Mobile Magic: Four innovation categories, four prizes and the winners are…

At EyeforTravel’s Social & Mobile Strategies for Travel 2013 conference in San Francisco this week firms battled it out to take home the crown in four mobile innovation categories. Read on to find out more.

Mobile is not an opportunity for the future but one to be grasped today. So when it comes to innovation, travel brands that recognise the power of mobile in inspiring and engaging and ultimately converting their customers have a much stronger chance of thriving in a tough market. EyeforTravel's Mobile Innovation in Travel Awards seeks to recognise and reward such innovation. The competition was intense but the winners, announced in San Francisco, this week are…

1. Best Mobile App – Worldmate

Worldmate, which was acquired by Carlson Wagonlit Travel last year,beat off 13 other industry players including big names like TripAdvisor, Priceline and even mobile-only solution HotelTonight to win the award for best mobile app. Used by over 10 million people, the firm says it distinguishes itself by providing a great service to travellers on the go and it does this by understanding the circumstances around them and then empowering them to resolve any hiccups along the way. There are two aspects of the product which standout. First is the firm’s TripCatch technology that can automatically detect incoming travel confirmation emails as they hit the smartphone and then immediately create an itinerary.  Second is the new Hotel Price Alerts & Counter Offers, which make it simple for our travellers to rebook better hotel deals through WorldMate and also cancel the original booking with just a couple of clicks. This is WorldMate’s second win in a row which Ian Berman, VP Business Development says is proof of their ongoing innovation. It is also a shot in the arm for employees to keep up the creativity and hard work.

2. Best Mobile Website – Best Western International

If you want to deliver a great customer experience via mobile, you need to make it as clear and simple as possible and on this from Best Western International delivers. The mobile site is user friendly and all information is presented in an easy to read format. There were five entrants in this category which was judged on technology, usability, graphic design, strategy and results. Best Western came out tops against Expedia,, Quebec City Tourism and Mandalay Bay Resorts & Casino. "We are honored that our mobile website was named best in the industry,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western International. “The recently redesigned site leverages lessons we learned from listening to our customers, and the latest technology, to improve the user experience.”

3. Best Mobile Technology Solution – TripCase

Finding the right technology solutions’ provider is always a challenge for travel brands – even harder when the solution is for mobile. Eight innovators battled it out in this category - which was only open to providers of mobile technology solutions. According to Will Pinnell, Director of Marketing and Sales, TripCase, the company helps brands extend their service and uniquely keeps travellers connected to their supplier and their latest trip details. “The award gives us an opportunity to tell our story to a community of industry leaders and an audience who truly understands the value of offering a differentiating service,” he says.

4. Best Mobile Strategy– Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Eight firms were in the running for this award which was decided on whether a brand had gone one step further to develop a full cross-platform, integrated mobile presence. CTW’s acquisition of WorldMate was a positive move in this direction, but the firm has been active on a number of mobile fronts. The category was judged on innovation, integration, strategy, future, results and, of course, additional benefits to the consumer. In developing its mobile strategy, CTW has put the travellers needs first and foremost by developing applications like CWT market and CWT to Go. will be speaking to the winners in more detail in the coming weeks for more mobile insights and in depth tips

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