Android Travel Apps for Business Travellers

As a global business executive, I know first hand the demands of travel. I spent more than 120 days out of the year on the road, and have supported the traveling workforces of clients every day. So how do I stay connected? Here are my thoughts on the best apps for Android smart phones – a critical tool for helping me stay in touch and on top of things while traveling.

“Like most people I use my smart phone as both a communications tool and mini computer while traveling or on the road. My Apple iPhone is my primary device, because I like its exhaustive selection of applications. However, for those times when I need to travel with a second handset (to save on data roaming costs or to access local networks), I use my Android OS phone, which also offers a great range of apps.

I am constantly testing and sampling new apps to meet both my own requirements as well as those of our clients. Below is a list of my favorite travel apps – those that I find indispensable to helping me stay engaged even as I cross time zones. I selected them based on three criteria:
1. Provision of knowledge or data that I don’t possess myself
2. Backed up by expertise and a richer web-based content version
3. Ease, speed and functionality of the application version

Here are the key travel applications that I would recommend for Android OS users:

Oanda currency converter

When you travel a lot, or you’re a first-time traveler, it’s important to keep updated on the latest currency conversion rates. I like the Oanda Currency Converter because it’s quick and simple to use for single or multiple trips.

Wi-Fi Finder-Connectivity and communications remain a constant concern to business travelers, even in developing countries. Therefore I like to know of any paid or free Wi-Fi spots within vicinity of my accommodation or current location should I need access information or send receive files. Wi-Fi Finder is a great tool for preplanning and ongoing travel information regarding Wi-Fi hotspots.

Talk To Me Classic-If you’re traveling to locations where you don’t speak or understand the local language or writing, it is vitally important to be able to communicate, even if it’s just the basics. Talk to me gives you the option is to translate your native tongue into a variety of written and spoken languages so you can share and communicate more effectively. This is a great one speaking with hotel staff and taxi drivers.

Places Directory-Whether you’re a first timer or even a frequent traveler, Places Directory can always give you tips and advice and guidance on the nearest ATM, restaurant, entertainment facility or even just shopping. This application is constantly being updated and I find it great to getting my bearings and reducing the amount of time I spend wasted looking to somewhere eat in the life while traveling.

Call Log Calendar-Easily track phone calls and conversations when you’re on the road or focused on other business tasks. This application enables you to export all of your phone log information into your calendar so you can keep track of times dates, conversations for follow-up, or even info for billing purposes.

Resorts 360 Vacation Club Scam Complaints

Another multi-level marketing (MLM) program has launched. It’s called the Resorts 360 Vacation club and bloggers were quick to label it a possible scam. Resorts 360 launches on the heals of major troubles at another travel MLM called YTB Travel, when California Attorney General Edmund Brown sued them for “operating a giant pyramid scheme”.

Travel and tourism generates over $7 trillion a year. It’s not surprising that entrepreneurs working from home want to tap into those profits. Some of the programs have been all-out scams. They’ve charged people thousands of dollars and delivered little or nothing when the actual value of the so-called products was analyzed. Not all home based travel business opportunities are scams, some actually offer retail products with real value in the travel marketplace.

Now that Resorts 360 has launched, many are asking if the program is another MLM scam or a real business. That’s a fair question.

Without a doubt, there are some problems with the Resorts 360 Vacation club, but is it a scam? While the MLM company does deliver an actual product, the Vacation Club membership they sell falls short when compared to the memberships provided by competitors in the home based business arena. The Resorts 360 program offers access to fewer resorts and members pay more money for week-long condo vacations than with their competitors. It doesn’t make it a scam, but it does put those hoping to make money marketing Resorts 360 at a disadvantage.

Resorts 360 members get access to about 4000 resorts while one competitor says they have over 5000 and another advertises well over 5400 resorts. Members of the Resorts 360 Vacation Club are offered condo vacation weeks starting at $399. That’s about $100 more than one competitor and $250 more than another. A member taking just two vacation weeks per year can spend an additional $500 a year with the new MLM vacation club. Over a ten year period, that’s $5000 more.

With fewer choices and more expensive vacation weeks, you might think Resorts 360 could, at least, claim a price advantage in the marketplace, but that’s not the case. While their competitors sell memberships with lifetime benefits (100 years}, the longest membership available through Resorts 360 is just one year.

Over a ten year period, vacation club benefits with Resorts 360 would cost $2639 if they are renewed each year at the current price and a whopping $5616 if paid at the current monthly rate. Lifetime memberships with their competition cost $2995 and $1998. That means that for $641 less, consumers can have access to over 1400 more resorts, save $250 each on their lower condo vacation prices, and still have another 90 years of membership benefits to enjoy or sell and transfer to someone else.

Providing an inferior product and charging higher prices does not make the Resorts 360 Vacation Club a scam. Just like with any other purchase, the buyer must beware and compare their options.

While product is product, many people simply buy whatever the product is to get started with a home based travel business and hope to start making money from home. The question is, can those hopeful internet millionaires actually make money with Resorts 360?

