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December 4, 2014

How Wearable Technology Will Change Business Travel

By Esther Hertzfeld

Wearable technology will be the real technology game-changer in 2015 according to UK travel company Thomson. This year saw mobile technology become ‘the norm’ as a way to search and book travel. Twenty-eight percent of all of Thomson and fellow UK travel company First Choice’s online bookings made between January and October 2014 were reportedly on mobile technology (smartphones and tablets), the company reports.

But in 2015, Thomson predicts that the real technology game-changer will be wearable technology, and the TUI Travel operator will be trialling this latest innovation both in the UK and overseas early next year. 

As Hotel Management reported earlier this year, more hotels are developing booking apps for Google Glass, with the Spanish OTA Destinia and the Starwood Hotels & Resorts being two of the first. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the Apple Watch is partnering with Starwood's app to open room doors. Through the Starwood Hotels app, wearers can unlock their hotel door by waving the watch in front of the door. The Apple Watch will also let wearers make mobile payments.

With the launch of the iWatch in early 2015, smart watch apps are poised to significantly enhance all levels of travel, Thomson reports.  At the airport, wearable boarding passes will allow travelers to board their flight with a flick of a wrist, whilst in resort they will be able to access local information, get the latest weather reports and book excursions.

Brand Karma reports that cameras like the GoPros will let destination management companies present digital travel “entertainment” replacing sales brochures and materials. Cheap Flights UK believes that more hotels will strive to differentiate themselves against peer-to-peer lettings sites such as Airbnb with value-added services (concierges, for example) and establish themselves as destinations in their own right with wearable technology options.

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