RIM’s BlackBerry Travel App [REVIEW]

You cannot walk through an airport without seeing people using their BlackBerrys to view their itineraries, check-in, and search for entertainment or lodging. BlackBerrys are great at keeping you on schedule and organised while you travel, but RIM’s new Blackeberry travel app makes it even easier. BlackBerry Travel organizes your itinerary and makes it easy to quickly find the information you need when you are on the road.

After you install BlackBerry Travel and create an account, it searches your BlackBerry, imports any travel itineraries that it finds, and lists them on the My Trips screen. When you choose a trip from the list, BlackBerry Travel displays all of the most important information. You can see the airline, terminal, dates, departure and arrival times, flight numbers, and gate numbers. Everything you need to know about your flight is conveniently located on one easy-to-read screen.

Once you switch over to the Services tab, you can see the 5-day weather at your destination, and search for things to do when you get there. If you allow BlackBerry Travel access to your LinkedIn account, you can also find LinkedIn contacts near your destination and post updates. You can let your LinkedIn connections know you’re coming, and start making plans without having to send an email.

BlackBerry Travel also allows you to plan trips. Choose Plan a New Trip from the My Trips screen, and BlackBerry Travel will help you choose your travel dates, find flights, and even book a hotel room directly from the application. Unfortunately you cannot book flights directly from BlackBerry Travel at this time, but that functionality may be introduced in the future. You can use the flight information to see flight times, connections, and layovers, so you can get a better picture of your upcoming journey.

When you search for a hotel, BlackBerry Travel uses Expedia to find hotels at your desired destination. Not only do you get a list of hotels, but you can also see hotel ratings, pictures of the hotel, the distance from the city center, and room prices for each day of your stay. When you view the hotel location, clicking on the View on map button shows you precisely where the hotel is on Google Maps or BlackBerry Maps. You can also view the Hotel Policy to see the terms of your reservation before you pay to book your room.

Interface

The BlackBerry Travel application is reminiscent of other RIM applications including BlackBerry Traffic and Twitter. The application is easy to read, easy to navigate, easy to use, and intuitive. If you do not have an itinerary, or are just starting to plan your trip, the interface makes it easy to enter your travel dates and find information you will need to book your flights and lodging.

Functionality

BlackBerry Travel has all of the basic functions you need for travel:

  • An easy to read itinerary
  • Hotel and flight information
  • Weather at your current location and your destination
  • An easy way to notify associates you are visiting via LinkedIn
  • A local search that helps you find restaurants and entertainment
  • A currency conversion tool

The only glaring omission is the inability to book a flight directly from the app. When that function is introduced, BlackBerry Travel will be an invaluable tool for road warriors.

Feature Wish List

In order for BlackBerry Travel to be a true super app for the frequent traveler, it still needs some additional functionality to make it more well rounded.

  • If the restaurant search worked with OpenTable and UrbanSpoon, you would be able to find restaurants that serve specific cuisines and book reservations right from your BlackBerry.
  • The ability to use more than one search engine for flights and hotels would allow you to comparison shop for flights and accommodations.
  • Since travel by both bus and train is both popular and cost effective, BlackBerry Travel should enable you to find and book train and bus fares in addition to flights.
  • Getting a cab in a big city can be a challenge, and the ability to book a cab or a car service from BlackBerry Travel would be very useful.

Summary

BlackBerry Travel is extremely useful and is off to a great start. It saves you time, organizes your information, and helps you travel more efficiently. The interface is clean, easy to use, and well organized, so you will always be able to find what you are looking to quickly. With the addition of a few additional features and the ability to search for other modes of travel, BlackBerry Travel can become the ultimate travel companion for you.

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Omar Kattan is Chief Strategy Officer at Sandstorm Digital, the MENA region's first specialist content marketing agency headquartered in Dubai. His experience includes 10 years in traditional marketing and advertising in the Middle East and a further 10 years at two of the largest media agencies in the UK. Follow Omar on Twitter for updates on the latest in digital, branding, advertising and marketing.

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  • Dmillar

    Blackberry Travel is such a dismally poor imitation of Worldmate Live that I do not understand how BB even thought of promoting it!!  It si absolutely NOT a road warriors companion – where is the facility to include scheduled meetings?  Where is the Gold feature of WWL?  It continually tells me that I am missing hotels – it lists hotels per day up to and including check-out day (so it appears as if you have 2 reservations for the same night) etc etc. 

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