If you are a frequent traveler, you probably have a tried-and-true routine.  You know just the right amount of clothes to pack to limit baggage, squeezing the most you can in your carry-on so that the overhead bin can still shut, you wear clothes that limit getting nearly completely undressed to enter the security checkpoint, and you go to great lengths to either board early or ask for the exit row to get a little more leg room (although you can avoid the last strategy entirely if you travel business class).

Mobile apps make it easier

What I find when I travel is that the little things add up. It’s not just about saving steps, but securing peace of mind.  Next time you are running to the gate think to yourself, did I do everything to minimize my time to the terminal?

A few airport enhancements and mobile technologies can help travelers save time.  Utilizing a mobile-optimized airline application can allow you to search for earlier flights (saved me an hour and a half by identifying an earlier flight in route to the airport from the cab), eliminate the need to print out your boarding pass from the airport (saving another five minutes), locate your terminal using a GPS enabled on device map, use the TSA PreCheck to save ten minutes checking in. If you’re riding in a mobile friendly taxi, they can swipe my credit card and email my receipt within seconds  (5 more minutes saved).

What does that equate to?  I have to lug my precisely packed bags through the airport for 20 less minutes less, and I can be home an hour and a half earlier thanks to the application that I have on my smartphone.

Building brand loyalty on-the-go

It’s a given for me that the infusion of mobile technology in this example is a time and anxiety saver, but it offers a terrific benefit to the airline too: it builds brand loyalty.  When I consider my airline, I do think of the small things: legroom, on time arrival, charges for bags, etc.  What has moved quickly to the top of my list, as the ultimate differentiator is “do they have a good mobile application?”  If you travel enough you know what I mean, you can request near real updates, can check your frequent flyer balance, and with the tap of a few quick screens, you can generate a mobile boarding pass providing you one less item to carry.

And so when I see an airline that has a very friendly mobile application, they have gained brand loyalty in the palm of my hand. This principle can be applied across industries, using technology to remove small steps from the process, adding up to one big happy customer.

So I ask you to look at your industry and something you do on a daily basis and ask “how does (or could) mobile technology save you and your customers effort, resources, stress?”  You might be amazed at the many ways mobile technology is infiltrating the masses and impacting it in a great way.

What are your favorite travel-friendly mobile applications? What situations could be improved by a mobile app?