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Press

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Press Release: Premium Travel Service DUFL Partners with Pat Perez

15 year PGA TOUR Professional Teams up with Arizona-based Start-up

Tempe, Ariz.- March 15, 2017- DUFL, the premium travel service that’s changing the way the world travels, today announced a partnership with 15 year PGA TOUR professional, Pat Perez. This strategic partnership will align the innovative start up company that eliminates the need for frequent travelers to pack, do laundry or carry a bag with them while traveling with one of the most consistent and dynamic golfers on the PGA TOUR.

Pat Perez has been a one of the PGA TOUR’s most unique personalities since joining in 2002. Raised in San Diego, California, Pat attended Arizona State University and was a member of the Sun Devil golf team where he led the team to a National Championship in 1996. Perez claimed his first PGA Tour win in 2009 at the Bob Hope Classic. He recently won the 2016 OHL Classic at Mayakoba and is currently 5th in the PGA Tour FedEx Cup standings.

A believer in innovation, efficiency and technology, coupled with the extensive travel associated with playing in several hundred PGA events throughout his expansive career, Perez’ partnership with DUFL is a natural fit. DUFL allows customers to store clothing, sports and business gear in DUFL’s secure facilities and use an app to virtually pack for a trip. DUFL then delivers users’ suitcases, sports and business equipment to their hotel destination. Once the trip is completed, users leave their suitcase and other equipment at the front desk, and DUFL picks it up and ships it to the DUFL warehouse, where the contents are inventoried and cleaned so that everything is ready for the next trip.

“As someone who travels 200+ days per year, I can appreciate the hassles that go along with travel, only on a much larger scale,” Perez shared. “DUFL allows me to focus on my game. I can pack in 60 seconds in the DUFL app, see everything in my DUFL closet and save myself hours of time on every trip. I’m excited to partner with a company that is truly changing travel for people who spend their time on the road.”

“We’re thrilled to align ourselves with Pat. We can’t think of a better partner to disrupt the golf and golf related travel space,” says Bill Rinehart, DUFL Chairman, Founder and CEO. “Now Pat will be leading the way in the industry by utilizing an innovative, reliable solution that is designed to provide convenience, eliminate stress and give back hours of personal time previously spent preparing for trips, so that he and others will truly appreciate why dufl has a 99% retention rate among its customers.”

Perez will be working closely with DUFL on product development related to DUFL Golf, specifically to make DUFL the best service available not only for PGA TOUR players, but for weekend golfers alike. DUFL recently announced its partnership with Golf Digest Online in Japan and plans to expand the DUFL Golf service globally.

To learn more about DUFL and its innovative services for all travelers, visit www.DUFL.com.

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to travel hands-free, shipping items such as clothing, sports gear and business equipment from their DUFL app. DUFL services are powered by a sophisticated data, logistics and e-commerce platform and are designed to eliminate stress and add significant convenience to travel. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

Press Release: Travel Innovator DUFL Continues to Gain Marketplace Momentum, Adding New Customers, Partners and Services Worldwide

Popular Travel Service Opens New Storage Facilities, Expands International Operations

TEMPE, Ariz.- March 13, 2017- DUFL, the premium travel service that’s changing the rules of business travel, today announced that the company continues to experience rapid growth, including a 200%+ increase in the number of trips taken year-over-year. The growth continues to accelerate with an increase in trips per month of 50%+ from December 16’ to January 17’. Since its 2015 debut, DUFL has significantly expanded operations and added customers and partners. This year, DUFL opened new storage facilities in New Jersey and Japan and has announced additional partnerships.

“DUFL launched its first service, DUFL e-closets — as a way for frequent business travelers to offload the hassles of laundering, packing and lugging their road trip wardrobes around,” said DUFL Founder, Chairman and CEO Bill Rinehart. “In the past year and a half, we’ve expanded our services into areas that offer new conveniences, such as DUFL Sports, DUFL Business and the recent launch of the DUFL Store. We’ve also formed partnerships with multiple companies in the travel industry so that they can provide DUFL to their travelers, and expanded our area of operations to include New Jersey as well as Japan. As DUFL evolves, it is becoming clear that the underlying components of all these services form a powerful data, logistics and e-commerce platform. When we started the company, it was easy to label us as travel valet type company, when in truth we are much broader and deeper and our customers are already using us across the growing spectrum of services we provide. Our remote, intelligent storage of people’s essentials when they travel are able to simply “meet them there” by using the award-winning DUFL app.”

DUFL rapidly gained traction after its initial launch, attracting widespread media attention, adding customers and winning awards for its innovative e-closet service, which allows customers to store clothing and toiletries in DUFL’s secure facilities and use an app to virtually pack bags for a trip. DUFL then delivers users’ suitcases to their hotel destination. Once the trip is completed, users leave their suitcase at the front desk, and DUFL picks it up and ships it to a DUFL warehouse, where the contents are inventoried, laundered and pressed so that everything is ready for the next trip.

Originally launched as a groundbreaking virtual valet service for business travelers, DUFL has since launched new divisions, including DUFL Business to handle tradeshow gear, product samples, etc., and DUFL Sports to manage equipment like skis, fishing gear and golf bags. The company recently announced a partnership with Golf Digest Online (GDO) Japan, an organization that offers services to more than three million golfers, to roll out DUFL Golf in Japan with a secure local storage facility.

n addition to GDO Japan, DUFL announced partnerships with BridgeStreet Global Hospitality, teaming up with that organization to drive innovation in the extended-stay travel sector. DUFL also partnered with Ovation Corporate Travel, a corporate travel organization, through its Ovation Reserve program, which provides bespoke, white-glove VIP travel services for top executives.

DUFL’s services are powered by a sophisticated, patented, technology platform that handles logistics, data, ecommerce and more. These capabilities enabled DUFL to launch its DUFL Store as a convenience for travelers, allowing users to add toiletries and other travel items to their DUFL closet for upcoming trips, with items charged to the user’s account and available immediately.

DUFL’s technology layer also serves as an innovation platform, offering significant opportunities for brands, investors and potential partners to reach a unique and highly desirable audience. To sustain its marketplace momentum and reach new customers, the company plans more innovations for the months ahead. DUFL completed its Series A financing in 2016 and plans to begin marketing its Series B in mid 2017. Any inquiries regarding DUFL investments should be directed to investments@dufl.com.

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to travel hands-free, shipping items such as clothing, sports gear and business equipment from their DUFL app. DUFL services are powered by a sophisticated data, logistics and e-commerce platform and are designed to eliminate stress and add significant convenience to travel. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

Press Release: DUFL to Partner with Golf Digest Online Japan, Providing a Virtual Caddy for Golfers

Popular Travel Service Expands International Operations, Will Manage Golf Equipment in Japanese Facility and Deliver Clubs Directly to the Golf Course

TEMPE, Ariz., March 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- DUFL, the premium travel service that's changing the rules of business travel, today announced that the company will team up with Golf Digest Online (GDO) Japan, an organization that offers services to more than three million golfers, to offer exclusive travel services for golfers beginning in May 2017. The move represents a major global expansion for DUFL, which will operate DUFL Golf in Japan with secure local storage facilities.

DUFL has grown rapidly worldwide as frequent travelers sign up for the business travel service, which eliminates the time spent laundering business clothes, packing bags and lugging suitcases through airports; DUFL handles those chores instead. DUFL Golf offers a similar service for golfers, providing users with secure storage for their clubs and delivery to their specified golf course. DUFL Golf stores and manages users' golf bags, enabling users to indicate their golf course destination and dates via the DUFL app so DUFL can deliver their clubs and pick them up again when they are finished playing.

