Wandermelon got an up close and personal view of some of the hottest new programs and platforms making waves in high-tech travel at the influential PhocusWright conference, held last week in Hollywood. Instead of ogling stars, attendees (mostly travel industry insiders such as analysts, travel suppliers, destination experts, entrepreneurs, bloggers, the Google Travel team) got a red carpet view of innovations that will change the way we travel forever. Below are a few we feel really deserve the star treatment.
Socialight is a highly cool mobile application that combines Google maps with social networking capabilities to create a powerful guidebook essentially written by your friends and social network buddies. Using GPS geo-location technology, Socialight creates a place-based guide that helps you find the things you are interested in when you are near them. Using virtual “sticky notes”, Socialight members tag favorite places that are then inserted into a Google map. So, if you happen to be riding your beach cruiser on the bike path in Santa Monica, just whip out your mobile phone and open your Socialight application to find out which of the beach stands you’re passing has the best smoothies. Looking for the coolest shoe store while strolling in Brooklyn—same deal. And ditto for the manga stand in Kyoto. We think it’s all very tasty.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a personal travel assistant who could assemble all of your emails and various e-effluvia into one comprehensive itinerary? Consider it done. Tripit is a hugely promising application that takes all of your itinerary elements from multiple sources: a rail line, hotel company, bus service etc., and compiles them into one orderly itinerary that the most ardent A-type would approve of. What makes it even better is you can share the newly created itinerary with friends and colleagues and access it anywhere from your laptop or mobile device.
Travel Channel Go is a convincing mobile platform that takes the wealth of content that the Travel Channel has amassed in its vaults and puts it into a highly useful mobile template. Go features a blog, video content from Travel Channel shows, location-based information on topics such as restaurants, shops and activities, and advanced functionalities like turn-by-turn directions (much like the one you rely on in your car) that will now help you find that gallery while walking Paris. The conclusion we’ve drawn is that when it comes to travel, mobile is good to go.