Travelling has become an increasingly mobile experience (pun very much intended) and the travel industry has been trying to keep up with the demanding needs of their users.
Travellers browse on-the-go for their next destination, and once they are at the place of interest, they need apps that help them find locations for staying, eating and sightseeing. Gone are the days when people used to carry around maps and Lonely planet books. Today as long as you have your trusty smartphones or tablets, you have all the information you need at your fingertips.
The issue that most travellers face when using most apps available today is that they require either connectivity or data roaming to access the app itself. These criterias may not be easily fulfilled and if you are lucky to have connection, waiting for the pages to load itself can drive you crazy! Also you can imagine the bill if you data roamed as you travelled?
TripAdvisor to the rescue
In October, TripAdvisor the world’s largest travel site launched their free, fully-native app, TripAdvisor, for iPhone and Android users and it comes in pre-loaded on Samsung S4 and Note 3. According to Andreas Behrens, Director of Mobile Partnerships in APAC , one of the key motivations towards developing a native app was to “offer a smoother user experience” as users navigated the app.
Book hotels, browse destinations on the go
In the past they had relied on mobile web version of their site; while this might have sufficed, the team was determined to enhance the traveller’s experiences so that any information that they required could be retrieved easily.
The new improved native app provides users with faster experience, compare hotel bookings with the Hotel price comparison feature with latest hotel prices and availability, and dynamic maps functionality that populates accommodations, attractions or restaurants in real time, giving travellers the option to browse and seamlessly toggle between a list function and a synchronized map view.With features like ‘Point me there’ and ‘trip journal’, TripAdvisor is pushing the limits of mobile innovations using GPS and social technologies to help travellers have the best travel experience.
Over 69 million travellers have downloaded various versions of TripAdvisor apps and their apps are downloaded at a rate of 28 times per minute. Since TripAdvisor works by allowing users to submit their reviews of the places they have been to, this means that the more users are using the apps, the more information you can find. There is information about almost every place in this planet, even trips to Antarctica can be researched on TripAdvisor with information that is updated in real-time. The free apps are available in 20 languages and can be downloaded to major platforms including iOS, Android, iPad/Tablet, Nokia, and windows.
Compare hotels and book on the go
TripAdvisor has also released a newly designed tablet app exclusively for the iPad that has been primed for the dimensions of a tablet with integrated metasearch and dynamic maps functionality as well as a finger-friendly touch interface with inspirational travel planning features.
Tablet view for TripAdvisor
City Guides, another app developed by TripAdvisor is a gem for travellers! It offers information about cities that can be used offline; they can now access detailed destination information including traveller reviews and opinions on hotels, restaurants and attractions, suggested itineraries and interactive walking tours. You don’t even have to worry that the information being outdated because the city guides are automatically synced with the latest TripAdvisor content available so you can receive the latest reviews on the go. Just download the app before you leave for your destination, and spare yourself the pain of expensive roaming charges!
What makes TripAdvisor so easy and fun to use is that it offers comprehensive information for the entire cycle of your travel trip; from figuring out where you want to go, booking plane tickets, hotels and even checking out itineraries on the go, TripAdvisor covers your every need. So as users, you are offered trusted advise from real travellers and a wide of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools.
Check out some of their other interesting apps; SeatGuru that provides users with information about their flights, seats on the plane with user-uploaded photos of seats and cabins,(if you are like me and try to avoid booking seats near children on the plane this app is priceless) and GateGuru that allows you to check out amenities of an airport while you wait around during a stop over and combined with weather forecasts, estimated security wait times and real time flight status information, it takes the stress and boredom out of layovers.
Some Inspirations for your travel plans
2014 is going to be a great year for those who loves long weekends! According to the data collected by TripAdvisor, the top 3 Destinations outside of Asia that Singaporeans book is to Paris, London and Sydney , and Top 3 destinations in Asia are Bangkok, Taipei, Hong kong (Sentosa actually ranked at spot 9!). If you are of a more adventurous spirit, check out the Top 3 destinations on the Rise among global travellers, Havana (Cuba), La Fortuna de San Carlos (Costa Rica) and Kathmandu (Nepal).
After having met the team at TripAdvisor, I feel the reason that travellers have embraced the TripAdvisor site and apps is because these are products built for travellers by travellers. Their love for travel is evident in their office, with inspirations taken from all over the world, and walls decorated with decals and photos from their very own travels.
Rooms are named after places and the telephone boxes look like the ones in England
The owl ‘Ollie’s’ eyes represent: “red” for stop here for info, “green” now go have fun!
I really look forward to further updates from TripAdvisor be it for their sites or apps;TripAdvisor’s CEO Steve Kaufer, has always believed in helping travellers around the world plan and have the perfect trip and I believe that these products do help users to travel to their dream destinations hazzle-free.
Article written with contribution from Nicholas Ang.
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