Coming from Silicon Valley, I’ve always been of the mindset that America is ahead of the curve with both the creation and use of technology applications. My assumption may or may not be correct, but I can say with certainty that I’ve been very impressed with several of the applications I’ve had the opportunity to utilize during my time in Asia. In addition to the availability of advanced applications, the usage and broad range of capabilities have greatly improved my time traveling. I’ve been able to book trips, hotels, transport on the go in even the remotest of locations.
Trip and travel booking in general can be both cumbersome and difficult when utilizing the more traditional methods. Waiting to hear back from agents via phone and even email can be frustrating at times – especially when policies dictate a 24 hour turn around time. Sometimes when you are planning on the fly, you need to make things happen quickly and may not have access to the traditional phone system.
In comes Viber, a leading communication app that allows you to call or text in app any other Viber user at no cost.
David and I are attempting to hop across the world from the most Western side of China’s Silk Road to Egypt. We inquired about a tour to visit some of the sights there and needed to know availability pretty much immediately considering the timing. We submitted a web form, were using live chat on the site and then following a small exchange of information were conversing on Viber.
The agent was brilliant. Knowing that we were in different time zones and that calling rates can be exorbitant, he looked for me on Viber. I hadn’t even told him that I had the app – but since everything is registered with your email address, he took it upon himself to check it out.
From this point – I knew whether a tour was available or not, how to obtain a visa, what it was going to cost and finalized all our plans (including flights) using less than 10 minutes of my time. Best part is the entire conversation is stored in my app – and if I need anything at all I can just continue the conversation where we left off.
This was the smoothest travel interaction of the sort I’ve ever experienced and I’ve traveled a lot. Typically you play phone or email tag over a series of days or weeks – need to submit all kinds of forms, sometimes scan documents, fax, etc.
Memphis tours (the company I am speaking of here), made the transaction through the site (web based forms) and Viber app so seamless and immediate, I was amazed. After the booking all I could think is – why doesn’t everyone do it this way?? And would I have had this easy of a time in the US? To date, I can say that I have not.
In app communication is certainly the way of the future, travel companies please get on board and abandon the traditional fax, scan, mail methods 🙂