Travel Firms App Into New Opportunities With Apple Watch

The advent of the much-publicised Apple Watch has caused a stir among travel-related organisations. What does the launch of the smartwatch mean for travel firms and are you ready for wearable technologies?

Launched last week to much fanfare, the Apple Watch will be available in nine locations from 24 April - the US, Canada, China, the UK, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, France and Australia.

With research having shown that mobile is especially relevant to travellers, who are increasingly reliant on user-friendly apps these days, the arrival of this new, high-tech tool has prompted travel-related companies to develop Apple Watch-enabled apps, says Travel Pulse.

Companies that are gearing up for the arrival of the wearable device include Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International, Accor, Expedia, American Airlines, easyJet, TripAdvisor, Uber and Instagram.

Starwood guests who are members of the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty programme will be able to check in and access their room through their Apple device (this will be rolled out to W Hotels in the spring).

Meanwhile, Marriott guests will be able to check in, receive an alert and check out with the smartwatch, and from this summer will be able to pay with their Apple wearable in 11 hotels, including The Ritz-Carlton in Washington D.C., the EDITION in Miami and The Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel.

The Accorhotels app will go a step further. Guests will be able to receive alerts and booking information, find out about hotel services and local information, as well as access Le Club loyalty programme membership details.

Expedia customers will be able to receive notifications through the device, allowing them to check flight status, gate changes, hotel check-in and checkout and other essential travel information. They'll also have access to itineraries, detailed flight and hotel information and useful phone numbers.

A spokesperson for the firm told Travel Pulse: "This is just the beginning in how Apple Watch will enable Expedia to innovate the way people travel."

Travellers flying with American Airlines will have an easier journey as they'll be able to check in to their flight and check flight status, view how far away their gate is and use the app in a range of ways to make their trip easier.

And easyJet travellers who own an Apple Watch can use the airline's app to gain a Passbook boarding pass, real-time flight information, local currency exchange rates, weather updates and other information. The app will also allow passengers to tweet and post Facebook updates via their watch.

Not to be left out, social media platforms including Instagram - which is extremely popular among travellers - will also be available through the watch. Others include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and WeChat, a cross-platform messaging and photo sharing service.

Likewise, TripAdvisor and transportation service Uber will also be available via the smart device.

A wide variety of travel-related firms are joining the Apple-hosted high-tech party. Can you afford not to?