Trains, planes, automobiles and the occasional hotel
Posted by Sam Calvert
Online trends writer
October 17th 2011 at 10:00
I travel a lot in my job, in and out of a lot of the BT offices around the country, and spend a lot of time on early morning flights and late night trains, so I think of myself as somewhat of an expert on travelling in the UK.
Of late, I think that I have seen some of the best and worst use of technology and communication in and amongst the companies I regularly purchase from. I’m interested, because I’m in the telco industry, but also because I strive to find anything that makes my travelling just a bit more convenient.
One of the best uses of technology to help me get round is BA’s iPhone app, allowing me to check in on my phone and create a QR code (what’s a QR?) as a boarding pass, without being anywhere near a printer, or even a computer. I’m also a big fan of wi-fi on trains (best place to actually get some uninterrupted work done!), but when will East Coast and Virgin Trains join the 2010s and make it free like Grand Central does? Come on guys – it’s been a good 5 years since cafes and bars charged for wi-fi.
I also think it’s about time the train companies started going paperless on the tickets also. An app to buy from thetrainline.com and have a QR ticket on your smart phone would definitely suit those of us who like to be eco-friendly and ditch the paper. Or using an national version of an Oyster card, or some such technology that allows you to scan in and out without those pesky little orange tickets would go a long way I think – and the train companies save money not having to print tickets out. It’s great news that now London Cabs are trialling contactless credit cards since last year, with a plan to expand across all fleets next year. Certainly saves having to have cash for cabs available all the time.
When I stay at the Marriott they use email (hardly a new technology) to get my invoices to me, which is great as my bag is not filled with paper, but the Premier Inn needs to get with the programme and get my room bills into my inbox, not my suitcase. For a low cost hotel group they could definitely save on printing and stationery costs, which I think would make their low-cost no-frills approach even better.
Booking by SMS
Finally, I think there is opportunity to for hotels to provide SMS booking information, or a QR via sms (on a smartphone) to give you ‘scannable’ check ins so you don’t need to queue for reception – I did see a self-service check in at Premier Inn in Sheffield last time I was there, but I still had to enter some details, which could be improved – even if I just inserted a card.
When you’re on the road a lot, you get used to looking at ways you can maximise downtime, like how late you can get to the airport, where to sit on a train to get the most work done and which hotel rooms are better than others, but I think more opportunity exists in the companies that provide services to workers and leisure travellers alike to make their lives just that little bit easier, and exploit new technologies to help their customers save a just a bit more time for the things that really matter (like your destination, not the means of getting there).
Download our free wi-fi app
All our broadband packages include FREE wi-fi access at over 2.8 million UK hotspots.
Posted by Tim Guest - July 23rd 2012 at 10:30
Posted by BT Life Newsdesk - January 9th 2012 at 10:30
Posted by Ed Kyte - September 12th 2011 at 9:40
Posted by Jacqui Thomas - August 31st 2011 at 10:00
Posted by Sam Calvert - August 11th 2011 at 12:00
More articles by Sam Calvert
Posted by Sam Calvert - March 20th 2013 at 9:00
Posted by Sam Calvert - July 11th 2012 at 9:00
Posted by Sam Calvert - April 10th 2012 at 12:20
Posted by Sam Calvert - February 24th 2012 at 11:27
Posted by Sam Calvert - January 11th 2012 at 10:41
BT is not responsible for any external content or links uploaded by users of the site. Nor does the presence of information or links about other parties' products or services confer any form of endorsement of another party's products or services by BT. Please visit the BT Life user guide for more information.