Marriott hotels go for Mobile Check-in

marriot_check-inThe idea of checking into your hotel via smartphone is no smashing news to the travel market. Nevertheless, good realizations are rare to find. A good approach is the app of  hotel group Marriott , which enables users to easily and quickly check into their hotel room before they have even entered the lobby.

Marriott Reward members can check-in mobile from the afternoon of the day before their arrival. Therefore, users will receive a push message on their mobile device. Subsequently, guests inform the hotel via mobile device what time they expect to arrive. As soon as the room is ready another push notification will be sent. On arrival at the hotel the keycard for the room can conveniently be picked up at a special mobile desktop. Thus, users of the app avoid long waiting queues for check-in at the hotel lobby.
Until today the feature is available for 31 Marriott hotels in the United States and Canada. 294 hotels are planned to follow within this summer.

We think the Marriot Mobile app mobile check-in is a smart approach and wonder when other hotels will follow the practice.

The Mobile Marriott App is available for iPhone and Android devices.



Mobile Travel App Guide goes into the third round

Right in time for the ITB Berlin 2013 the third edition of the Mobile Travel App Guide – Edition 2013 powered by ITB will be published. The catalog provides an overview of selected mobile applications in the international travel industry. As in the previous years  there will be an iPad  as well as  print version. 

MTAG_PR_2013The close look at mobile applications in tourism revealed new bias. Last-Minute or Same-Day Hotel bookings represent the overall trend of short-term bookings especially within the Hotel segment. The pioneering app Hotel Tonight started its service already in December 2010. Since then a bunch of copy cats have entered the market. The development in technology, especially the smartphone with its geolocation capability paved the way for last-minute booking apps. Therefore, Same-Day Hotel booking apps got an own category in the Mobile Travel Guide. The second new category in this year`s edition is Flight Tracking, which summarizes apps that radar the air traffic.

Where can you get your personal copy of the Mobile Travel App Guide – Edition 2013 powered by ITB? If you attend this year`s ITB Berlin just come by the booth of mvolution (hall 7.1C, 106) and get your personal copy. If you cannot make it to the event, get the iPad version or download the technolog guide from the ITB Library.

Since 2011 the Mobile Travel App Guide has been released at the ITB Berlin. The catalog has made a name for itself among decision makers in tourism and business travel industry.

mTourismuscamp 2012: Explore the traveller of tomorrow

What does local and social mean to mobile in tourism? Is the printed travel guide dead? How does roaming influence mobile travel apps? What are the requirements of the traveller of the future? Does every destination need a mobile website?


Those are just some question that were raised and discussed at the mTourismuscamp 2012 last week in Hannover, which was organized by Tourismuszukunft and TUI.  With 54 registered attendees it was a rather small barcamp. However, the composition of participants was heterogeneous, although (creative and travel) agencies were in superior number.

543860_10151373371664874_741442055_nAs characteristic of a barcamp the sessions were defined and scheduled in the very morning of the event. The session topics varied from technical discussions about html5 and responsive webdesign over the concept of second screen to chances and challenges of Google Now and Passbook for tourism . The most frequented sessions focused the interdependance of Location Based Services and social networks, the usage of QR codes  as well as gamification approaches in tourism.

Here are some of the main statements of the sessions:
–  Travelling becomes constantly individualized because of usage of mobile  technology
– Requirements of the users should be focused when developing a mobile strategy.
– Print is not dead despite digitalization of travel guides.
– Mobile travel apps should offer offline content.
– Roaming costs does not prevent from using mobile websites while travelling anymore, but network coverage.
– QR codes provide touch points between destination and user and help to transfer content offline to online.

Due to the superior number of agencies and academic participants mainly concepts and trends were talked about rather than practice examples analyzed. However, according to the feedback all attendees went home with a lot of inspiration and new ideas. I am looking forward to the next mTourismcamp in 2013!