"DUFL Golf relieves golfers of the burden of storing and transporting clubs, and we're thrilled to offer this innovative service in the Japanese market through our partnership with DUFL," said Nobuya Ishizaka, President and CEO of Golf Digest Online. "DUFL Golf with GDO allows golfers to leave golf bag management to DUFL, which means they don't have to check carry or store their clubs — they can simply use the DUFL app to have their golf bag picked up and delivered, just like a pro."

"GDO serves more than three million golfers in Japan, providing an array of services and amenities, including golfing news, online tee time reservations and an ecommerce shop where golfers can get the best equipment," said Shinji Tsukamoto, cofounder and President, DUFL International. "We're excited about working with GDO to offer golfers a hassle-free way to travel with their equipment and store their golf bags. DUFL looks forward to serving the Japanese market and working with GDO on innovations to make life easier for golfers."

DUFL Golf's Japan operation will launch in May 2017.

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to roam untethered. Our secure, sophisticated platform delivers your bag where and when you need it. With each use your clothing is cleaned how you like it and prepared for your next trip. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

About Golf Digest Online Japan

GDO offers a one-stop solution to all of your golf-related needs, including the latest golf news, online reservation to more than 2,000 golf courses in Japan, and an online shop that offers access to a wide-selection of golf clubs, golf wear and other golf-related amenities. To learn more visit www.golfdigest.co.jp.

Press Release: DUFL Debuts ‘Pack List’ Feature to Simplify Travel Wardrobe Selection, Rolls out ‘The DUFL Store’

Popular Travel Service Responds to User Suggestions with Updated Features

TEMPE, Ariz.- January 17, 2017- DUFL, the premium travel service that’s changing the rules of business travel, today announced the launch of a new Pack List function that allows users to group wardrobe items together to make virtual packing even easier. The company also rolled out a virtual ‘DUFL Store’ where users can add items like toiletries, phone chargers, healthy snacks and more to their DUFL closets when gearing up for a road trip. The new features will be released on iOS and Android with desktop availability coming soon.

“The pack list function works somewhat like a music playlist, allowing users to group wardrobe items under a heading of their choosing to make packing simpler- and even faster,” says DUFL Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Andrea Graziani. “For example, a user could create a ‘NYC’ pack list for suits, shoes, etc., they’d wear in New York, a ‘Workout’ pack list for their exercise or sports clothes, or a ‘Blue Suit’ pack list for their favorite suit combination. We’ve received several requests from customers with color vision deficiencies to incorporate a tool such as this to assist with grouping shirts, pants, coats, etc. that match.”

DUFL has grown rapidly as frequent travelers gravitate toward a service that eliminates the time spent laundering clothes, packing bags and lugging suitcases through airports, leaving those chores to DUFL instead. When preparing for a business trip, users select what to bring online or via the app, and DUFL packs the user’s belongings in a special DUFL suitcase and transports it to the user’s destination, retrieving the items and suitcase when the trip is over and inventorying, cleaning and storing items so that they’re ready for the next trip.

In addition to clothes, shoes and other apparel, DUFL also stores and transports toiletries. Users asked the premium travel service for a way to get fresh razors, ibuprofen, toothpaste, phone chargers, shampoo and other items to add to their virtual closet. DUFL took customer's direct feedback and created the DUFL Store, which makes the items available, adds them to the user’s DUFL closet and charges them to the user’s card.

“We’re also making healthy snacks available in the DUFL Store to make it a little easier to keep those resolutions about eating less junk food on the road,” Graziani observes. “As a lifestyle service for people who travel a lot, DUFL is always looking for new ways to make life easier for road warriors, and when our customers make great suggestions about how we can add to the service, we do our best to make it happen. That’s where the concept of Pack lists and the DUFL Store originated — with our customers.”

DUFL surveys its customer base frequently to get ideas for new features and also to gather data on how much time the service saves business travelers. A recent survey indicated that 84% of DUFL users report saving more than three hours per trip. That means frequent travelers who are on the road twice a month save more than five days per year by allowing DUFL to handle their road trip wardrobes. Learn more about DUFL at www.dufl.com.

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to roam untethered. Our secure, sophisticated platform delivers your bag where and when you need it. With each use your clothing is cleaned how you like it and prepared for your next trip. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

Business2Community.com: How One Company Achieves a 99% Retention Rate with Its Customers

No one knows the value of ease and efficiency like DUFL, which was founded to make life simpler for business travelers. The company cleans and stores the garments customers need for trips, and then ships a suitcase directly to specific destinations throughout Europe, Canada, and Asia. Busy customers have high expectations and meeting them is critical.

That’s why the company started using the Salesforce Customer Platform from the beginning. Unlike many other startups, DUFL didn’t jump from one fire to the next, winding up with a collection of disconnected point solutions, each designed to solve a specific problem. Founder and CEO Bill Rinehart knew Salesforce from a previous company and had experienced firsthand the value of a connected, scalable platform for a growing business.

“Delivering an amazing customer experience is our mantra,” Rinehart explains. “Salesforce lets us keep a complete record of each individual’s unique needs, so we can provide a customized experience and exceptional support at every touchpoint.” DUFL customers register and create an account within the DUFL app and the company’s back-end systems. Account information is imported to Salesforce so externally-facing teams can access customer information quickly, in a user-friendly format. Rinehart says, “The ease of use, flexibility and transparency of Salesforce lets us focus on our core competencies and growing our business.” The company uses Sales Cloud to manage accounts and track activity so it can win more customers. Fully integrated Service Cloud is the primary support interface for support agents who also take advantage of plug-ins like CTI and translation to keep customers happy. And Desk.com is used for internal trouble tickets and service operations.

Rinehart shares the story of a customer who ruined the heel of an expensive dress shoe and asked the company for help. DUFL’s Concierge Desk created a ticket and had her heel repaired by a local cobbler and the shoes were back in her DUFL closet and ready for the next trip within 48 hours. And, since the case was managed via Service Cloud, the company has a solution that can be referenced the next time a customer needs shoe repair (which has already happened).

Just as DUFL enables customers to travel more, and more easily, Salesforce has enabled the company grow without growing pains. With just 25 employees the company can easily handle 10% month on month growth while maintaining a retention rate of 99.89%.

Rinehart says, “We pride ourselves on providing our customers with an exceptional experience, a white-glove service without the luxury price tag. Not only do we expect our trips to go off without a hitch, we also expect the customer service experience to be above par. We will always go the extra mile for our customers and Salesforce makes it possible for us to give our customers the excellent care and service they deserve.”

http://www.business2community.com/brandviews/salesforce/one-company-achieves-99-retention-rate-customers-01714956#wRvlOckD8mhwOBrZ.97

HotelOnline.com: Why Hotels Are Using Technology to Gain Competitive Edge

As hospitality professionals know, the hotel industry is extremely competitive. Each brand has its unique pitch, and properties offer specialized services to appeal to consumers in a variety of ways. But in the eyes of most consumers, the amenities offered are similar, so hotels must find a way to stand out from the crowd and attract repeat business. That’s where technology can help.

For hotels, it’s all about putting heads on beds — bookings typically determine whether a property is profitable or not. For most hotels, the other amenities — restaurants, on-site stores, lounges, etc. — are value-adds that keep guests happy and coming back, but they usually don’t generate a significant share of total revenue on a standalone basis, and they are often a loss center.

