There’s been a court case involving it, Samsung is already planning a rival and even The Simpsons have mocked it. Google Glass has arrived so expect to see more and more people wearing them. So how can the business travel sector respond to it?
Ok so the travel sector is slowly getting used to the idea of going mobile, so how prepared is it for the next step; Google Glass? A piece of wearable tech you wear like a pair of spectacles, the glass hooks you directly up to the internet. It becomes much easier to access information, watching both cross-platform and multimedia content. Instead of looking down at your screen to fit the information you’re reading with the real world around you you’ll be able to look through it.
Launched in late 2013 Google Glass has the potential to fundamentally shift how consumers interact with their surroundings and how they understand information. Travel providers might think they don’t have to worry yet as few people have bought them, but in fact the principles for getting the best out of what are known as Glass customers is a good strategy for interacting with customers anyway.
First rule is what people can see, even before they arrive. Interacting with a travel brand is largely done online and everyone knows it’s vital that you have as much creative content available on your site. Google Glass makes it easier to watch videos and go on virtual tours of accommodation before making the final choice about what to book. Yet while Glass customers are able to do it more flexibly it is always worth having a transparent approach to help travellers get a glimpse inside the accommodation they are offering. Video is the best way to do that and while it’s a no brainer for those using Google Glass it also benefits the average mobile customer.
What the Google Glass also does is make it easier for the customer to film the accommodation they are staying in. Instant reviews and response via social media has given more power to the consumer and even the biggest brands get into trouble when they don’t respond. Filming what a serviced apartment, for example, looks like on arrival and then uploading it straight to the internet as you can with Google Glass could either bring the wow factor or it could leave you with a bad reputation. Every corner of the accommodation has to be perfect. It has to be clean, tidy and looking welcoming and stylish. Communicating this to the housekeeping team is vital.
Increasingly business travellers have looked to get more out of their accommodation providers, especially when it comes to local attractions. Younger travellers are increasingly keen to be at the heart of the action. Clarendon Serviced Apartments for example has launched a new smartphone app enabling customers to find out about the bars, restaurants and attractions on their doorstep to help them make the most of their visit. Travel providers will need to do more of this for Glass customers to give them a more curated experience and help them to see the real highlights of the location they’re staying in. If customers feel more welcome and have a good visit, thanks to your customer service, they’ll come back.
Many of the ways in which Google Glass will impact on the travel industry focus on behaviours they should already be adopting; understanding that customers have more control and can share their reviews of their travel experience more quickly and easily; providing multimedia experiences helping them to choose the accommodation best suited to their needs; to help them find the best of what’s on offer on their doorstep, virtually. Google Glass reinforces this need and shows that the travel industry needs to bring their approach in to the 21st century if they want to satisfy the 21st century traveller.