As the saying goes, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” The same is true for digital technology in the travel industry.

Marketers need to check that their digital innovations have a clear business purpose and ensure that such technologies are convenient and useful for travelers in the real world.

The rise of digital marketing and service innovation has, without a doubt, created more data, greater efficiency and convenience, and more personalization. But as more of the industry’s marketing efforts move into the digital realm, more companies run the risk of neglecting what is perhaps the most important part of any purchase: the “offline” customer experience.

Amidst the rush of travel brands seeking to out-automate and out-innovate using cutting-edge mobile apps, virtual reality, and mobile hotel check-ins, it can be easy to seek out solutions to non-existent problems.

There’s no question that innovation creates great headlines, and consumers are usually willing to give new digital tools a try. But if luggage doesn’t show up on time, or if customer service agents fail, none of that innovation matters.

Read on for more analysis, plus the rest of this week’s stories.

How Brands Can Better Align Digital and Physical Experiences
Today’s travel brands exist in an increasingly digital and mobile-focused environment. But marketers trying to innovate in these areas without a strong business reason for doing so run the risk of creating unintended problems. Here are some pointers on how brands can better match their digital and real-world innovation efforts. Read more

Transavia Partners with Uber to Turn Travel Fantasies Into Reality
One of the best parts of planning a vacation is dreaming about possible places. But for far too many consumers, blocking off time for that elusive trip is harder than it seems. That’s why low-cost European airline Transavia launched a program with Uber, creating a feature within the ride-sharing app that lets customers instantly book a ride to the airport and a budget flight to an exotic destination. Read more

Spotify and Waze Team Up for a New In-App Partnership
Ever tried to follow GPS driving directions and listen to music at the same time? For already distracted drivers and those visiting a city for the first time, it’s a recipe for frustration and accidents. That’s why driving app Waze’s new in-app integration of Spotify playlists is such a great idea. Drivers can keep their eyes on the road and hear their favorite tunes at the same time. Read more

Westin Promotes Good Sleeping Habits with New Social Program
Westin is launching hotel services and a social marketing campaign to encourage its guests to get a good night’s rest. The chain is rolling out a new “Bedtime Call” feature (similar to the feature now available to iPhone users), allowing users to schedule wake-up calls with hotel staff that ensure they meet proper sleep guidelines established by the World Sleep Society. Read more

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Launches App for Apple TV
At first glance, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s decision to create an app for the popular Apple TV interface may seem counter-intuitive. Why make a flight status app for a TV when consumers can get the same info from a smartphone app or website? But according to airport executives, the growing popularity of Apple TVs makes the platform a great place to deliver flight status and gate information. Read more

Photo Credit: Digital technology makes travel experiences better, but it also needs to be designed in a way that's convenient, intuitive and simple for travelers. Anonymous / Flickr