So how can technology make a difference where other value-adds don’t? The short answer is, it can make life easier for guests, and in many cases, incorporating new technology services is revenue neutral. Other travel-sector companies have incorporated technology into their operations to streamline processes like securing boarding passes for flights. Of course, most consumers already use technology to book hotel rooms, and many hotels offer tech-forward amenities like apps that provide keyless entry to rooms, but there is plenty of space to expand technology’s use in the hotel sector.

Like most businesses, hotels use technology in their daily business operations. Front desk staff rely on it to manage reservations and other functions, and office employees use software designed for the hospitality industry to manage the books and cash flow. While some hotels use manual processes to track basic tasks, others have thoroughly modernized guest service operations, using technology to manage inventory, maintenance and housekeeping tasks.

Customers may never see direct evidence of the technology behind the scenes, back-office efficiency can help hotels deliver a better guest experience overall. For example, a hotel room service operation that tracks orders manually may be more error-prone, and employees who are laboriously completing manual entries aren’t available to provide guest services.

But aside from back-office basics, which are table stakes, hotels generate the most bang for their technology buck with customer-facing services that make guests’ lives easier. Some hotels offer electronic concierge services and provide apps that can help guests who are attending conferences manage their check-ins and schedules. Hoteliers who provide that type of service effectively (typically through a vendor) can build good will with conference organizers and guests alike, generating repeat business.

That’s why hospitality professionals looking to boost business at their hotels are taking a fresh look at how they can incorporate more customer-facing technology. One avenue many are exploring are upgrades to in-room technology, such as better broadband and devices like iPads in the rooms to control temperature, lighting, etc. Since consumer electronics are evolving rapidly, more sophisticated TVs are also a high priority for hotels that want to deliver the best possible entertainment experience, including TVs that interact as seamlessly with guests’ mobile devices as their home TVs do.

Many hotels are now offering electronic check-in services, which is more convenient for guests than waiting at a crowded front desk for an available agent. Some of the hotels that have used this type of service have found their check-in app can also serve as a platform for offering discounted upgrades, late check-outs and other services that can boost the bottom line.

Partnering with tech companies that serve travelers can also be an excellent way to create a memorable guest experience. Finding ways to alleviate traveler inconveniences that aren’t directly within the hotel’s control can be a productive strategy. Partnering with a company that handles frequent travelers’ baggage is one example: With this type of service, the partner delivers a suitcase containing business travelers’ road trip wardrobes to the hotel and picks it up again when the guest departs, freeing the traveler from the burden of lugging suitcases through airports and creating a stress free travel experience from start to finish.

Ensuring guest comfort, convenience and security have always been a top priority for hospitality professionals, and technology provides another way to deliver on brand promises built around those principles. Startups providing travel and event-related services can offer hotels an opportunity to incorporate new technologies into their offering without investing in developing or administering a site-based service. That’s an affordable way to get a competitive edge.

http://www.hotel-online.com/press_releases/release/why-hotels-are-using-technology-to-gain-a-competitive-edge

Viralistics.com: 10 Apps That’ll Make Your Next Business Trip The Best Yet

Need to increase efficiency at work, improve your mind or simply discover how to wind down at the end of a manic day? These apps will help you do just that and more

1. Do away with laborious expense paperwork

Instead of spending an hour at the end of each day sorting and filing receipts and filling in claims forms, knock this down to five minutes with the Concur app. It enables you to record expenses instantly, photograph receipts on the go, log credit card charges and keep track of your itinerary. All your expenses can then be quickly audited and approved by the finance team back home. Pricing model available upon request.

2. Stay on top of the itinerary

When you’re dashing from one place to the next across a city, a country, a continent; or even the world, you need to know where you have to be and when, which is where Tripit comes in. Acting like your very own PA, it’s where you can aggregate all your confirmation emails and create a master itinerary. Whilst the basic version is free, TripIt Pro makes things easier still by alerting you to flight delays, cancellations and gate changes. It also notifies you when you’re eligible for a flight refund and finds you alternate flights.

3. Be current with currency

International business discussions often refer to dollars and euros when it comes to talking money or perhaps all trade is done in the local currency. The free XE Currency app helps you to instantly calculate currency values on the go using live exchange rates. An invaluable tool when it comes to negotiating big money deals.

4. Let your luggage go it alone

Get your luggage delivered where and when you need it with the DUFL app. After registration you will receive a DUFL suitcase which you pack with clothes you wear whilst travelling. The packed case is taken to the DUFL storage facility where your clothes are cleaned and photographed. Once you’ve scheduled a trip you use the app to select the stored clothes you want to take with you, these are packed and then sent to you at your specified destination.

5. Niftily navigate

If you’re looking to get around your own or a foreign city by foot, public transport or bike, City Mapper is the app to download. It will seek out the most efficient route and update it in real time should something occur that would disrupt the original journey. It currently covers 36 cities worldwide, including Tokyo, Sydney and Madrid and is free to download.

6. Enjoy your downtime

If you’ve managed to bag an afternoon or evening off to explore your destination, plug into the Time Out Reach For Your City app. It will show you where to eat, drink and what to explore, as well as information on gigs, plays and shows going on around you.

7. Keep on top of the game.

It’s just as important to tone your mind as it is your body and when you’re tired and suffering from the effects of jet lag, it’s easy to let your concentration slide. A regular session of brain training games on the Lumosity app should challenge and hone your cognitive skills and help you to remain ahead of the competition. As an added bonus, it’s a lot of fun to do.

8. Rapidly translate

Type in the words your can’t understand and providing they’re from one of the 103 languages that Google Translate app works with, it will tell you what it means instantly. Or you can take a photo of the words you need translating and it will translate the text into one of 29 languages.

9. Get with the lingo

If business is regularly taking you to one particular foreign clime and you still have no grasp of their language, you could find yourself starting to understand and being able to make yourself known in the local tongue after just a few sessions with Babbel. Spanish, Russian and Norwegian are some of the 13 languages you could get to grips with using its mix of speech recognition, translation and memory games. Subscriptions start from £4.45 per month.

10. And breathe

If all too frequently, you find yourself lying in a hotel bed exhausted, but unable to sleep because you can’t stop thinking about the meeting earlier or the conference the next day, you need to learn how to relax. Mindfulness and meditation are the most effective tools you can employ to achieve this. The Calm app is a ‘meditation teacher in your pocket’, explains creator Michael Acton Smith of Moshi Monsters fame. ‘We used an amazing meditation teacher to create the content. The free section introduces you to meditation and deeper paid-for content helps with specific issues, such as insomnia.’ Five million downloads so far is testimony to its success. Subscriptions start from £2.50 a month.

http://www.viralistics.com/10-apps-thatll-make-your-next-business-trip-the-best-yet/

MoneyInc.com: The Top Five Ways Technology has Reshaped Travel

“Disruptive” can be an overused word in tech startup circles, but sometimes the adjective fits. When you consider how much technology has transformed the way we travel, both from the perspective of the traveler and for travel industry professionals, it truly can be described as disruptive. Until just a few years ago, airline travel was much the same as it was in the “Mad Men” era, even though technology developments were changing the world in countless other ways at the time.