Marco Polo gets multimedia

Since the beginning of smartphones and tablet PCs, classic travel guides have faced a hard time to keep market shares. Thus, several digital products have been published. Some publishing houses just digitalized the printed version; others have invented new creative ways to present their content to the traveling audience. One example is publishing house Mairdumont. Beside the travel guide apps for countries and cities, it recently launched the travelmagazine that shall be published monthly. The free app is a library where users can store all issues of the magazine. Available languages are German and English.

The magazine covers a wide range of different topics all around the world of travel: From luxury hotel check to backpacker experience and insider tips. The content is provided in English and German. High resolution photography seems to be the focus of the design. To navigate through the app readers need to get used to, since it is more than simply paging forward. For information in an article the user either clicks the “plus”-button or wipes downwards to read the full article. Additionally to the written articles, videos and slide films offer multimedia experience.

The format seems to get well-received: The first edition was downloaded more than 60.000 times and a couple of days on the highest rank of the travel iPad apps in the German App Store. Marco Polos travelmagazine is a multi-platform approach: The app is available for iPad, Android as well as Windows 8 and Android tablets. You don’t have a tablet? No problem: A reader for all others devices based on html 5 is in progress.

Editor-in chief Joachim Negwer announces in the editorial of the first edition more interactive elements for the future, i.e. embedding Social Media. The refreshing new magazine seems to be an interesting approach for travel publishing houses to keep the mobile audience. I am looking forward to the next issue!

Click here to watch a video about the Marco Polo travelmagazine.

Read the Marco Polo travelmagazine in the web here!

Get the app for your tablet here:

Mobile in Tourism – mtourismuscamp 2012

No matter if  app or website – mobile solutions is one of the hot topics in tourism industry today. To exchange and discuss trends and chances of mobile services in travel industry the second mTourismuscamp will take place in Hannover on 12th December 2012. The barcamp (user-generated unconference) is organized by Tourismuszukunft and TUI Mobile Services.

Are you working in the travel industry, developing mobile software or just curious about the topic? Do you wanna attend  to the mTourismuscamp, too? Just click here to register! There are still some last places available.

We are looking forward to interesting people and exciting discussions!
Of course we will keep you informed about the event.

All editions of Mobile Travel App Guide in one app

You do not have a version of the Mobile Travel App Guide Edition 2012 – powered by ITB yet? Then we got good news for tablet owners:  Now the technology guide is worldwide available as iPad app. Unlike last year`s app, the new one is a library, where all editions of the guide can be purchased in-app. The optimized version of 2011 can even be downloaded for free.

If you prefer the paper version you can get the book here.

You want to be part of the next version of the Mobile Travel App Catalog? Contact us!

Publisher mo`media combines print and mobile travel guides

Are mobile apps the death of printed travel guides? The Dutch publisher mo’media answers the question with no and combines print and mobile in its ”100% Cityguides” . The travel guides already have the biggest market share in the Netherlands and are now available in German, too. For €9.99 one can choose between one of twelve different cityguides in bookstores and online.  Every book provides a code to access to the mobile content. 

The idea is to get the benefit from both, mobile and print. Users can read the book  i.e.  at home or in the hotel  to prepare their trip and use the app while being on the road. The app includes all content provided in the printed version. Additionally, added value i.e. making a reservation for a restaurant or ordering a drink in the native language with the translation tool  is created. GPS supported maps help users to navigate through a city.

The iPhone app includes all destinations. For a short time the content for the iPhone is available for free. Android users need to download an app for every city and have to pay for it – either by using the code in a printed guide or by in-app purchase. There is no tablet version yet. We think the combination of book and app is an interesting approach for publishing houses of travel guides to deal with the mobile challenge.

100% City Guides in German are momentarily available for twelve cities: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg, Istanbul, London, New York, Paris, Prague, Rome, Venedig and Vienna. More cities will follow successively. Additionally, print and mobile language guides are planned. Read more about German 100% City Guides in an interview with mo`media director René Bego here.


