WorldMate - Travel Smart
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7 posts categorized "WorldMate Tutorials"

June 09, 2009

How Executive Assistants Save Time and Improve Travel

Many of our users are aided by an executive assistant who helps arrange their trips. In the past, these assistants used to edit and print out paper itineraries for their bosses, as well as manually input the flight and hotel information into Outlook for the travelers to be able to use it on their BlackBerry. This is of course a rather tedious process, that breaks down very easily - whether it is because plans have changed, in which case those paper itineraries become useless and even misleading, or because every tiny mistake - wrong flight time, terminal number or address - could lead to travel crises.

Using WorldMate, personal assistants can now significantly improve on this - save time and effort, reduce errors and improve their communications with the traveler. Isn't that what technology is for?

If you want to understand the whole process and all the benefits - read this. If you're convinced already and just want to know how to use it - just scroll down...

Step I: WorldMate Automatically Gets The Travel Details From Bookings

First - WorldMate automates the process of itinerary creation. What it does is capture the travel details directly off the travel booking confirmation emails. It uses these to auto-create a comprehensive itinerary. And it organizes the items by time - regardless of the timezones. Like this:

WebItinHeader

Step II: WorldMate Adds the Meetings and Fixes the Times

Next - WorldMate adds the meetings that the traveler has while traveling to the itinerary. What it does this, it fixes the time-zone issues - so everything is presented according to the destination time-line. What you get is a sort of travel calendar where you can see your travel timeline - first you take the flight, then you pick up the rental car, then you go to your meeting etc. All of these are presented as one, conclusive travel itinerary. You can have the meetings added automatically - if you already put them in the scheduling system (e.g. Outlook), or add them manually on the www.worldmate.com website. The entire itinerary is available there automatically. It is easily editable, automatically appears on the travelers' BlackBerry or iPhone (see below), and you can easily print it out on the www.worldmate.com website. Here's an itinerary with meetings added automatically:

Itin_w_meetings


Step III: WorldMate Checks All the Addresses And Creates a Map

When you travel, having the right address is crucial. If you don't have it - you're lost. Furthermore it is so convenient if you can see in advance where you're going and how to get from place to place. Well, this is exactly what WorldMate does for you. You - or your traveler - can then click the Map in the www.worldmate.com website to see everything on one map - the airport, the hotel, the meetings - they're all there. Here's how an itinerary looks like on the map - you can see the airport, hotel and meeting (and even the rental car office is hiding there...):

Itin-map-partial

Step IV: WorldMate Puts the Itinerary On The Traveler's Phone!

As soon as there's an itinerary in the system, it is automatically synchronized with the traveler's BlackBerry or iPhone - the same way Outlook is automatically synchronized with the calendar on the phone. So your traveler has all the details - without you having to do anything. If you add or change something, or if they do - it gets to their phone automatically, just like it does from Outlook (or Lotus Notes if you're using that). No hassle, no work!

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Step V: WorldMate Puts the Flights and Hotels in Outlook Too!

Most PA's are used to putting the traveler's information into Outlook / Lotus. This is a tedious process - whether you need to copy and paste the flight and hotel information, or whether you get a file you need to save into Outlook (and then check it made it there OK) - it's just a hassle. With WorldMate and the BlackBerry - the whole process is automated. You just forward those confirmation emails to the WorldMate system - and the info gets to the calendar automatically. You don't need to do anything (the traveler needs to enable this on his BlackBerry when asked to). So WorldMate just saved you a whole lot of typing - that you'd have had to do again and again if schedules changed.

 Trips

Step VI: WorldMate Helps You find The Right Hotel

How do you find a hotel that meets your traveler's preference AND is near the meetings he's attending? Easy. WorldMate lets you search for hotels on a map, and finds the hotels that meet your travelers preference - budget, star quality, brand etc. You can even select a meeting that was (automatically) entered in the system, and it will search for a hotel near that meeting. And once you book it - it's immediately added to the itinerary. No fuss! Learn all about WorldMate's hotel booking facilities here.