But thanks to the rise of mobile technology, stunning breakthroughs in how we approach and handle logistics, and an array of truly transformative travel-related apps, there has been a shift in the way people get from point A to destination B. Here’s a look at the top five ways technology has reshaped travel — and changes that are on the horizon to make life even easier for travelers in the future:

1. Mobile devices as the gamechanger:Mobile devices have already changed the way we travel by putting serious computing power in our pockets wherever we go, including the airport, tradeshows and family vacations. Travel apps have transformed the way we book flights and arrange accommodations, check in at the airport and make itinerary changes. Mobile devices will continue to drive innovation as developers take advantage of increasingly powerful platforms and wider WiFi access to offer new capabilities and conveniences to travelers — wherever they roam.

2. Real-time information distribution:As anyone who has ever navigated a complex itinerary involving one or more connecting flights knows, travel is a time-sensitive activity. Weather delays, mechanical difficulties and missed connections can cause scheduling havoc. That’s why the impact of real-time information distribution cannot be overstated. Current real-time information distribution capabilities allow travelers to handle routine travel hiccups and make contingency plans on the fly in a way that was unthinkable even just a few years ago. As the Internet of Things ramps up, expect even more precise real-time information flowing in from multiple sensors.

3. Ecommerce everywhere:The SkyMall in-flight magazine is sadly a thing of the past, but consumers are still left cooling their heels in terminals between flights, idle while planes await their turn for takeoff and bored during long flights. That makes passengers the perfect target for marketers with products to sell. Virtually every airport contains a giftshop, and some seem to function as shopping malls that also handle airplane traffic. But as mobile technology and logistics get more sophisticated, expect airports and even flights to increasingly cater to individual consumer shopping habits with features like onsite delivery.

4. Productivity everywhere:When travelers are done making itinerary changes and browsing for products using a virtual version of SkyMall, they may want to get some work done. Device charging stations and WiFi access are increasingly available at airports and on flights, allowing users to stay productive on the road, keep in touch with loved ones and even binge-watch their favorite TV series. In the future, better inflight internet experiences will most likely be free, and the opportunity to be productive and entertained on the road will become a true value-add for travelers.

5. Logistics help for individual travelers:Technology has enabled a sea change in logistics for companies — think “just in time” inventory strategies, etc. Now platforms have emerged to assist frequent travelers, enabling individuals to virtually pack a suitcase using an app and send clothing, sports equipment, tradeshow gear, etc., from a secure storage site to a travel destination, allowing users to travel unencumbered. These types of services can be a boon for airline companies as well since moving passengers’ belongings around is an unprofitable hassle for carriers.

Technology has already changed the way we travel in so many ways. From the consumer perspective, it’s much easier now to make and change travel arrangements. It’s simpler to stay in touch with the office and the family while on the road. And it’s even possible now to travel to business hubs in the U.S., Europe and Asia luggage-free, using an app to ensure clothing and personal items are at the hotel upon arrival.

From the perspective of a travel industry leader, the digital revolution has been utterly transformative too. Forward-thinking companies that can see the potential to add value and ensure an excellent customer experience are taking advantage of new tech-enabled capabilities to make life better for travelers. Expect that to continue well into the future as new technologies evolve. Some of the coming changes will be profound — and truly worthy of the term “disruptive.”

Andrea Graziani, Chief Marketing Officer & Co-Founder of DUFL

A marketing visionary with extensive tech sector experience, DUFL CMO Andrea Graziani manages the brand and leads all aspects of corporate and customer marketing to systematically drive customer growth and retention. Before joining the DUFL team, Andrea served as VP of marketing, communications and media at Brightcove and as VP of marketing and then CMO at Unicorn Media, positioning the company for acquisition by Brightcove for $49M. Earlier in her career, Andrea led marketing, communications and creative services operations at a number of companies, including Limelight Networks, Honeywell, Critical Path and Frontier Global Center.

http://moneyinc.com/top-five-ways-technology-reshaped-travel/

Forbes.com: Luggage Service DUFL Expands Internationally And Makes Traveling Even Easier

I thought DUFL was a great idea when it first launched: a wardrobe/travel service that stored clothing that you would need on business, leisure or “bleisure” trips, cleaned it, packed it more neatly than I ever could and sent it to your destination. But its value increased with a recent expansion to international cities. The Arizona-based company delivers internationally to Europe and Canada as well as Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne, a real advantage if you don’t want to deal with packing your own bags for an international trip and then dragging them through airports or checking and potentially losing them or having them misplaced. And it’s even more of a bonus if you’ll need different items in different places. For travelers based overseas whose plans take them to the U.S., the expansion is also a benefit: they can now open accounts and virtual closets and have their bags delivered to points within the U.S.

The system is simple: you open an account with the app, send clothes you want to be stored (although you can retrieve them for use at home anytime you want) in bags provided by the company and a virtual closet is created with photos of your items displayed in your account. You then select which items you want and where you want them to be sent. If you need more than will fit in one bag, you can use several and if you need a different type of bag than their standard rolling hard case, that’s also possible as I learned with a recent trip to Spain, England and Morocco in which I needed different clothes for each place and in one case, a soft sided bag. I packed different bags, filed instructions for where each one should be delivered and then picked up; FedEx under orders from DUFL did the rest. Various sample items called DUFL Bits were also included for me to try, from KIND snack bars to a Somme Institute skin care travel kit. It’s cross promotion, of course, with the hopes that you’ll buy more of the product but free gifts are always nice regardless.

One service I didn’t use but those who could, would undoubtedly appreciate is DUFL Sports which transports sports equipment apart from clothes. It’s much easier to let them deliver your surfboard or skis or golf clubs than having to take them yourself.

Inc.com: 7 Survival Tips for Holiday Business Travel

Here are a few tricks of the trade that can help you actually enjoy your next business trip.

1. Don’t fly on a Monday morning

While Mondays are, in general, notoriously bad for making your way through super busy airports, this problem made even worse with the onset of the holidays. Avoid the longer airport lines and increased frustrations by booking your flight on another day.

2. Stay hydrated

While drinking water often gets pushed on the back burner when we're busy or stressed, it's actually one of the easiest ways to keep you feeling in tip-top shape. Keep a refillable water bottle handy so that you remember to get your necessary 8 cups a day.

3. Keep your health up

Have a couple Emergen-C packets ready so that you can get your vitamin C dose whenever you feel physically less than your best. Also make sure to travel with hand sanitizer and other antibacterial tools, so that germs and microbes don't get the best of you. The last thing any of us needs is to get sick on a business trip.

4. Get the best rates

Don't pay too much by booking directly through hotels. Find a corporate travel agent--a professional--to help you plan your trip, then double check your rates against those on hotels.com.

5. Sign up for travel alerts from your airline.

While receiving excessive notifications on your smartphone can be annoying, receiving travel alerts about flight delays or changes can help you avoid frustration at the airport. It's also a good idea to keep an eye out for flash sales or rapidly dropping rates. You may be able to squeeze in a surprise trip to spend some much-needed time with your family.

6. Do your holiday shopping on the go

Even though half the fun in holiday shopping is browsing, it can be incredibly time-consuming. Get your holiday shopping done online on Amazon.com. The 2-day Prime shipping will solve all your last-minute gift needs.

7. Ship your baggage to and from your destination

We all know what a pain it is to carry a suitcase through the airport, and to wait for it at baggage claim--assuming it actually arrives. You can avoid this headache by using a baggage shipping company such as DUFL, which will store, clean & ship your luggage to your destination--and back home--so you can save time and enjoy your trip.

http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/7-survival-tips-for-holiday-business-travel.html

PhoenixBusinessJournal.com: Tempe Business Traveler Luggage Service Launches New Tier for Events Materials

The Tempe-based business traveler luggage app DUFL Inc. is launching a new service today to make event traveling less hectic.

