If you’ve ever rented a car and wondered where to go next, TravelTab could be the perfect solution. It’s designed to be an add on option to rental cars, providing an ideal mix between smartphone, tablet and PND (Portable Navigation Device), and it builds on HERE maps using TravelTab’s own software to offer a comprehensive all-in-one package.
Mark Novak, Vice President & General Manager at TravelTab, explains that the company was set up to solve a challenge the car rental agencies were facing, with companies previously offering portable GPS devices to help international travellers in new locations, but finding out that travellers were also asking other questions.
“For example,” says Mark, “customers were asking ‘how do I navigate or get around’; ‘where do you recommend I should eat’; ‘where should I stay’; ‘where can I buy attraction and tour tickets’; ‘where can I purchase a local SIM card or rent a phone’; ‘where can I access Wi-Fi?’ The car rental agencies were attempting to answer these questions, and fortunately for us, we were listening. So in turn we created a product called TravelTab.”
TravelTab sits between a phone and a tablet in size, and offers a similar feature set – 4G connectivity, Wi-Fi, and GPS. But as an all-in-one package, software is equally important. TravelTab is available in two versions: the Adventurer, which offers convenient travel applications, unlimited data with the ability to work as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices, make international calls and texts, and offers discounts on tours & attractions which can be purchased using the device itself.
TravelTab is also available as the Navigator+, which is geared mainly towards domestic travellers, who typically may not need a phone or data, but are still interested in navigation or local discounts at restaurants, shopping, tours or activities. It’s essentially the same as the Adventurer, but phone and Wi-Fi is purchased on the go, rather than all-inclusive.
What makes the TravelTab stand out?
“It’s really a combination of the software and the hardware that makes the TravelTab unique,” says Mark. “We know we have a specific form factor for our device that is important to travellers. We know travellers want the convenience to go where they want, but a lot of solutions are now physically tied to a vehicle. Our device not only has the ability to function within a vehicle, it’s also a device that can go with you.”
That means the TravelTab user could take it to a mall and navigate when walking, use it in a hotel of business meeting, or maybe find a particular restaurant and get a deal using one of TravelTab’s thousands of exclusive discounts.
“We procure a lot of the deals ourselves, though our own internal team,” explains Mark. “We have direct relationships with many different providers out there, and we also utilize some of the major players as well. For example, in Orlando we have LEGOLAND on our device, and we have tickets from $65, a saving of $27. It means that a family of four buying tickets through TravelTab would save over $100. We also offer other deals including shopping coupons at over 80 different locations throughout the US, which could help users save hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Mark explains that a partner of TravelTab manufactures the hardware, and it was designed specifically to provide the ideal form factor for travellers. “We wanted to make it easy enough for people to use, so it has an intuitive power button, very simple volume controls, traditional locations for the charging port and camera; it’s really an oversized smartphone that’s been designed to work with our software and business providers.”
Why TravelTab wanted to work with HERE
HERE is one of those partners, and Mark points out that there were lots of different reasons for picking us, not least our maps and the ability to get directions offline.
“When we were making a decision on which direction to go for mapping, we started looking into different options and it was very clear, early on in the conversation, that HERE is a very strong strategic partner. Obviously HERE is cutting-edge in terms of some of the future developments it’s working on, but some of the features already built into the SDK, such as offline mapping, the points of interest, the abilities to layer on the navigation and flexibility with colours and form factors helped to make HERE more appealing, as they’re the things we view as being very important to the customer experience.”
“Offline mapping is something that’s extremely important to us,” adds Mark. “We know that travellers do travel outside of the normal daily commute, especially international travellers visiting markets they’re not familiar with, they want to go and see the sights and go off the beaten tracks, and we needed to ensure we were aligned with a good strategic partner to allow us to solve that challenge for those travellers. With HERE, that’s what we’re doing.”
At present TravelTab is available in three countries: USA (including Puerto Rico and Hawaii), Canada and Mexico. In those countries you’ll be able to get your hands on a TravelTab in over 55 US cities, 10 cities in Canada and 14 cities in Mexico. TravelTab also works with all the major car rental agencies in those countries, and Mark says the company has plans to expand internationally with the right partners.