So - how should an executive assistant use WorldMate?

The way WorldMate works is that every traveler has an account. So your boss either has an account, or should open one at www.worldmate.com (and download the mobile app to his phone). His / her account name is his email address - say john.smith@acme.com . To get his travel bookings into the system, he can forward the confirmation emails from that address. But it's easy to expect that he'd want you to do it. How is that done? There's two ways to do it.

One way, is to add your email address to his account. This way, when the system gets an email from you, it understands it should go into his account. To do this:

  • Sign into the travelers' account on www.worldmate.com - you can just click here. You'd need his/her email address and password.
  • Click "My Account" on the top right
  • Click the blue "Email Addresses" button
  • Put your own email address in the "Add Email Address" box and click "Add"

From now on - you can just forward the confirmation emails you get to trips@worldmate.com . The system will recognize the emails coming from you and put them in your traveler's itinerary.

You can make this even easier by using the WorldMate Outlook Add-in. This will enable you to send emails and even meetings into WorldMate with one click.

You'd need to download and install the Outlook Add-in on your PC, which you can do here - WorldMate Outlook Add-in Download. Download, open the file and run it (close Outlook first).

Once you re-open Outlook, you'll have a new toolbar:

Outlook_bar

To prepare it for action, you need to configure it with your traveler's WorldMate ID. All you need to do is:

  • Sign into the travelers' account on www.worldmate.com - you can just click here. You'd need his/her email address and password.
  • Click "My Account" on the top right
  • Click the blue "Email Addresses" button
  • Look at the "Your WorldMate Live email address". It contains an address that looks like this 1234567890@worldmatelive.com . Just copy this address or write it on a piece of paper.
  • Then - in your Outlook, click the "Menu" button on the WorldMate toolbar (shown above - left-most button). You'll see this screen:
Settings
  • Put the email address you copied below in the white box, and click "Save"


That's all. From now on, whenever you get a booking confirmation email - all you need to do is click the "Export Item" button and it will go directly into your traveler's WorldMate itinerary. And if you want to log into the website to do more - simply click the "WorldMate Live" button.

Questions? Suggestions? Just comment below!

April 14, 2009

WorldMate's Flight Alerts Replace Airport Departures Boards

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The information you're used to finding on airports' electronic boards - delays, cancellations, gate and time of departure - are all part of the WorldMate Flight Alerts feature. But our Alerts enable you to find out about delayed or cancelled flights in real time, way before you get to the airport. So instead of leaving a meeting early to catch a flight, just to realize the flight has been delayed once you're already at the airport, you can now know about it in advance and plan accordingly. You'll even receive an Alert if only your gate number changes. And the best thing is this works automatically with virtually any airline in the Western world - no need to register separately for each flight with specific airlines. If your flight is in your itinerary, and you're a Gold member - you'll get the alert. Alerts are available on WorldMate for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian devices. Flight Status is also available on our Palm and iPhone products.


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WorldMate's Flight Schedules feature list all the flights on a specific chosen route - say from LA to NY. You can use it on a daily basis instead of online sites like Kayak, or in a last-minute situation after receiving an Alert about a change in the flight you were planning to travel on. Find the flight that's right for you and book it on the spot without having to talk to airline personnel or wait on line for help.

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The application's Travel Directory lists phone numbers for airlines, hotels and car rental companies to help you make bookings and change them.


Basically what we're saying is that the old familiar scene of people standing around a large monitor or bulletin board at airports and railroad stations... waiting for the board to post information which is relevant to them... that's just not necessary anymore. Why rush to a board and stand there frantically looking for your gate if you can have it all in the palm of your hand way in advance? It's a 20th century scene ;). That information is already available on mobile and our Alerts show up on your screen automatically so you don't even have to look for them. All you'll need to do is go straight to the counter and check in.