DUFL Business, which launched in beta several months ago, offers service for event materials, from booths and trade show banners, to table cloths and marketing materials, said Andrea Graziani, DUFL’s co-founder and chief marketing officer.

“Save yourself the hassle and stress for moving these things, which is a giant pain,” Graziani said, who often travels for events. “Now you can have these things in a virtual closet and see a virtual inventory to choose from before you travel.”

A company can ship any materials to DUFL, which photographs the items and stores them in its Tempe warehouse. When a customer has to travel for a conference, they choose items they need from their virtual closet, and DUFL will deliver them where they need to go.

After the event, the customer just ships the items back to DUFL.

The cost for DUFL Business is $100 a month for storage, and standard FedEx rates for shipping the items to the events.

“Trade show booths are heavy and a pain to ship,” said Graziani. “Getting all the labels together is also a hassle. This alleviates all that.”

The service can also be used for salespeople who have to store equipment, products and samples for their travels, Graziani said.

“I’m very familiar with the pain points. Now this is a natural extension of what we’re already doing,” she said. “A couple customers asked for this and that’s how the beta got started.”

Another new tier for the company is DUFL Business Pro, which offers the business service along with inventory and fulfillment. For example, if a traveling employee needs to replenish their promotional t-shirts and products, they can order the items sent to them from DUFL.

This Pro service is $200 a month, plus standard shipping. However, since the service is in beta, DUFL is seeking companies who would like to test out the new service for the same price as the business tier.

“We’re looking for any company that is doing events,” Graziani said. “This is really for smaller amount of equipment, but for anyone hauling gear around.”

Thousands of customers have signed up for DUFL’s luggage service, which allows travelers to store clothing, accessories and luggage in the company’s Tempe warehouse rather than haul it to and from travel destinations. The clothes are laundered and packed after the customer chooses which items they want from their virtual closet.

DUFL began offering its sports tier in February for any oversized sports equipment, including bicycles, skis, golf clubs and scuba gear.

The 30-employee company ships throughout the U.S. and internationally in major business cities in 25 countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

DUFL raised $5.3 million in a Series A round in August to continue to expand, hire and build out its Tempe warehouse.

DUFL founder, chairman and CEO Bill Rinehart is the founder and former chairman and CEO of Unicorn Media Inc., a Tempe-based company that was acquired by Brightcove Inc. for $49 million in 2014. Rinehart also founded Tempe-based Limelight Networks Inc.

ExhibitorOnline.com: DUFL Business Stores, Ships and Visually Inventories Materials for Company Tradeshows and Events

Thousands of business travelers use DUFL, a premier travel service that stores, launders, dry cleans, packs and delivers user’s wardrobes across the U.S. and to international business hubs. Now road warriors can get that same convenience when handling tradeshow equipment, samples, swag, sales materials and other business gear. With DUFL Business, users can save time and eliminate the stress of packing and shipping these items or lugging them through airports by leaving the details to DUFL.

“DUFL has saved frequent business travelers three or more hours per roundtrip by eliminating meaningless chores such as packing, doing laundry, waiting in line and dragging suitcases with them through the airport and to customer meetings,” says DUFL Chief Marketing Officer Andrea Graziani. “In addition to alleviating stress for its customers by storing, cleaning and shipping business travel attire, now DUFL Business is shouldering the load for business people who must also manage delivery of tradeshow booths, product samples, A/V equipment and other materials from place to place. We give travelers more time to focus on managing events and building client relationships.”

It’s easy to join DUFL Business. Customers simply download the app or register online and contact the DUFL support team so they can discuss shipping requirements and forward labels. Once DUFL receives the materials (tradeshow booths, pull-up banners, cords, event supplies, samples, swag, collateral, etc.), DUFL inventories and photographs these items and displays them in a virtual DUFL locker so that they can be seen anytime via the app.

When gearing up for an event, customers can use the app to indicate a destination and arrival data and select photos of the items they’ll need from their locker. DUFL will pack and ship the items to their specified destination. When the event or business trip is over, customers simply affix the FedEx shipping labels provided and request pick-up via the app. DUFL will ship everything back to the locker, inventory and securely store them so that all items are ready to go for the next trip.

“Tradeshows and events require organization and numerous deadlines for deliverables, many times well in advance of the event itself. Physically tracking down those items in the company storage closet can consume precious time, having each item photographed and visually inventoried is an incredible benefit,” Graziani explains.

DUFL also has a service in development for customers with more robust equipment and materials-handling needs: DUFL Business Pro, which manages inventory and fulfillment in addition to the standard DUFL Business services. The company plans to offer the expanded DUFL Business Pro service for $200 per month, but customers who sign up for a beta membership before the end of the year will pay just $100 per month (plus standard FedEx shipping rates) by registering now and using the code DUFLBIZPRO.

DUFL, which has garnered significant media attention and customer acclaim for its unique service, including designation as the readers’ choice best new travel app in USA TODAY, already makes the lives of business travelers easier by handling their road trip suitcases. The company was recently recognized for customer service excellence with an award at Dreamforce 2016. Now business travelers can take it to the next level with DUFL Business and DUFL Business Pro. Find out more at www.dufl.com.

http://www.exhibitoronline.com/news/article.asp?ID=16557

Press Release: DUFL Business Stores, Ships and Visually Inventories Materials for Company Tradeshows and Events

Frequent Business Travelers Allow DUFL to Store, Pack, Clean and Ship their Business Attire — Now They Can Let DUFL Do the Heavy Lifting for Events Too

TEMPE, Ariz. — October 27, 2016 — Thousands of business travelers use DUFL, a premier travel service that stores, launders, dry cleans, packs and delivers user’s wardrobes across the U.S. and to international business hubs. Now road warriors can get that same convenience when handling tradeshow equipment, samples, swag, sales materials and other business gear. With DUFL Business, users can save time and eliminate the stress of packing and shipping these items or lugging them through airports by leaving the details to DUFL.

“DUFL has saved frequent business travelers three or more hours per roundtrip by eliminating meaningless chores such as packing, doing laundry, waiting in line and dragging suitcases with them through the airport and to customer meetings,” says DUFL Chief Marketing Officer Andrea Graziani. “In addition to alleviating stress for its customers by storing, cleaning and shipping business travel attire, now DUFL Business is shouldering the load for business people who must also manage delivery of tradeshow booths, product samples, A/V equipment and other materials from place to place. We give travelers more time to focus on managing events and building client relationships.”

It’s easy to join DUFL Business. Customers simply download the app or register online and contact the DUFL support team so they can discuss shipping requirements and forward labels. Once DUFL receives the materials (tradeshow booths, pull-up banners, cords, event supplies, samples, swag, collateral, etc.), DUFL inventories and photographs these items and displays them in a virtual DUFL locker so that they can be seen anytime via the app.

When gearing up for an event, customers can use the app to indicate a destination and arrival data and select photos of the items they’ll need from their locker. DUFL will pack and ship the items to their specified destination. When the event or business trip is over, customers simply affix the FedEx shipping labels provided and request pick-up via the app. DUFL will ship everything back to the locker, inventory and securely store them so that all items are ready to go for the next trip.

“Tradeshows and events require organization and numerous deadlines for deliverables, many times well in advance of the event itself. Physically tracking down those items in the company storage closet can consume precious time, having each item photographed and visually inventoried is an incredible benefit,” Graziani explains.

