Technology - Mobile
The last-minute hotel booking space is getting a little less last-minute, as HotelTonight is unveiling a new feature that lets users book their rooms a full week in advance. The new features, live today, respond to a need to have more flexibility when traveling in certain situations, says CEO Sam Shank, who for the first time talked about demographics beyond the spontaneous weekend traveler when I met with him earlier this week. Business travelers, he pointed out, would especially stand to gain from the new model, which allows you to wait until your schedule is set before deciding which neighborhood (or specific property) might be best suited for a particular trip.
This week, T-Mobile continued on its rampage to break all the rules we've ever come to know about mobile carriers, this time with a move that throws the need for a 4G network all but out the window. The big reveal? Wi-Fi calling on all new T-Mobile smartphones, a feature that will make roaming workaround apps like Viber largely irrelevant. This comes on the heels of Apple's iPhone 6 debut, which also included Wi-Fi calling as a standard feature.
The implication for travelers is huge. First and foremost, it signals an enormous change in the way we think about roaming and international phone charges (already, the carrier has made data roaming and music streaming abroad worries of the past).
Is T-Mobile trying to be the world's best network for travelers? All signs say yes. You likely already know about T-Mobile's free international data roaming features. Earlier we reported on T-Mobile's Wi-Fi calling features. Now, there's one more feather in the carrier's cap: free in-flight texting, picture messaging, and visual voicemail on all gogo-powered flights. The service is made possible thanks to a partnership with the in-flight Wi-Fi provider; like most announcements of this kind, this is being considered a limited time promotion (no end date has been announced).
Oceania Cruises is the latest luxury line to launch complimentary Internet access on its five ships—a first for the brand. It joins Regent Seven Seas, which announced that it was adding free WiFi last month. The on-board Wi-Fi system was recently upgraded across its five mid-size ships, bringing connectivity that’s twice as fast as before to public spaces, outdoor decks, plus all suites and staterooms.
Today the iPhone got a long-awaited upgrade—and Apple finally unveiled its rumored plans for the Apple Watch. What’s in it for travelers? Here’s a closer look at how the world’s most popular travel accessory is changing—and the latest round of innovations by the technology giant.
A picture may speak a thousand words, but a filter is a look into a traveler’s soul. Here’s what you’re projecting with your choice of special effects.
To blazes with hard-edged modernity! You yearn for the softly faded era of steamer trunks and hot-air balloons. Jules Verne is your Virgil. Your ideal evening starts with a Delmonico steak and an oyster roast, and ends at the kinetoscope. In your luggage: a hoopskirt and a stovepipe hat.
Call it the HotelTonight of the beauty world: Beautified gives users the power to book last-minute haircuts, manicures, facials, massages, and more at salons and spas around New York—and in the coming months, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Today marks the launch of a completely redesigned app, one with twice as many spas and salons (including Bliss), plus a new fitness category that offers highly coveted classes from Barry’s Bootcamp, Body by Simone, Flywheel, and Physique 57.
Today, Foursquare unveils its newly refreshed self to the masses—and we got an early look at the overhauled app. The verdict? Falling closer to Yelp than Facebook, the decidedly less-social app is better suited to travelers than ever before.
Last week during our Twitter chat on Best Apps & Websites for Travelers, we asked participants what travel app they’d invent, if given the opportunity. The resounding ask? HotelTonight for flights. Dear readers: ask and you shall receive.
This week, Hopper, a data-driven fare finder that’s largely flown under the radar, is jumping into the spotlight with its new Flight Tonight app. Available for iOS 7 devices, the app aggregates last-minute fares and offers a snapshot of where you could go if you wanted to—quite literally—fly by the seat of your pants. Today’s searches pulled up flights from New York to Savannah for $280, Los Angeles to Vancouver for $352, and Miami to the Bahamas for $282—all round trip fares.
Hilton is taking a page out of the airline handbook. This week, the hotel giant announced a plan to open room selection for members of the brand’s HHonors loyalty program—for the first time ever, this would allow guests to review floor plans of open rooms and pick their favorite before check-in. Roll-out is expected for over 650,000 rooms at 4,000 hotels across the Hilton portfolio—including its Waldorf Astoria and Conrad brands—by the end of the year, with limited availability piloting by the end of the summer.