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What to watch in wearable travel tech

Monday 31 August 2015
By Lachlan Nicolson |

wearable technology in travel

Since the September event of Apple releasing their flagship new wearable category product there has been a buzz for wearable technology. As consumers rapidly accept wearable tech in the sports and health industry, travel is following closely. Watches are the most popular wearable so far with a sleek ‘cool’ factor as a subtle fashion item for our wrists. Watches also have multitude of functionality, from opening hotel rooms to one-swipe payments.

Australian airline Qantas have already jumped into development of their own wearable app for the Apple Watch, allowing travellers to access flight info from their wrist and board with one swipe-and-scan. Will other apps revolutionise or take off in the way we travel? The jury isn’t out yet, but research shows so far it’s an exciting and growing market that’s opening new doors for travel providers to connect with consumers like never before.

Watch this space.


Opportunities for the industry

For travel providers there are more opportunities than ever to explore new technologies that are changing the wearable market future for travellers. Wearable tech opens new doors for businesses to expand and redefine their propositions. This could mean developing their own technology for wearable tech, or developing applications and services for existing technology.

In the same way mobiles made mini computers for the palms of our hands, wearables are now doing the same for our wrists and hands and feet.

There is no longer the need to scan your eyes across the departure flight board, you can simply look down at your wearable device to access the information relevant to you - the traveller. Not sure where you are? There’s no need to open Google Maps anymore, simply allow your wearable tech to nudge and guide you to your destination.

Not only is location and information important, but unlocking hotel doors, accessing bookings and boardings and one-wave payments for products at the counter. Be prepared for a proliferation of streamlined mobile functionality apps to now shift to the wearables market. The question is, will you be part of this technology shift?


apple watch tech

The benefits of wearable tech.

Wearable tech offers the chance for businesses to learn more about their consumers behaviours more than ever before and in new and powerful ways.

While wearable tech works in the background, it often guides and taps travellers with notifications or alerts. Using geo-location tagging and beacons, travellers can be alerted at specific moments or in specific places more than ever. The opportunity to intervene is greater than ever before, the key however is the relevance of your alert and appropriate use of this access.

Travellers want to be engaged or entertained while on the go, or experiencing a new place. Wearable tech offers the opportunity to make travellers experience more fulfilling and interesting.

Technology is allowing people to feel more secure to travel off the generic beaten track. With wearable tech, the more information and security you can provide to your traveller, the safer they will feel. This can apply to geo-location, digital credit card access or safety of one touch contacts now in the palm of our hands and our wrists.


Upcoming wearable trends

  1. Rumours are Google will relaunch Google Glass 2.0 with new a new design approach
  2. There are a handful of new smartwatch rivals being funded on Indiegogo including The Revault, a smartwatch with 128gb of storage, accessible with wifi or bluetooth to nearest device.
  3. Google has a new venture project called ‘Jacquard’ which aims to experiment with conductive strands of fabric technology to be worn. Will this start the rise of wearable shirts, hats and ‘smart-clothes’?
  4. Rechargeable fashion is growing with new designer women bracelets hitting the market. These bracelets can charge phones and devices on the go.
  5. Apple is releasing Watch OS2 with more access to develop custom watch widgets. For example, you could now have direct flight information alongside other relevant information such as the weather, time or taxi arriving in your destination city - all with one glance to the wrist.


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Read next article: How to earn more frequent flyer points with Steve Hui

Ten quick tips for a great conference

Thursday 20 August 2015
By Lachlan Nicolson |

ten tips for a great conference

Organising a conference for the first time can be stressful. There are so many elements that could make or break a good event... But don’t stress, the staff here at TCT (The Conference Team) are here to help you with your next event.

Here are ten tips
to get you storted on making your next conference a successful one.

1. Plan early

If you’re running a big show, you’re going to need a big room. In our experience, conference venues can be booked up quickly. We recommend for large events to plan 12-14 months in advanced if possible. That ensures you get the right venue locked in for the right time. Be one step ahead so you’re not disappointed!


2. Get vision

Put your conference vision down on paper. What are you trying to achieve? What are the keywords, general content themes and ‘take-aways’ you want people to encounter or experience during this event? Keep it simple and keep it focused. If your purpose for your conference isn’t clear, you will struggle trying to gather people. People come to conferences to unite around commonality of what they are passionate about and committed to. If you can clearly articulate the vision and focus of your event, people will parter with that vision and attend.

get conference vision

3. Stay close

Don’t spread your physical locations out too far. Conference attenders love to get a stretch around the lobby but don’t have them crossing streets between multiple venues. Keep everything relatively close so commute is simple.

4. Clarify everything

Have you ever hunted around a conference website trying to find the information pack only to discover it doesn’t answer any of your questions? People don’t just want the time and date, they want dress code, parking location, dietary information and more. Create a good pack of information and email it to your attendees well before the event. Make information easy to access!

5. Make an entrance

First impressions last. When your conference delegates arrive you want to make their first experience delightful. This could mean investing in some signage and branding, or creating a good checkin procedure to allow guests to flow in and not be stuck in lines. Having the right lighting, temperature degree, subtle music, complimentary water and a friendly face at the door makes a big first impression.


6. Bad food is frowned on

The most talked about thing after a conference can sometimes be the quality of food! Offering the right amount of refreshments and a well balanced menu will go a long way to keeping your delegates satisfied. Compliment your guest by offering vegetarian and gluten options in your menu. Meals also make fabulous networking opportunities and create a healthy buzz of chatter around your event as people meet one another.

