely to become an important new revenue stream for airlines this year.

China, India and Gulf States are the new hot-spots

China tail

Are we done with the United States and Europe? Probably not. But global travelers are getting more courageous with their travels, and expanding their horizons. Industry insiders are expecting travel to skyrocket in China, India, and The Gulf States over the next twelve months. Why? Well, it certainly has nothing to do with political stability. No, what it really comes down to is money. While the economy is still down, New York, Paris and Milan remain as expensive as ever. But, countries like China and India are seeing enough signs of growth to warrant visiting, offering favorable exchange rates, enormous potential business opportunities and low travel expenses. Their tourism industries are also starting to expand and these countries are going to be top destinations in 2010. Between China and India alone it is expected that over 35,000 hotel rooms will have to be added to meet the impending demands.

Tighter security

Security
Thankfully 2009 did not end with a bang for the passengers of Northwest Airlines flight 253, but the attempted terrorist act there does mean that there won’t be an easing up of airport and plane security any time soon. The Transportation security organization did release the following statement:

“Passengers flying from international locations to U.S. destinations may notice additional security measures in place. These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere. Due to the busy holiday travel season, both domestic and international travelers should allot extra time for check-in.

The New York Times reported that in some cases no one was able to move from their seats during the last hour of flight. That means no bathroom breaks, no accessing carry-on luggage, nothing. When that plane starts descending, you're stuck. Multiple sources have also reported that no electronics are allowed on international flights. So you can't even play video games to distract yourself from how badly you have to pee. From what we can tell, this is largely restricted to inbound international flights so far.

Whole body image scanners

Scanner

Get ready to show your stuff. Travelers will soon find that checking through security will be a revealing experience with the rollout of whole body image scanners that can see beneath clothing are now being installed for added security, replacing traditional x-ray machines. You might think these machines sound like something from science fiction – but they’re very real and very current. A whole body image scan is simple: you enter a booth and your body is scanned. In another room a full image of your body is shown to the security force. The airport security force can easily see what they refer to as metallic and non-metallic threats. The machines have already been deployed at certain airports for test periods. Expect them to become more of a standard at airports in the near future. For now the process is optional – you could choose to be pat-down.

The 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Vancouver-olympics11

Not technically a trend, but the 2010 Vancouver Olympics is an event that will affect travel like an explosion (to get my point, go online and try to get a flight to B.C. in February. Just try!). The 17 days of the Vancouver Olympics are expected to attract a global television audience of three billion people and more than 80 countries and 6,850 athletes and officials are expected to participate. The opening ceremonies will be held on February 12, 2010, and as a result Vancouver is the city to visit in North America in 2010. Everyone wants to get there that big torch gets lit. It’s a beautiful city in a mountain-filled area of Canada that will be perfect for the event. The city will inevitably be overrun with tourists, hotels will be packed and streets will be crowded, but this is the city to see and be seen in this year. So grab a Canadian flag, learn about at least one winter sport (I recommend the luge), buy an obnoxious compressed air horn, and get yourself over to Vancouver to cheer on your country of choice.

December 23, 2009

Conquer the World with WorldMate Maps on the Web

Map
 

There are so many reasons to use WorldMate on the web in addition to your smartphone. With our Maps feature, you can see your entire trip mapped out precisely—including flights, meetings, and hotels. And it gets better, because the map is interactive: You can book the hotels that appear on the map through our site, for unbeatable savings. Find the best hotel for your itinerary, at the best possible price. 

How the Maps Feature Works

Using Google Maps technology, our Maps feature displays all your flights, hotels and meetings against the backdrop of a detailed map. This is useful for multiple reasons:

  • Get flight info intuitively. Just a click on the airport on the map pulls up your complete flight info, including the flight number and times. With all your info on a map, you can suddenly see the big picture.
  • Get the best deals on hotels. Click on a hotel on the map for instant booking through Hotels.com—and the best deals in town.
  • Find the best hotel for you. Everyone has a unique preference when it comes to hotels—some people prefer to sleep near their meeting locations, while others like the convenience of the airport hotels. With our maps feature, you can easily browse all the hotels in the area of your itinerary.

But the hotel search doesn’t stop with location. With our detailed search  options, you can customize your hotel search to find the best match for you. Select the amenities, star rating, and price range you’re looking for, and we find you the options that best suit your choice. The search toolbars are fun to use, allowing you to navigate smoothly between options.

Your meetings at a glance

With all your meetings mapped out, you can see their distance to your hotel, check the meeting times, and get directions with the address.

So what are you waiting for? Login to our web app with your WorldMate user info and get started today!

December 03, 2009

WorldMate Services: Get it all on the Web

We’re not just on your phone anymore. With the new, hugely expanded WorldMate web app, you can plan your entire trip on our site—from flight bookings to hotels, transportation, and meetings. These details sync automatically with WorldMate on your phone, providing you with the ultimate travel planning tool.

We’ve partnered with Kayak and Hotels.com to get you the best flight and hotel deals when you book through us. Plus, we show you your entire itinerary on a map, so you can see the big picture at all times. Instead of having all your travel information scattered in different places, the WorldMate web app combines it all in one sleek, clickable package.

Wm-home
 

The Ultimate Online Travel Tool All your travel needs are covered with our new web application. Book your flight and hotel, schedule meetings, and manage your itinerary with ease. All the details will appear in your online profile and sync with your WorldMate smartphone app. 

Here are some of the features offered in the new web app: 

  • Your Personal Booking Assistant. Booked a flight and hotel, but not a car rental? The Booking Assistant will remind you that an item is missing from your itinerary, and provide suggestions to fill the gap.  
  • Map it Out. See your entire itinerary on a map—flights, hotels, and meetings. Book hotels on the map that are conveniently located to your meetings, or near the landmark of your choice. All the addresses, flight details, and meeting times show up on the map with just a click.
  • Keep Track of Your Meetings—in Any Time Zone. When you book a meeting halfway around the world, time zones can become a confusing obstacle. If for example you’re flying from Australia to New York with a layover in Japan, it’s all you can do just to keep track of your comings and goings. That’s why WorldMate keeps track of time zones for you. Just schedule your meeting in the web app, and WorldMate will calculate the correct time zone. You show up punctual, refreshed—and in the know. 

It’s easy to get started with the WorldMate web app. Just log in with your WorldMate username and password, and your mobile account will sync with your web account.  So what are you waiting for? This holiday season, plan your travel with the new WorldMate web app!