Questions? Suggestions? Please post them here and we'll get the discussion going.

April 01, 2009

Email Us Your Travel Plans

Here's the problem: your flight was booked directly on an airline's website, your hotel was booked via Expedia. Your meetings are in your Outlook calendar and now you just landed, heading out to catch a cab. Maybe you printed all your email confirmations and now there's a stack of papers in your bag. Your laptop is off. Where's the hotel...? When's your first meeting...? You don't remember.


The solution is WorldMate's itinerary, that puts all this info in your cellphone - automatically, for free. Itineraries are at the heart of WorldMate Live and we're constantly working to make their creation as simple as possible. WorldMate therefore creates itineraries automatically from emails you forward to us via a dedicated email account (trips@worldmate.com). Once you receive confirmation for your travel plans from your airline, travel agent or any other type of travel management company - just forward your email confirmations to the above account and we'll create your WorldMate itinerary for you. Keep in mind that we support Word, PDF and RTF attachments so no need to copy/paste them into the body of your email before forwarding.


Another way to automatically create WorldMate itineraries is by installing our Outlook Add-In onto your PC. Downloading the Add-In enables you to send us your travel confirmations with one click, instead of forwarding.


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WorldMate supports hundreds of airlines and agents. Please let us know whenever you run into an email confirmation that doesn't go through so that we can add it onto our list of supported providers.

If you work with a dedicated travel agent who handles your bookings for you, ask him or her to CC WorldMate Live on booking confirmations or final itinerary emails. It'll save you the trouble of doing it yourself. In this case, tell your agent to copy cc@worldmate.com (note that this is a different email account from the regular one you use yourself).

You can always send your itinerary to colleagues or family members, as well as print it.

WorldMate Live automatically pieces together an entire itinerary from separate emails received and multiple sources. You can forward more than one email per itinerary: if you have one message with flight info and another with hotel info, our system will recognize them both as related to the same trip so no need to worry.

If you send us only hotel information, or only car information - but without flight details - our system will categorize your items as "unassigned." Unassigned items will assign automatically once you send in the corresponding flights. If you don't want to add flights, you can bring unassigned items into your regular itinerary list by logging into your account on our webiste and clicking "assign."

We're working on adding emails that confirm ground transportation and will be sure to announce when that's available.

An important point to keep in mind when forwarding emails to WorldMate is the email account you're using. WorldMate will only recognize your email address if you tell us about it :). It's okay for you to forward from more than one account, just make sure you first go into your account settings on our site and tell our system about your additional email address so that we know it's yours. And if you're using a BlackBerry, the meetings you have in Outlook's calendar can sync up with WorldMate to show up on your itinerary. This is especially useful if you like checking out what your day looks like with WorldMate's mapping functionality.


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The person behind WorldMate's email parsing operations is Alex Karpov. Alex has been at WorldMate for two years and he's the one who makes sure we are able to work with different types of email confirmations and itineraries. As seen below, he also happens to be a nifty musician, actively keeping the beat on drums for a couple of rockabilly bands.


Alex  

Questions? Suggestions? Please post them here and we’ll get the discussion going.

March 22, 2009

WorldMate 2009 For Symbian is Available!

WorldMate 2009 for Symbian is a huge step forward for Symbian-equipped business travelers. It will make your Nokia or Samsung S60 phone your best friend while traveling, enabling you to make informed, real-time decisions, and put you ahead of other passengers in crisis situations like a delayed or missed flight. Whether you're using a Nokia E71, N95 or the touch-screen N97, it will turn your device into the ultimate travel companion.

The heart of the system is the new home screen or "Dashboard". It gives you some of the key info you need at a glance, including the current location, date, weather and the status of your upcoming flight(*)  . Using the carousel at the bottom of the screen you can reach all other services, including World Clocks, Currency Conversion and Currency Rates, real-time Flight Status(*), comprehensive worldwide Flight Schedules(*), and the Flight Alerts(*) service.  