DUFL also has a service in development for customers with more robust equipment and materials-handling needs: DUFL Business Pro, which manages inventory and fulfillment in addition to the standard DUFL Business services. The company plans to offer the expanded DUFL Business Pro service for $200 per month, but customers who sign up for a beta membership before the end of the year will pay just $100 per month (plus standard FedEx shipping rates) by registering now and using the code DUFLBIZPRO.

DUFL, which has garnered significant media attention and customer acclaim for its unique service, including designation as the readers’ choice best new travel app in USA TODAY, already makes the lives of business travelers easier by handling their road trip suitcases. The company was recently recognized for customer service excellence with an award at Dreamforce 2016. Now business travelers can take it to the next level with DUFL Business and DUFL Business Pro. Find out more at www.dufl.com.

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to roam untethered. Our secure, sophisticated platform delivers your bag where and when you need it. With each use your clothing is cleaned how you like it and prepared for your next trip. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

Business Travel News.com: Business Travel Innovators You Should Know

Dufl cleans, stores and ships a business traveler's clothes and other items, eliminating the need to pack, unpack, launder and lug around a bag for a business trip. Chief marketing officer Andrea Graziani told BTN's Julie Sickel she and her three co-founders, all longtime road warriors, launched the service a year ago knowing it was something they would want to use themselves.

How has year one been?

It's been great. We've gotten a ton of press, which we love, but the user adoption has been tremendous. We have between 5,000 and 10,000 users registered already.

Are these individual business travelers or employees of corporations you've contracted with?

A lot of our initial users were just individual participants. But we're also in pilot with almost 20 companies right now, and we've got several other companies that have rolled this out already. Companies are seeing that this is a great way to retain and attract their traveling employees. A lot of services for travelers offer convenience, but very few give them personal time back.

Say I wanted to use Dufl, how would I get started?

First, you download the app; we have an iOS version, an Android version and a Web app. You register for the service and we send you a welcome kit, which is a large roller bag. You pack that full of all the things you want to have in your virtual closet, and you can include anything you like, including full-size toiletries, workout gear, pillows and blankets. Then you send it back to the DUFL warehouse, where we clean the items, we inventory them and we photograph the items for your virtual closet. That's when it's really easy to pack; you just go into the app, pick out the items you want for the trip, input details like the destination and arrival date. Then, a beautifully packed bag arrives at your hotel.

How many items can I have in my closet?

We have folks with as many as 250 items in their closet, so they not only have enough clothes to go to a single conference, but they also have enough in there to have variety and so that they can do back-to-back or multi-leg trips where they have more than one bag in the air at one time. Our average user has 50 to 100 items, so depending on the way they travel, that really determines how many items they keep in their closet.

Do you charge per trip?

There's a $9.99 fee per month for storing the clothes, and typically that fee is waived if we're dealing with a corporate launch of the product. Then it's $99 per round-trip in the United States, which includes standard shipping of three days to your destination, three days to return, then laundering and dry cleaning. There are some discounts that we offer corporations on volumes.

Who are your shipping partners, and can you ship internationally?

FedEx is our main shipping partner, and that affords us a 99.9 percent reliability rate with on-time delivery. We can track the bag every step of the way. We do ship internationally. Right now, our warehouse is based in the U.S., and we've delivered to about 25 countries, and that's growing as we get requests. We are looking to put a warehouse facility in Europe and Asia, hopefully within the next six to nine months, and that will afford our users a little more flexibility when they travel between countries.

What if there’s a snafu?

We offer 24/7 customer service. If your hotel was changed, we can get a courier to move your bag to your new hotel. If your flight was delayed or changed, we're able to do some pretty cool things to get your bag where it needs to go. We had a gentleman whose bag got stuck in a snowstorm. We knew what he packed, so we went out and purchased every item in his bag and we got another to him on time. Two days later, his bag was recovered, so now he has two of everything and he's thrilled.

http://www.businesstravelnews.com/Innovators-You-Should-Know/2016/Dufl

Press Release: DUFL Featured at Dreamforce “Startup Valley”, DUFL Executive to Participate in Dreamforce Panel

DUFL Selected as One of Approximately 35 Innovators for Event’s New “Startup Trail” Showcase

TEMPE, Ariz.- October 4, 2016-DUFL, the premier travel service that stores, launders, presses, packs and delivers road trip wardrobes across the U.S. and to international business hubs, will be a featured up-and-comer in “Startup Valley,” the showcase for next-generation innovators at the Dreamforce conference hosted by Salesforce, on October 5th. In addition, Joseph Herdt, DUFL’s head of global customer support, will serve as an expert panelist at the Dreamforce breakout session entitled, “Everyone Owns the Customers: Knocking Down Walls between Sales and Service,” on October 4th.

Salesforce created the “Startup Trail” as a venue at the popular event that allows Dreamforce attendees to get inspired by the next generation of innovators. It features a “Dreampitch” startup pitch competition with legendary investors Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca as well as will.i.am. The Startup Trail also includes “Innovation Sessions” with journalist-moderated panel discussions that showcase startups on an open stage. Startup Valley is the heart of the Startup Trail and features eight notable startups each day, including DUFL, which will demonstrate its unique business travel service app. The Startup Trail is located in the Developer Forest in Moscone West, 1st Floor and DUFL will participate Wednesday, October 5th.

In the breakout session, Herdt and three other panelists will answer questions from the audience and the Salesforce moderator, sharing insights on how they use Salesforce to bridge the gap between their sales and service teams and improve customer relationships. Herdt will discuss DUFL’s experience with sharing information and customer analytics to enable sales and support personnel to collaborate more effectively and gain a holistic view of the customer so they can customize support and sales activities accordingly.

“Every customer organization is unique, and the sales and service teams typically each have information that can help a company provide a better overall experience, but data silos get in the way,” Herdt observes. “Dreamforce attracts a diverse, forward-thinking group of business professionals, and I’m looking forward to discussing how we’ve overcome these obstacles at DUFL to deliver highly responsive service and generate offers that resonate across our market segments.”

Dreamforce attracts approximately 150,000 Salesforce customers, ranging from small startups to Fortune 500 companies that use the leading customer relationship management solution. This year’s event, which is sold out, will take place October 4-7 in San Francisco at a number of downtown venues. The Startup Trail will showcase startups throughout the event, promoting the Salesforce for Startups program. Herdt’s panel is scheduled from 3:30 to 4:10 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis in the Yerba Buena Salon 13-15.

DUFL makes business travel easier by securely storing and maintaining users’ road trip wardrobes, toiletries, etc., in a virtual closet. When preparing for a business trip, DUFL users select which items to bring online or via the app, and DUFL expertly packs the items in a special DUFL suitcase and delivers it to the user’s destination. When it’s time to go home, the user requests a pick up, and DUFL retrieves the suitcase, inventories and cleans all items and stores them so that they’re ready for the next trip.

DUFL has grown rapidly and gained widespread media attention since its launch and was selected as the readers’ choice best new travel app in USA TODAY. To find out more about how DUFL makes life easier for business travelers worldwide, please visit www.dufl.com.