Those looking to make money from home should not pay much attention to Resorts 360. Marketing experts say the disadvantages they face with their product will all but eliminate attracting their target retail market of travelers. Their higher prices will definitely not win over those who take the time to shop around. Maximum commissions earned are just $200 compared with both competitors who pay $1000.

Resorts 360 promises residual income as memberships are renewed and payments come in for the monthly programs. That seems very unlikely, however. With other MLM programs that require people to renew, over 95% of the members drop out and don’t renew. That’s because those people joined only to make money and when they don’t see profits, they move on.

As you can imagine, it could be very difficult to actually turn a profit with Resorts 360. It costs about the same marketing money to earn $200 profits as it does to get the $1000 profits. Some sales will be made, but how many marketing dollars will be spent to earn the low commissions? If it costs a member more than $40 to get someone to buy, that could put that member in the red and they can’t plan on making that up on renewals or MLM passive commissions either. A new member will probably have to sign up over 100 people, just to get about five who actively work the business and make some profit.

While Resorts 360 is not an all-out scam, it is obvious that they have painted a much rosier picture than MLM history would suggest. Those looking for a quality vacation club membership will find more benefits and more robust memberships else ware. Those looking for a home based business will also find better options with better vacation clubs and larger commissions. One competitor accepts credit cards for their lifetime membership and even offers payment plans with just $198 to start.

Home Business With Incentive Vacation Certificates

Incentive vacation certificates- also referred to as free travel vouchers- provide an excellent opportunity for both experienced and aspiring entrepreneurs to build a home-based business with little to no investment required. In fact, because the market for these no-cost coupons is still virtually untapped, there exists real potential to achieve significant success by distributing these products. Formal training or education in marketing or sales fields is not needed because any person with a little ambition and part time availability can earn a respectable income distributing free travel vouchers.

Not many people understand what incentive vacation certificates are; let alone that they can be used to start a home-based business. This is because it’s hard for most to imagine why an airline company or hotel would possibly want to give away free tickets or reservations. However, what many don’t realize is that these companies still profit when they give these coupons away: the recipients will still probably buy additional services or upgrades from the airline or buy merchandise and food from the airport. Hotels know that free guests will almost certainly spend money in their gift shops or eateries. Therefore, it makes sense to give these otherwise-unused seats and rooms away instead of earning nothing. After all, the vast majority of seats and reservations go unsold except during peak times.

How do you get free travel vouchers? It’s actually quite simple. Airlines and hotel companies contract with certain outside companies who are permitted to offer these coupons to the public under very specific conditions. These companies in turn offer printing rights to consumers. Buyers can elect between free airfare vouchers, free hotel stays and complete combination packages, although each has different terms and conditions that must be met. Once you buy the printing rights (very inexpensive, typically $10 to $25 for unlimited rights) your name or company information will be printed on the coupons along with a unique code that identifies you to the issuer.

Once you’ve printed some vouchers you can give them away for free or sell them- either way you’ll earn money when your customer redeems. Some people find little value in free things and so marketers actually sell the vouchers to their clients, while other people can’t resist the thought of a free vacation and so redeem certificates in droves. Generally speaking this is a product that is appealing to any demographic, so targeting consumers is relatively easy. Whether you charge for your products or not, you’ll need to market them using one or a combination of the following marketing tactics:

Hospitality and Travel Industry With Mobile Devices in 2017

Lately, the global travel industry has been going through a huge mobile revolution. There are certain constants in several geographies like material differences and customer demands, which are dependent on how hospitality and travel businesses plan to satisfy the demand.

Global travelers, especially the millennials book accommodations and airfare on small screens today.

  • In 2016, 51.8% of travelers who book trips via digital means will do so using a mobile device, according to eMarketer’s latest estimates.

Moreover, the ever increasing shift towards metasearch engines like Yelp and TripAdvisor, is another prevalent practice among holiday goers and corporate travelers.

  • TripAdvisor is travel industry’s most popular mobile app, with more than 230 million downloads and 150 million monthly active users. – eHotelier

The millennial travelers also loves to stay connected on the go, all the time. They are the first one to post reviews and rating about their hotel stay or travel experience, online.

Mobile has for sure become an integral part of the sophisticated multi-channel approach. It is driving B2B and B2C growth across the globe, in the overcrowded and competitive hospitality market. This has given rise to a revolutionary business segment – revenue management solutions for the hospitality and travel technology solutions. The impact of mobile is immense in LATAM as well.

  • Latin America’s travel industry was worth an estimated $60 billion in 2015, and will climb 3-5% for the next five years to reach more than $73.3 billion by 2020, with Mexico and Brazil accounting for more than 70% of the market, according to the latest Phocuswright report.
  • Another study by eMarketer suggests that Mexico will have 44 million smartphone users in 2016.

A question arises here. With the advent of smartphones and devices of choice to access the internet, how are global travel agents responding?

