En español | For several years now, the Internet has been the cutting-edge way to plan and book travel — if you are at your desk. But now many of us, especially business travelers, turn to our mobile devices to arrange nearly every aspect of our trips.
According to Mobile Travel Booking, a company that helps the travel industry use mobile booking, there are currently about 4 billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide, and this is expected to jump to 6 billion by 2013. The Wall Street Journal predicts that, by the end of 2012, 15 percent of all travel bookings will be made with mobile phones. Some experts are even saying that mobile booking will surpass Internet booking by 2014, as has already happened in some Asian countries.
With a few apps (most of them free) downloaded into a smartphone (such as BlackBerry, Android or Apple iPhone) or an Apple iPod or iPad, you can research destination restaurants and sights, reserve a hotel room, book a flight, and rent a car. That said, mobile booking tools still aren’t as advanced as those on websites. Here are a few pros and cons to mobile booking.
Pro No. 1: Saving time and money
To make them easy to use, load quickly and be legible on a small screen, mobile apps generally have only the most essential information. Hence, with just a couple of point-and-touch moves, you’re booked. Because business travelers frequently book at the last minute, many hotels have added “deals” to their mobile apps that allow, say, same-day booking at substantial savings. Some hotels even have express check-in for guests who book via mobile phones. Renting a car gets you the company’s online/app rate rather than the more expensive walk-in rate.
Pro No. 2: Having greater freedom and flexibility
You can research and book things anytime, anywhere. You don’t have to be at your home computer or schlep your laptop around. Plus, the GPS in your smartphone knows your location, so you can readily find nearby restaurants, hotels and activities. In addition, there are plenty of apps that provide real-time travel information. Most airline apps, for instance, will instantly notify you if the plane is delayed, so you can change your plans accordingly. Even the TSA offers an app with wait times, security tips and more.
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