7. Offer Wifi

Everyone loves and wants free wifi - it’s that simple. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs; now includes wifi

8. Room service?

Are your guests sorted for a place to stay? A good conference planner will offer a partnered hotel option for guests to book at the nearest hotel with easy access to your event. A comfy bed and room service will mean your guests can get a good rest and be fresh for the next day.

conference time

9. Times up!

A great conference will never run dry and never run overtime. People have flights to make, office emails to answer and most importantly; a depleting attention span. If you promise to finish at a specific time, ensure that you keep your promise to the attendees. No one likes sitting in a conference staring at their watch wondering who’s running the show.

10. Keep it fresh

When the day is over, surprise your guests with something special. It could be a free download pack of the slides, or maybe a complimentary drink. Always create opportunities for your delegates to be talking about your event when they leave (positively!). Don’t forget to thank them for attending, and invite them to future events.

keep it fresh refreshments

Is your next event sorted? Talk to us

the conference team

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The expert team in conference, events and incentives. Click the banner below to learn more.

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How to earn more frequent flyer points with Steve Hui

Friday 14 August 2015
By Lachlan Nicolson |

steve hui points whisperer

7 years ago Steve Hui took his first Business Class tip to New Delhi, and began to witness a whole new world of travel - A world where people knew your name and service levels were high. In that – he was hooked.

Deep in research, Steve discovered that not all points and not all airlines were the same.

Due to different cost structures, different geographical hubs and different strategic reasons for running loyalty programs – different airlines had sweet-spots where they were a lot cheaper to fly on points with than others. 
We asked Steve to share just his top 3 tips for understanding points...

1. Make sure you collect the points

first class on points

Points can be accumulated normally in three ways, from flying, from credit cards and from retail partners.

Earn points From flying.

When you earn frequent flyer points on a paid ticket. It is best to link up your flight with your frequent flyer booking in advance of travel as claiming the same points after travel is more cumbersome and requires records of your boarding pass.

• Points don’t combine.
Points from different frequent flyer programs cannot combine. Think of them as independent currencies, you need enough in each currency to be able to redeem them for a flight.

• Airlines have alliances and partners.
There are three major airline alliances globally, Oneworld – which consists of Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines and others. Star Alliance – which consists of Singapore Airlines, Air NZ, United, Lufthansa, Thai and others. Sky Team – which consists of mainly northern hemisphere airlines such as Delta, China Eastern, China Southern, Air France, Korean Air.

When you fly with one airline in an alliance, you can credit your points to someone else in that same alliance.

Where do i put my points?

It is always best to allocate the points to the airline program where you will most likely plan to use those accumulated points for a future redemption, in other words – don’t put points into a frequent flyer program which you are unlikely to accumulate enough points to use – otherwise those points are quarantined and may later be wasted if it is not enough to fly with.


Champagne on-board and cool blue electronic blinds. Enough said. ??

A video posted by Steve Hui (@iflyflat) on

Earn points from credit cards.

Earning points from reward cards is the best way to earn a lot of points, it is also the most predictable ways to plan for a trip. Generally a person’s spending level is consistent every month. This works especially well for small business owners who can pay their business expenses via cards – as they can spend a lot and hence earn a lot of points for a flight very quickly. This is one of the rewards beginning to gather in popularity as people begin to realise the ease of benefits.

Be alert, and check your card benefits regularly, as bank can change their rewards programs on a regular basis, some of the things which most banks have changed in the past year has been the introduction of points’ caps.

Some examples Steve cites are the the Woolworth Qantas credit card and the HSBC Qantas Platinum cards – which introduced a $2,500 per month cap on earning $1=1 Qantas point, and reverts to 0.5 points per $1 afterwards. In most cases, the notification of changes to cardholders is understated via a small comment in the statement.

Earn points from retail partners, promotions and other enticements.

Retailers such as Woolworths offer Qantas points when you shop with them, to encourage you to choose them over Coles. BP petrol stations offers Virgin points when you buy fuel from them.

Other retailers may have regular promotions to give bonus points if you shop with them, each airline Virgin (has the e-store) , and Qantas (has the Qantas mall) – where your transaction is tracked and points are awarded to you based on the prevailing offer. You can earn points from online shopping such as eBay, the iconic, David Jones, buying movie tickets, and many many more.


2. Don’t let points expire

first class meal steve hui

After the hard work in earning the points, be sure you don’t let them expire.

Both Qantas and Virgin are pretty good, their points don’t expire as long as there is some activity in the account once every 18 months.

Activity is easy to generate if you live in Australia, and means just 1 point in or out of the account. This can be achieved from flying, or using points, or as simple as shopping at Woolworths or buying petrol at BP to generate the activity or any of the ways mentioned above.

Singapore Airlines have a three-year rolling expiry date, which can be extended once with a payment, and then expires if you don’t use it.

Cathay Pacific also have a three-year rolling expiry date, but unfortunately, no extension possible.
Use it or lose it.


3. How to find a points seat

steve hui first class seat on points

Finding award seats is totally random, while airlines have an algorithm to seek to improve their revenue, they are also subject to a constantly changing system which involves their customers changing their flight plans. Airlines of course want to sell as many seats as possible for full price, they have data as to how many seats are free on their flights and can constantly adjust.

• Most airlines open bookings approx. 11mths in advance, Qantas opens bookings 353 days in advance, Virgin opens 330 days and Singapore 350 days in advance.

• The earlier you begin the search the better as it provides more time to search, but every day the position could change, so if no seats are available today, search again tomorrow and you may get a different result.

Steve Hui is known as ‘The points whisperer’, he has a real passion for digging out the value of reward points and frequent flyer points, and using them to fly in the best way possible.

Click here to learn more about Steve and iFlyFlat