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Travel, hospitality brands hop on board with Google Glass

OpenTable, TripIt and foursquare have all rolled out efforts for Google Glass, highlighting the role that utility plays for marketers developing wearable initiatives.

All three companies have been added to MyGlass, which is a portal that houses all of the apps found on the device. Travel and hospitality brands tend to be some of the most forward-thinking marketers in mobile in terms of marrying up utility with conversions, so it is not surprising that many are viewing wearables as the next iteration of their strategies.

“Glass presents an exciting opportunity to think about how traveling should work,” said Amy Jackson, director of public relations at TripIt, San Francisco.

“If you think about the predicaments you’re in when you travel — having to carry multiple bags, pull out a boarding pass, move through line after line – these are all moments where having something that guides you through your trip, without requiring you to reach in your pocket or bag could be incredibly helpful,” she said.

Wearable traveling
Synching up a TripIt account to the device pushes travel information to Google Glasses so that consumers can view their travel information quickly. The app refreshes Google Now content as well so that a traveler’s information is all in one place.

The app pulls in car rental, hotel and travel reservations once a consumer has landed.

The foursquare app leverages location to let consumers view a list of nearby places that they can then check-in at.

At the same time that foursquare is pushing check-ins via wearables, the company is splitting up its business into two separate mobile apps to focus more heavily on discovery rather than check-ins (see story).

OpenTable is tapping Google Glass to trigger last-minute restaurant reservations. Via the app, consumers can view a list of nearby restaurants that they can then make a reservation at.

Making restaurant reservations and reading reviews continue to be some of the most popular features that consumers are accessing on smartphones, making the switch to Google Glass a logical choice for OpenTable.

OpenTable’s mobile efforts already include a suite of applications and a mobile site and speak to the growth in mobile development beyond smartphones and tablets.

MyGlass also includes several travel-related apps from Google, including Google Now, Maps and Search.

The TripIt app

Building in utility?
Despite being a new platform, a small handful of brands have begun rolling out Google Glass apps.

The majority of these efforts suggest that keeping the experience simple will be key in how marketers approach the platform going forward.

For example, the state of Utah rolled out an app in February that lets consumers view transit information (see story).

Fidelity Investments rolled out an app last fall that lets users view a hands-free display of quotes from the major stock indexes in the United States (see story).

Since wearables are more intrusive than other types of marketing, brands should be hesitant when entering this space and make sure that utility is first and foremost the goal behind these efforts.

“With TripIt, we’re always thinking about how traveling should work in pursuit of ‘the perfect trip,’” Ms. Jackson said.

“When my flight is delayed, why should I have to rely on monitors or gate agents, when a notification can arrive on my device – and in the case of Glass, without reaching into my pocket?” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York