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WorldMate is a free download, with many services provided for free, including worldwide weather forecasts, world clocks, a currency converter with an online rates update, and a day/night world map:

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An extremely popular service is the Weathercaster. You can set it up to read you the weather forecast once or twice a day. Yes, we said "read". Weathercaster speaks out the weather forecast for you...

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Professional travelers should go for the Gold-level subscription. For a few Euros a month, this will get you out of situations that would otherwise cost you a lot more time and money. 2 key services for travelers are the real-time Flight Status service and the Flight Alerts (tracking) service. These utilize a real-time status feed covering over 350 airlines worldwide, to tell you in real-time when a flight is delayed, canceled or diverted. Just put in your flight number and date, and the system will start tracking your flight:

Full flight information - terminal, gate, time and status are provided. In case of a change in the flight - delay, cancellation etc., your phone will alert you and provide the latest information:

I'm sure you'd agree this is critical information to get in such a situation. In some cases - it just means leaving for the airport later, or more time to spend in the lounge. But in others - it means you're stranded. How can you get back home? Or get to your meeting in time?

This is where the Flight Schedules service comes in handy. You see, it covers commercial flights for over 800 airlines, and provides both direct and connected flights. So wherever you are, and wherever you're going, it probably knows how to get you there. Just put in your origin, destination, and the time you want to leave, to get a list of alternatives. You can put in the city names, in which case you'll get all possible flights leaving or arriving into any airport in that metroplex. If you want to select a specific airport - put in the 3-letter airport code (e.g. LHR for London Heathrow).

What if you're meeting and greeting? That's when the Flight Status service comes in handy. Put in your peer's flight number and date, to get real time status.

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Often when flights are delayed or canceled, it's due to severe weather conditions. Use the Weather Imagery service to view animated weather satellite imagery in the relevant areas - and find out in advance what's going on!

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So now you know what makes WorldMate the world's #1 mobile travel service. Over 2 million people rely on WorldMate daily to assist them when traveling. Download it now. And if you're serious about your travel, Go Gold and let WorldMate help you avoid some of the stress and time loss involved in business travel.

Haven't downloaded yet? What are you waiting for?

                  Download Now          Go Gold!

(*) Services marked (*) require a Gold level subscription.

March 17, 2009

Get the Best Hotel Deal at The Last Minute with WorldMate

 

Here's the problem: you need a hotel reservation. Now. But you don't have access to the internet or if you do, you don't have time to start searching for hotels by neighborhood. You just want a hotel room near your meeting, or near where you are at this very moment. Sound familiar? It happens to me all the time...

 

The solution is right in your cellphone using WorldMate's Hotel Booking  feature. It’s an extremely useful tool for booking last-minute hotel rooms directly from your phone. And if you want, it will even take note of your current location when searching for hotel options so that you can remain in the same area. As WorldMate knows where you're going, all you have to do is select the meeting you want to find a hotel near, and the duration of your stay. WorldMate will then search for hotels that are close by, and meet all your personal preferences: your budget, brand, quality and preferred amenities. It will then present a list that is ordered according to all these criteria - we call it Smart SearchTM. This means that most probably, one of the top few hotels on the list is exactly what you need.

 

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Prices on WorldMate are on par with the lowest available online rates. We have a partnership with hotels.com, which is part of Expedia. Our hotel offers are drawn from Expedia's database and are the exact same low prices that appear on its websites. To be honest even we’ve been surprised at how competitive our rates have been lately, though unfortunately that’s also just a reflection of the current tough economic times.

Hotel bookings on WorldMate are easy, especially if you’re making plans on the go and location is a key factor. A cellphone is more secure than the internet when it comes to financial transactions so booking on your BlackBerry isn't just the simplest way to go, it's also the safest. And as we auto-fill forms for you - it's even faster.

