On September 9th Apple released the much-anticipated Apple Watch. If wearable technology becomes mainstream, it certainly has implications for business travel. The concept of smartwatches may not be new, but the fanfare surrounding Apple’s recent release certainly has the ability to launch the wearable technology industry to new heights.
The watch has the possibility to transform both personal life and the business travel experience. Like many of Apple’s products, its success will depend on the products’ integration with everyday life and the versatility of the applications built for it. Today, nearly four in 10 travelers can “see the benefit of using wearables when they are traveling” according to Henry H. Harteveldt (travel industry analyst).
Similarly to the iPhone and iPad, the Apple Watch is application friendly. Airlines including Vueling, Iberia, and Air Berlin have introduced smartwatch boarding passes. Travelers can swipe their watch rather than carrying a paper ticket or getting their phone out.
A Travel Agent on Your Wrist
Future Travel Experience predicts that airports will take Apple Watch’s potential even further. Apple’s iBeacons could be used to send notifications about departure gates, flight times, and other important travel information directly to passengers’ wrists. How convenient is that?
The Apple Watch and Hotels
Not only will flying be more convenient, but hotel chains such as Starwood, Sheraton, W Hotels, and Westin are developing apps that will allow travelers to unlock their hotel rooms from their wrist. As someone who often loses her hotel keys in the bottom of bags, this has the possibility to save a lot of time and stress. Similarly, partnerships with companies like BMW will allow me to find my parked car.
Although I love the convenience of both airline and hotel applications, I think the most useful feature of the Apple watch is it’s new touch technology. Using small censors in the back of the watch, Apple Watch is able to guide you to your destination for your next business meeting in an unfamiliar city. It’s accurate to the millisecond, and resets to any new time zone ensuring that you are never late…at least not because of the watch!
Equally convenient is the Apple Pay functionality, allowing employees to pay for their coffee on the road with their phone and push line items to an expense report automatically.
The downside? Like all technology, the Apple Watch still needs to be charged. The watch also comes with a hefty price tag, starting at $349 and running up to $1,200.
Nevertheless, if the Apple Watch really does everything it's predicted to do, then I give it two big Rocketrip thumbs up.