Location-Based Apps and the Business Traveler

How often have you driven by a shopping mall that houses some of your favorite stores and wondered – what specials are being offered today? You don’t have any coupons with you and you don’t have the time to wander into each store in search of “deals of the day”. Well… now there are apps for that!

GPS-enabled smartphone owners, who opt-in to location-based merchandising apps, can now be automatically notified when they are in the vicinity of special offers they are likely to be interested in. For example, let’s say you’re into consumer electronics and you happen to stray into the 5 mile radius of a Best Buy store. You receive an alert notifying you that the nearest store is 2.7 miles northeast of your present location. You’re also advised that if you present the e-coupon (that magically appears on your smartphone) at the checkout counter, you’ll receive a $25 iTunes card with your purchase of $50 or more. Remember, these are opt-in alerts that are tailored to your particular needs and desires. Let’s consider innovative ways in which the corporate traveler could benefit from this technology.

You’re at O’Hare with a couple of hours to kill before departure time. By interacting with your smartphone, the airline realizes that you’re one of their top-tier frequent flyers who is currently not enrolled in their airport lounge program. Due to the fact that the lounge is presently only 25% occupied, you receive a free day-pass e-coupon, along with a discounted membership offer to join their club.

Here’s another possibility… you arrive in San Francisco and you approach the baggage claim area. Before you hail an expensive cab, your app informs to you that a company-approved black car service is available to you by pressing “click to call”. Guess what? A safer option for the traveler and more cost-effective option for the corporation’s T&E spend.

Can you think of any other location-based apps that would ultimately benefit both the traveler and a company’s travel program? If so, please share your thoughts by posting your comments below.

~ Theo Szymanski

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