Travel agents everywhere are carrying a computer in their pocket, but most aren’t taking advantage of everything their smartphone can do.
At the fourth annual Travel MarketPlace conference in Toronto last week, Constant Contact founder Ron Cates shared some insight into apps that he recommends for travel agents to make their life easier and to grow their business.
According to Cates, business apps are the second most popular category after social media apps and while the average person has 26 apps on their iPhone, a lot of them aren’t the right ones.
For agents wanting to dive in, here’s where to get started:
“This is where I keep track of my whole life,” Cates said of Evernote, a free app available across platforms that helps you get organized.
The app keeps notes, scans and saves business cards, captures images and articles from the web, and allows you to share via text or email. It brands itself as a way to “declutter your life.”
Because it’s available on your desktop and across devices, it also serves as a way to store files you want to be able to access while you’re on the go. It also saves and organizes receipts to help stay on top of expenses.
Dropbox, a file hosting service, allows you to save and access files over multiple devices using the same login and password. It also allows you to invite team members to share, edit and access those same files.
“This is how you backup everything on earth,” Cates said. “Any file you have on your computer, Dropbox will back it up.”
While iCloud, another popular file hosting app, seems to be more convenient for many users, Dropbox has a larger capacity and better sharing capability.
Time-strapped travel advisors often let social media go by the wayside – but there’s a way to get it done without having to constantly check in on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Hootsuite allows you to schedule content across platforms, so when you’ve spent time crafting a Tweet and pairing it with a picture, you won’t have to do it again for Facebook and Instagram. All you need to do is highlight which social network you want it to be published on.
Hootsuite “allows you to do everything at once with social,” Cates said. It works everywhere with any web browser with most social media networks.
4. IOS News
For those struggling for content to share on social networks, there’s another time-saving app they should be aware of.
“More than half the content on social is something you found shared, not something you wrote,” Cates said.
IOS News, which comes with iPhones, allows users to set up any category or keyword they want, and source articles and information just about that. It also goes into a lot of detailed niches. That will allow agents to find information on their phones or tablets without struggling, and gives them something to blast out on their social channels.
(Of course you can also blast out stories from TravelMarketReport.com any time – just open a story and click the links down the side of the page!)
Cates said that Alignable, a free small business network with an Android and iPhone app, is “the social networking app for small businesses.”
“This is golden for you. You now become the expert for your postal code on travel and you have all these other business referring you,” he said.
Like an online Chamber of Commerce, Alignable lets you grow your business by generating referrals and recommendations from other businesses in your community, creating a network for each member to grow.