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to roam untethered. Our secure, sophisticated platform delivers your bag where and when you need it. With each use your clothing is cleaned how you like it and prepared for your next trip. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2016/10/27/tempe-business-traveler-luggage-service-launches.html

Press Release: DUFL to Present at the BTN Innovator Lab Showcase in NYC

Business Travel news and Travel Procurement-Sponsored Forum Lets Innovators Pitch to Audience of Top Corporate Travel Buyers

TEMPE, Ariz. — September 20, 2016 — DUFL, the premium travel service that’s changing the rules of business travel, will participate in the Innovator Lab Showcase at the upcoming Innovate conference in New York City. Andrea Graziani, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, will participate in the upcoming presentation. Sponsored by leading travel publications Business Travel News and Travel Procurement, the Innovator Lab Showcase will take place on September 27 at the New York Marriott Marquis during the business travel conference.

This year’s Innovator Lab Showcase features 12 presentations of groundbreaking travel products, technologies and services that address travel industry challenges. Two winners, one selected by the judges and the other by the audience, will be announced on September 28th.

“We’re very excited to participate in the Innovator Lab Showcase at BTN,” says Graziani. “DUFL was built by road warriors for road warriors and as a result, we have a unique understanding of the wants and needs of frequent business travelers. Our focus has been on reducing traveler friction and enhancing the travel experience to reduce stress and make travel a little more enjoyable”

DUFL makes business travel simpler by eliminating the time spent laundering clothes, packing bags and lugging suitcases through airports by storing, laundering, packing and transporting users’ business wardrobes to and from their destination. When gearing up for a business trip, users select which items to bring online or via the app, and DUFL expertly packs the items in a special DUFL suitcase and transports them to the user’s destination. When the trip is over, DUFL picks up the suitcase, inventories and cleans the items and stores them again so that they’re ready for the next trip.

“For frequent business travelers, the value is clear: 84% of DUFL users surveyed say they save 3+ hours of time per trip. For those who travel twice a month, that amounts to over 5 days per year. DUFL has fundamentally changed the way people travel,” commented Graziani.

DUFL has gained widespread media attention since its launch and was selected as the readers’ choice best new travel app in USA TODAY. To find out more about how DUFL makes life easier for business travelers worldwide, please visit www.dufl.com. To schedule a meeting at the BTN event, contact us at meetus@dufl.com.

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to roam untethered. Our secure, sophisticated platform delivers your bag where and when you need it. With each use your clothing is cleaned how you like it and prepared for your next trip. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

Press Contact:

Jenn Headley

SSPR

268 758 2637

jheadley@sspr.com

12 News Phoenix: New App Changes Travel

 

 

TechAZ.org: Meet Andrea Graziani

Andrea Graziani is the co-founder and CMO at DUFL, a travel service that eliminates the need for frequent travelers to pack, do laundry and lug a bag with them through the airport.

What part of Arizona do you call home?

Mesa.

What was your very first entrepreneurial venture

Primenet, which was located in downtown Phoenix and at the time was the 10th largest ISP in the US and then moved into hosting. Our biggest customers were Yahoo, Netscape and Quote.com.

What is your favorite part about running a business?

Creating something from nothing.

How did you come up with this idea?

My co-founders and I worked together in the software industry and traveled often for business. We were in London on a Friday, after lugging a backpack and a carry-on bag to Europe for 10 days (no checking bags for us), and were dreading the flight back to Arizona. We had to spend the weekend unpacking, washing clothes and dropping and picking up dry cleaning, then packing it all up again to be in New York City on Monday. We thought there had to be a better way. There wasn’t. So we invented DUFL.

What was the biggest challenge in executing this idea?

Changing human behavior. People have been traveling for business by air for about 70 years, yet very little has changed when it comes to packing and carrying around your suitcase. We’ve got technology for booking our own flights, hotels, and cars, but we still pack and move our luggage around like it’s 1950. Asking someone to send their clothes to a remote closet and trusting that everything will arrive on time and in good condition is a big ask. Yet once our customers try the service, they don’t leave. We have an incredible retention rate of 99.9 percent—the only folks who have left did so because they changed jobs and weren’t traveling. We get amazing feedback from our customers and the majority save over three hours of personal time when traveling by using DUFL. You can’t put a value on that.

How did you get started in the tech industry?

My degree was in graphic design, so I have been using a computer to do my job from day one. I had been working at a bank as a designer and animation artist and found a job opening at an Internet startup (Primenet). It was such a stark contrast to corporate America: the energy, industry, culture, environment, etc.. I was immediately hooked.

What sparked an initial interest in tech?

It’s exciting. I have loved being part of shaping the internet as we know it today. I’ve worked for startups that have changed the way we view content on the Internet, delivered email, hosted content, built data centers, sold bandwidth and monetized online video on mobile devices. What I have learned in these tech companies is simply amazing, and it’s incredibly fun to be part of something ground-breaking.

How long have you lived or worked in Arizona?

I have lived in Arizona for 26 years. I think the tech community here has really grown. There are a lot of smart and talented people in my town.

If you could only describe your city with one word, which word would it be?

Diverse.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?

Hard to narrow it down, because I love everything from the endless supply of sunshine to the culture, beauty, architecture, history, our freeways, the restaurants, shopping and all of our professional sports teams.

What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona?

Scorpions. Can’t seem to get used to them.

In what area do you think Arizona still has a long way to go?

Technology startups. Arizona is a goldmine for talent. We need more tech startups here and organizations such as [TechAZ] to help foster that growth.

The foodie scene is growing bigger and bigger by the day here in Arizona. What is your favorite place to get breakfast in your city?

T.C. Eggington’s has been a long time favorite of mine and was happy to see them open another restaurant called NCounter in Tempe, where I work.

What’s your favorite place to grab lunch?

Probably the Original Chop Shop in Tempe.

What’s your favorite dinner spot?

So hard to pick just one, but Tia Rosa’s is one of my favorites.

What’s your favorite place to work in your city aside from your office?

Since I’m in Tempe so much of the time, I’d have to say Postino.

Best place for a meeting over drinks?

A lot of great ideas have been born at Casey Moore’s Oyster House in Tempe.

What is your favorite memory from Arizona?

Hiking to Havasupai Falls. Definitely a bucket list-worthy item—stunning.

What is something about living in Arizona that only a local would know of?

Probably that while everyone thinks it’s ridiculously hot here, we actually freeze all summer long because every restaurant, store, and office has their air conditioning blasting.

Any tips for new Arizona residents?

Explore Arizona—visit the Grand Canyon, drive to Sedona, go to Jerome and eat at the Haunted Hamburger, see the O.K. Corral and the ruins at Montezuma’s Castle. Go hiking, boating, camping . . . snow ski and water ski in the same day. But most importantly, stay hydrated.

http://techaz.org/meet-andrea-graziani/

Brit + Co: 4 Types of Business Travelers + How They Make the Most of Their Trip

When it comes to traveling for work, if you’re not careful, things can get super stressful, real quick. Between preparing to rock your meetings, impressing your clients, finding ways to eat healthy and making sure you don’t do anything to make your boss hate you, there are ample reasons to freak out. But like the #girlboss you are, knowing ahead of time what type of business traveler you are can help you plan ahead so your work trip goes off without a hitch. We talked to Andrea Graziani, co-founder and chief marketing officer at DUFL — an app that’s actually a personal valet that ships, cleans and stores your business attire while you’re traveling — to break down the four most common types of business travelers and how they can each ensure a trip that’s smooth sailing.