Most consumer-facing businesses have started to go exclusively online. After all, mobile in the travel business, mobile is committed to serve a multi-channel segment. No wonder that hotels, airlines and online travel sites are better optimizing their websites and revenue management strategies for more direct bookings. As a result of this, people are finding a simpler way to book their trips from hand-held devices.

Particularly in the US, sales of travel products and services booked on mobile devices continue to grow, while desktop- and laptop-based sales decline in absolute terms -eMarketer.

Home Based Travel Agent

Many people are unclear about the travel industry. Travel agents are often thought to be the same as real estate agents. Becoming a travel agent or more specifically a home based travel agent is an exciting career change or retirement option. Some people do it full time while many do it as a part time business.

A travel agent books travel for customers and is paid by suppliers a commission on the booking. For bookings that suppliers do not pay a commission on, a travel agent also can charge the client a service fee for his/her time. An example is if you were to book a hotel for a client, the hotel would then send a check to the agency after the client checked out. Most hotels pay 10% of the price of the hotel before taxes and fees. A $100 per night hotel reservation would mean $10 a night for the travel agent who made the booking. This hotel would cost the same whether the customer uses a travel agent or books through the hotel directly. In many cases the travel agent can get a better price. It costs the customer nothing to use the travel agent unless the travel agent charges service fees.

Can anyone do this? In order to work with suppliers, you must have an account set up with the supplier. Most require an agency to hold an IATAN, CLIA or ARC number. IATAN stands for International Airlines Travel Agent Network. CLIA stands for Cruise Lines International Association. ARC stands for Airline Reporting Corporation. Each of these memberships requires different things including sales, money in the bank, experience or training in the industry, and membership fees. Many will require Errors and Omissions insurance of $1,000,000 or more.

For the average travel agent, membership is not a possibility with some organizations so the agent will team up with an agency and work as an independent agent or outside agent. There are also advantages of working with an agency because most travel agents cannot make enough in sales with a particular supplier to obtain higher commission levels and bonuses. Working with an agency with many agents can increase the commission percentages the agent gets because of the joint sales of all the agents at the agency. Support is also a very important aspect of being a successful agent. Agents who do not work with others tend to feel more isolated and have to learn to do it all solo. Since no agent can have the experience of being everywhere in the world or staying at every hotel or resort, having others that you can get advice from is really helpful.

The future of travel agencies is always questioned. The truth is the industry has changed in many ways. Some changes were for the better, some for the worse. Many airlines have cut commissions for travel agents. However, there are many other suppliers who are paying travel agents more than they were ten years ago. Cruises used to be booked by only the rich and now people in every income book cruises. Each year more and more people go on cruises. Most people say they want to go on a cruise at least once and many who go on their first come home to want to book another.

You can earn commission on many travel reservations.

  • Hotels
  • Rental Cars
  • Tour Packages
  • Cruises
  • Some airline tickets
  • International airline tickets
  • Travel insurance
  • Ground transportation including limos
  • Attraction tickets
  • Train tickets

People all need travel arrangements at some point in time. Those who take road trips need hotel reservations. Those who need to travel for business need airline tickets, rental cars, and hotel reservations. Families want to experience vacations with their loved ones. People visit family and relatives. Most people who win money say they are going to spend it to take a nice vacation. Newly married couples go on honeymoons. You are not selling something that is hard to sell. People contact you for help, you are not calling them or approaching them trying to sell them something they don’t want.

Educating the public is the main thing any travel agent must do. Most people put travel agents into the same category as real estate agents. They believe it costs additional to use a travel agent. This is untrue. In many cases a travel agent can get a better price than the general public through the suppliers who work only with travel agents. Many people do not know all the options for booking a vacation. A good travel agent does. Once people are educated on how a travel agent gets paid, they are more willing to work with travel agents. If a person knows that if he or she let you book a hotel and it will cost the same price regardless, she or he will work with you. It is important to let people know how you can help them save time and money on their travel arrangements.

So how do you get into the industry? Many people think they must go to school or become certified. This is not true. You can get into the industry and begin training. I don’t recommend anyone spend thousands on a travel school until he or she knows this is a career that he or she will really want to pursue. The truth is you do not have to spend thousands to get trained. There are many courses free to travel agents from suppliers. There are also organizations such as ICTA (Institute of Certified Travel Agents) who offer courses as you get more years experience in the industry. CLIA also offers courses. There are some agencies that will offer training. Even if you decide this is a career you would like to pursue, you do not need to spend thousands to become an educated and competent travel agent. There are many courses you can take with suppliers and organizations to get a better education in travel. I truly believe a hands’ on approach is the best way to become a better travel agent. Learning to work with suppliers and how to find the information your clients need is an important part of becoming a good travel agent.

How can you find an agency to work with? There are a few organizations dedicated to independent travel agents. NACTA and OSSN are the top organizations. NACTA stands for National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents. OSSN stands for Outside Sales Support Network. You can also search online for home-based travel agent programs. I would never recommend anyone spending a lot of money to start this business. It is key to first try and see if it is something you would really want to do and get training before you invest too much money into it. Get involved in the industry first and see if it is really a career that is best for you.