Skift Take

From technology that lets guests unlock their rooms to boarding passes displayed on your wrist, wearables are becoming an important part of the traveler’s journey.

Last we launched our latest report in our Skift Trends series, The Future of Wearables in Travel.

Below is an extract. Get the full report here to get ahead of this trend.

While this sort of functionality is far from reality, especially in a security-conscious world where the possibility of personal information being hacked is always a concern, it’s likely that such innovations will take place on Apple’s platform.

Why does Apple seem to be leading the charge?

Glenville Morris, Head of Consulting at MTT, a mobile-only travel company, says it’s in part because Google’s wearable platform has been slow to progress.

“You have Android Wear, which has barely moved. You have Delta and American Airlines working on it. And then there are TripIt and FourSquare on Google Glass,” he says. “I think that Apple Watch will open some doors for a complete passenger experience, including booking, check-in, through the airport, in flight.”

Others say Apple early-stage dominance is a result of brands using the platform to reach customers where they are.

“We have a large consumer base of Apple users,” says Rick McNerny, Manager of Mobile Products at JetBlue. “We try to be aligned with them as much as possible.”

Releasing an app for Android Wear “is not out of the realm of possibilities,” he says.  The problem? Designing the proper Android functionality. “There are so many different devices with various screen sizes and resolutions.”

McNerny also stresses the importance of watching the wearables market before launching Android apps.

“[Once both Apple Watch and Android Wear usage grow], that will give us the push to find the Android [wearable] that people are really embracing,” he says. “If we’re going to do an app, we want to make sure we’re doing it for the right device.”

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Tags: android, apple watch, ios, research reports, wearables

Photo credit: The American Airlines app for the Apple Watch.

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