If you're stationary and have more time, go online for planning that's both informed and location-based. It's particularly great for finding a hotel which is convenient for your plans in a way that avoids zigzagging back-and-forth from one side of a city to the other. 

 

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Keep in mind that Smart SearchTM also manages preferred amenities like internet access or a gym. We like to imagine all of WorldMate's users maintaining a healthy lifestyle and running on a treadmill in hotel gyms... In fact Gilad Gruber, WorldMate's Vice President for Research and Development, refuses to stay in a hotel that doesn't have one (he calls it his "no gym, no travel" policy).

Two short demonstration clips:

Hotel Booking on the BlackBerry

Hotel Booking on the web

 

Questions? Suggestions? Please post them here and we’ll get the discussion going.

February 22, 2009

Google Maps and WorldMate Live

Last week, we posted a quick tutorial on using WorldMate Live's free mapping facilities. We got dozens of responses from people who want this to integrate with the Google Maps mobile application that they are using (http://www.google.com/mobile/default/maps.html). Lots of people are using this application, either because it's better than what came with their devices, or because the built-in app (e.g. BlackBerry Maps) does not have content for where they live - e.g. Australia.

It is our goal at WorldMate to support all popular mapping apps and in fact we spent a lot of time trying to get an API for Google Maps that will allow us to integrate with it. Alas, it seems like the good people at Google are just not interested in this extra traffic we can provide them. There is no Google Maps for mobile API as yet for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or Symbian. And given the fact many developers have been asking for this for years, it's pretty clear that is a policy with Google. Whether this stems from content licensing issues (a frequent issue with mapping licenses) or just competitive policy we don't know, although we assume the latter.

What can users do?  One thing you can try is petition Google. They have a Help Forum where you can post a question. Perhaps if enough people did it, they will enable this.

Additional suggestions? We'd love to hear from you. Post your comment below.

February 15, 2009

Using WorldMate Live’s free mapping services to find your way

Finding your way around an unfamiliar city is always one of the most time-consuming and stress-inducing activities while traveling on business. And it’s not just about how to get from point A to point B – it’s also about how to “geo-plan” your trip optimally – schedule the meetings in logical order so that you don’t zig-zag across town multiple times, stay in a hotel that is near your meeting or near public transportation etc.


In WorldMate Live, we do our best to simplify this for you. When we create your itinerary, we automatically geo-locate any address in the itinerary – whether we got it automatically from the confirmation emails you’ve forwarded (e.g. hotel or car rental addresses), or we got them from your meetings (if you have the meeting location in your calendar – we’d parse that too). This means that by the time you’re traveling – you can just click the item, click “map” – and we’ll show you the item on the map.

 

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If you’re using GPS navigation software like TelMap, TeleNav or AT&T Navigator – you can set WorldMate up to automatically open those instead, so you can navigate directly to your destination. In the main menu click “Settings” then “Mapping Application” to select your preferred mapping provider.

 

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These locations are also shown on your itinerary and map in the WorldMate Live web application. This means that even before you leave home – or before you leave your hotel in the morning, you can view your entire day on the map. In the itinerary view you can see whether all your items were correctly geo-coded – or perhaps you’re missing an address or have an incomplete one!  This way – you won’t be surprised that you have the wrong address, when you’re already looking for it.

 

Itinerary View With Address Validity Marked:

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Click the small map, or “Enlarge” to view a map of your entire trip. This enables you to see where your meetings, hotel, airports etc. are relative to each other. Click any item in the list on the left to view it on the map. If you’re using public transportation – you can find stations nearest to your meetings by zooming and panning.

 

Map View of Your Trip:


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If you need to book a hotel – WorldMate Live simplifies finding the right one – one that is near your meetings and matches your preferences. Just click the “Need a hotel?” banner on the top right. You can select an actual location from your itinerary – a meeting for instance, or a location in the destination city. The results are shown directly on the map!

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Want to see a live demo? Watch this clip:


Have questions? Ideas? Suggestions?   Post them here!

-        Nadav