Travelers have become dependent on geolocation, receiving location-specific information and recommendations on the go. The GPS technology has saved travelers and wanderers countless times since it arrived many years ago. It makes itself most at home on our phones, taking them from slim to smart (remember the Razr?).

Initially, it was great for finding your way around in a new place. Now, geolocation services have the potential to revolutionize the way we live, consume information, discover new things, communicate with consumer brands, and manage business and personal affairs.

Today, forward-thinking corporations, travel management companies (TMCs) and travel providers are taking a more active approach to geolocation. Airlines, hotels, restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and tourist destinations are giving customers location-specific information, as well as incentives to attract and manage business travelers. That’s right, Minority Report is here.


Geo-what have you done for me lately?

Thankfully, it’s not as dystopian as it sounds.

Geolocation is actually serving to improve the lives of its millions of users who are often completely unaware of what is happening. Destinations, from Jacksonville to Dubai to the Elvis mecca known as Graceland, use GPS-enabled apps to send pop-up ads to nearby travelers. These messages alert them to special events and offer discounts on restaurants, bars and tourist attractions.

Hotels, too, employ geolocation apps to fill up empty rooms with last-minute travelers. Apps like HotelTonight notify travelers about discounted rooms nearby. Once checked in, travelers can access other GPS-powered apps to decide where to eat, what to buy and which trending new musical to see. Some hotels even track their guests’ distance from the hotel to send pertinent information, such as their room number, check-in procedure and more.

GPS-enabled apps are best for small-ticket items — especially impulse or necessary purchases


Targeting users with location-appropriate information

Different types of destinations vary in their approach to geolocation. Quiet, get-away-from-it-all locations like Destin, Florida, where the big draw is the beach, may want to ping travelers with weather and fishing information rather than lots of entertainment options.

For business travelers in the APAC and North American regions, travel alerts are one of their utmost concerns because of weather delays. But for a trip to Las Vegas, discounts on shows, hotel rooms and restaurant meals cut through the clutter in a crowded market.

All-inclusive resorts such as Disney Parks likely want to concentrate on providing good information about park attractions and dinner shows, etc. But in history-rich localities like the French Quarter in New Orleans, GPS-powered audio walking tours, insight into local cuisine and schedules for musical performances would be better suited.

Geolocation apps can provide visitors — whether there for leisure or business — with real-time information about what’s open, what’s playing, where to stay and what to do. Also, they can be used to keep conference attendees on schedule for breakout sessions, track expenses and push compliance information.

TMCs recognize the value of third-party platforms. One of the biggest takeaways from the GBTA conference this year was the importance of duty of care. Geolocation devices offer a way to keep track of and in touch with employees, whether in far off or domestic locations.

To read more about the advantages of geolocation from the TMC perspective, read our blog on managing corporate travel risk in today’s environment.