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A travel application for BlackBerry smartphones

GuestLogix launches OnTouch Concierge

GuestLogix, Inc. has become the first company to integrate smartphone usage with onboard retailing with the upcoming release of its latest platform offering, the OnTouch™ Concierge mobile application for BlackBerry smartphones.

The mobile application enables airlines to provide their customers with access to their branded onboard stores, wherever they are, through their smartphones. GuestLogix’ new application makes travel more convenient and enjoyable, as well as provides more opportunities for carriers to grow ancillary revenues.

"This is a pivotal time for the air travel industry as carriers are seeking new ways to interact consistently with their corporate and leisure customers through all travel touch points in the travel continuum," said Mr. Brett Proud, Executive Vice President New Markets and Products at GuestLogix. "Our BlackBerry smartphone application changes the air travel paradigm by enabling travellers with access to the airlines’ onboard stores at any time. By staying better connected with their passengers throughout the entire journey, airlines can establish new and meaningful ways to support their customers, invigorate their brand loyalty, and sustain ancillary revenue growth."

Making the Onboard Store Mobile
GuestLogix’ onboard store technology and merchandising platform provides passengers with the ability to purchase onboard travel-relevant, destination based products and services that can be consumed in-flight or fulfilled elsewhere to enhance any itinerary. To access the airline’s branded onboard store, travellers simply select the airline name, flight number and date on their BlackBerry smartphone, to view a list of available products and services specific to the destination for the passenger’s upcoming trip.

Products and services made available for purchase on the chosen airline’s Branded Onboard Store can include transportation to and from the airport; local entertainment and attractions; catalogue sales with convenient delivery; inexpensive communication options to stay connected; other destination offerings; and, of course, items consumed or used onboard such as meals, snacks, beverages, in-flight entertainment, and comfort items. Central to the BlackBerry smartphone application is the Travel Buddy Local Destination Guide, which is supported by live researchers who continuously review and update local listings and recommendations pertinent to the scheduled trip.

OnTouch Currency
Today, onboard retailing is still primarily an offline transaction environment with a lot of opportunity for fraud and risk. Managing cash and inventory has always been problematic. In mitigating losses, this has led to inconsistencies from airline to airline as to accepted onboard payment methods, with some operators rejecting the use of cash altogether. Airlines have also resorted to maintaining credit card black lists and capping the value of onboard purchases, leading to missed sales opportunities. GuestLogix has essentially removed these barriers with its unique OnTouch Currency included in the OnTouch Concierge mobile application.

Before flying, travellers are provided the option of loading currency into their application by accessing an internet payment service, obtaining a credit card pre-authorization, using their financial institution, and/or visiting an airport currency exchange operator. Travellers can then select OnTouch Currency as the method of payment to pay for items onboard, which can be accepted by GuestLogix’ onboard point-of-sale (POS) handhelds. OnTouch Concierge monitors the availability of sufficient funds for every purchase.

BlackBerry Smartphone Integration with GuestLogix Onboard Retail Platform
Flight attendants use the GuestLogix POS handhelds to accept the OnTouch Currency. The POS device automatically displays the transaction information on its screen. A receipt is printed and the flight attendants deliver the purchased product to the customer, without them ever having to leave their seat. If the item is to be fulfilled elsewhere a voucher is printed to retrieve the purchased item at a later date. The complete transaction process, from the time an item is selected via the BlackBerry smartphone, purchased, and fulfilled onboard during flight or elsewhere, has been managed end to end to the latest PCI security standards.

"Travellers today can use their BlackBerry smartphone to book their tickets, track their flights, hold their boarding pass and much more, but GuestLogix is now adding a whole new dimension," said Tyler Lessard, VP Global Alliances & Developer Relations at Research In Motion. "OnTouch Concierge allows travelers to easily transact with the airline’s Branded Onboard Store to purchase a variety of goods and services including meals, movies, ground transportation, theatre tickets and gifts."

U.S. airlines alone achieved more than US $7.8 billion in ancillary revenues last year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Estimates suggest that ancillary revenues may contribute up to 35% of airline revenues in the near future. Today’s ancillary growth has been largely facilitated by baggage fees, tomorrow’s growth will be driven by proximity to point of sale and compelling experience through all channels that support and integrate with air travel. With the number of travellers using smartphones growing rapidly – more than 98.4 million (non-unique) travellers are currently using the handsets onboard U.S-bound flights annually – the opportunity for making the onboard store mobile is significant.

The advantages for consumers are easy to see: the application offers a convenient way to enhance their travel experience, from the safety and security of their own BlackBerry smartphone. For airlines, OnTouch Concierge ensures that airlines are paid for all offline onboard transactions that they capture, eliminates capping the value of onboard purchases and it ensures that its passengers have a positive and consistent in-flight experience, which will greatly increase consumer loyalty.

Availability
Travellers can obtain the OnTouch Concierge application for BlackBerry smartphones by registering using an airline’s website, an airport kiosk, or on BlackBerry App World.

The application is being released for private testing to airline customers in Q1 2011 with general release slated for early Q2 2011.

Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website | + Posts

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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