Viator expands its mobile service in German

Finally there is a mobile solution for Viator`s service in German. The tour and activity provider recently launched its mobile website in three European languages: German (, Spanish ( and French ( The mobile website, which is fully optimized for all smartphone devices, offers its users:

•    Research of Viator’s 9,000 activities in more than 150 countries
•    Access to more than 330,000 traveler reviews and photos
•    Latest availability and pricing, even at the last minute
•    Click to Book with confirmation and voucher delivery via email
•    Call to Book with a Viator agent with flexible email or fax confirmation and voucher delivery, ideal for in-destination bookings
•    Check-in for activities with paperless e-vouchers

Whether before a trip or last minute with location based search, users of the mobile website easily find and book an activity from Viator`s portfolio within a few clicks.
Nevertheless, the mobile website exemplifies that transferring a service from one language into another is not as trivial as it may seem. Thus, reading the reviews at the user has to struggle with machine-translated texts. Conversely, some of the activity descriptions are only available in English.

Viator`s newly launched mobile website for German users complements its web presence. Additionally, the Australian provider offers mobile solutions for iPhone and iPod touch as well as for iPad users. Those apps are only available in English. Read more about the functions of the “Viator Tours & Activities”app in the Mobile Travel App Guide Edition 2012 powered by ITB.

Presenting the second edition of the Mobile Travel App Guide at ITB Berlin 2012

Get a copy of the “Mobile Travel App Guide Edition 2012 powered by ITB” at the booth of mvolution (Hall 7.1C, 104) at the ITB Berlin 2012!

Smartphones go mainstream with market penetration surpassing 29% globally in the third quarter of 2011. This figure varies from nearly 65% in the USA and over 50% in Europe to 19% in Asia-Pacific. With the increasing public awareness thereof, end users (including travellers) have been quick to embrace mobile applications (apps). The massive growth of companies leveraging apps to capture the benefits of mobile technology shows that Mobile is a must have customer acquisition, retention and communication channel.

In February 2011 the German Apple App Store accounted for about 300.000 apps including 18.324 travel apps (category Travel). This year there are 553.323 apps and 26.326 travel apps (category travel) representing a market share of 4,76% of all apps available (29,85% in Games category). Paid apps account for 60% and 40% are free travel apps.

To provide an overview of mobile solutions in the travel industry, the first edition of the Mobile Travel App Guide was published at last year’s  ITB Berlin. The book was a big success. For ITB Berlin 2012 we worked on an expanded edition with 25 categories and more than 120 analyzed apps. Besides at the ITB 2012, the technology guide will be available in bookstores and online (publisher: Alabasta 2000). In cooperation with the ITB the book will be part of the ITB Library.

How to get into Top 10 ranking in App Store

Right now HRS ranks no 3 in the category Travel and 131 overall in the German App Store. How do they get there? First, the brand is well known in Germany so people search for the key word. Second, the app is quite good.

Third, HRS heavily invests in Marketing. They have launched a campaign at Apple iAd service leading the user dircectly to the App Store. More interestingly in September 2011 the hotel portal launched a hybrid campaign with QR codes and Bluetooth technique in main stations and central locations of several German cities as well as in the business terminal of Düsseldorf airport.

Users could download the app directly on their smartphone from digital screens or city light posters. If someone did not use one of the fourteen platforms that the portal offers its service for, a bookmark to the mobile website was delivered. The download was enabled via QR code and Bluetooth. That way i.e. travellers could easily get access to the mobile service  of  HRS while they were waiting for their plane or train.
The campaign was organized by Blue Cell Networks, which already covered Düsseldorf Airport with download stations for Bluetooth marketing (we reported about in April this year).  HRS is the first company that uses both Performance Media Networks “iCLP” and “iAir”.

The essence of this article is, that Mobile Marketing helps a lot to drive downloads of your app. It certainly doesn’t say anything about the actual usage. However, HRS reports it will gain 20% of all its bookings from the mobile channel in the next 3 years.


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