The Nervous Traveler: “This is the gal who packs and repacks a million times, checks to ensure flights are on time, that the seats are secure, double-confirms all business meetings and arrives at the airport more than two hours early,” said Andrea. “So for this type of traveler, staying organized is key,” she says. If you’re a Nervous Traveler, be sure that you account for any unforeseen delays such as long security lines or delays at baggage check-in and baggage claim, and don’t let other people’s travel habits influence your own. If you do, it can cause even more stress and anxiety. Stay in control, run through your travel plans the night before, set a meeting with your boss before the trip to finalize details and remember, it’s all going to be okay.

The Planner: Every group of friends has one; just check the group chat. “For this traveler, all details of the trip are planned out weeks in advance. The flights are booked, bags are packed, presentations are ready, events planned and scheduled, the itinerary is detailed and even ‘free time’ is slated into the schedule,” explains Andrea. To make sure all goes well if you’re a planner, do what you do best: plan. “This traveler leaves nothing to chance. Knowing exactly what is expected at each stage of the trip keeps things moving smoothly and spontaneity is not part of the plan,” says Andrea. Consider using a travel service, like DUFL, which will allow you to pack business suits, full-size toiletries, workout clothes or whatever you need for your trips weeks in advance.

The “Ready to Go at Any Minute” Traveler: This traveler uses a “Go Bag,” AKA an emergency bag that is already packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice, filled with business cards, backup computers and cords. Unlike the planner, spontaneity is what fuels this traveler’s trip. Andrea adds, “This traveler is up for anything. Trips go smoothly because the ‘Ready to Go’ traveler is prepared for bumps in the road; they can adjust and modify on the fly. These trips could go more smoothly for this traveler by having a little more choice on the road.”

The Road Warrior: This traveler has been there, done that. A seasoned professional that you can probably find hanging in the VIP lounge. This person knows what they’re doing. Andrea adds, “The only way this traveler could make things go more smoothly is to utilize time-saving services. While it may be no big deal for this traveler to head to the airport and land at their next destination, these folks are generally looking for ways to make the most of their time. These productivity hackers will do whatever they can to gain an hour of their time back.” If you haven’t already, consider getting TSA pre-check — it can save you tons of time waiting in security lines. Also, take a tip from the “Ready to Go” travelers playbook and keep a bag and 3-5 outfits in rotation so you save time and get more out of your day.

http://www.brit.co/4-types-of-business-travelers-how-they-make-the-most-of-their-trip/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=4-types-of-business-travelers-how-they-make-the-most-of-their-trip

Phoenix Business Journal.com: EXCLUSIVE: Tempe business traveler luggage service raises $5.3 million in Series A funding

The Tempe-based business traveler luggage app DUFL Inc. has raised $5.3 million in a Series A round.

With an additional $500,000 raised in a seed round, DUFL has been using the capital infusion to continue to expand, hire up to 10 new employees and build out its 25,000-square-foot warehouse in Tempe, said Bill Rinehart, DUFL founder, chairman and CEO.

“We started a new business that had never been done before,” Rinehart told me by phone today. “We’ve had to prove we can do it, prove that we can make money off of it and prove that our customers will pay for it. We’ve proven that so now it’s time to really expand.”

Eleven private investors, who wish to remain anonymous, invested in the new round of funding, including about half from Phoenix, he said. The round officially closed on Friday.

Thousands of customers have signed up for DUFL's luggage service, which allows travelers to store clothing, accessories and luggage in the company's Tempe warehouse rather than haul it to and from travel destinations.

DUFL works like this: Frequent travelers order a DUFL suitcase, fill it with their regular business clothes and basic toiletries and have DUFL pick it up. The company then takes photos of everything in the bag and puts those photos in the person’s virtual closet. Before each trip, the traveler chooses which clothes they want from their closet, and tells the service where they’ll be staying and when they’re arriving. The clothes are professionally cleaned, packed and delivered to the destination hotel.

After the trip, DUFL picks up the luggage from the hotel. The clothes are cleaned and then stored until the next trip. The customer only needs to worry about bringing their valuables and medicine in their carry-on bag.

“Our customers are business road warriors, from consultants, bankers, lawyers, traveling doctors and nurses,” Rinehart said. “Our wheelhouse is high tech or consulting companies with a lot of folks on the road.”

DUFL delivers to 23 countries and over 600 U.S. cities. It began expanding its service internationally in August and will continue to expand to other countries, Rinehart said.

The 30-employee company plans to open a warehouse soon on the East Coast and by the end of the year in Europe and Asia, Rinehart said.

“Ninety percent of our service is for domestic travel, while the other 10 percent are overseas,” he said. “Ninety-eight percent of our customers are business, while the other are celebrities and personal travel. Basically it’s for anyone who is on the road constantly.”

The startup added DUFL Sports in February for any oversized sports equipment, including bicycles, skis, golf clubs and scuba gear.

“It’s been very well received,” Rinehart said. “It’s never been done before, but we’ve been very successful.”

DUFL is hiring 10 employees in business development and warehouse associates. Warehouse workers start at $15 an hour and receive benefits, stock options and paid vacation.

Rinehart declined to share salaries for business development associates.

Rinehart is the founder and former chairman and CEO of Unicorn Media Inc., a Tempe-based company that was acquired by Brightcove Inc. for $49 million in 2014. Rinehart also founded Tempe-based Limelight Networks Inc.

Click here to see the full article: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/blog/techflash/2016/08/exclusive-tempe-business-traveler-luggage-service.html

InStyle: 5 Travel Apps You Need to Download Before Your Next Trip

Believe it or not, summer is almost over, which means it's time to cap off the season with an epic trip. Whether you already have something in the books or are toying with the idea of planning an impromptu getaway, you'll want to arm yourself (er, your phone) with the essential tools that'll make traveling less of a headache. Here, five need-to-know apps to download before you're up in the air.

1. DUFL

Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, consider DUFL your personal valet. The service will not only clean and store your clothing—it enables you to choose specific pieces from a virtual closet within the app (just like Cher Horowitz!) and send them straight to your destination, rollaway be damned.

2. Send My Bag

There's no worse feeling than being unexpectedly forced to check your carry-on at the airport. With Send My Bag, you can bypass a pre-flight meltdown and have your luggage delivered from your door to any major city in one to two days.

3. RoutePerfect

Itineraries are essential for traveling, but crafting them can be tedious—not to mention time-consuming. If your end goal is Europe, RoutePerfect helps you create a rock-solid one based on your own specifications, like that restaurant your friend's boyfriend said you absolutely must try.

4. Destinations on Google

Book your trip from start to finish, straight from your phone. All you need to do is open the Google app (free on iTunes and Google Play), type in the name of the place you're traveling to and "destinations" to see airfare, hotel prices, itineraries, and even weather.

5. Overnight

Planning a last-minute jaunt? Overnight lets you book a same-day space with a local host by simply dropping a pin in your neighborhood of choice. Then you can mull over your options and reserve your accommodations on the spot.

http://www.instyle.com/lifestyle/travel/travel-apps-next-trip-vacation

TheMemo.com: Boss your business trip with these 3 services

All-you-can-eat travel, a digital concierge for your luggage, and a social network for planes.

Once the jet-setting glamour wears off, business trips are no fun.

Hours spent waiting in airports, weeks living in hotel rooms, and all the time living out of a suitcase.

Surely there has to be a better way? There is, these three businesses are on a mission to make business travel better, by fixing three of its biggest problems.

DUFL- travel, without bags

Ask anyone what their greatest bugbear of travelling is, business trips or otherwise, and the experience of lugging luggage through the airport will surely be the first thing they mention.

Andrea Graziani told The Memo that she co-founded Dufl as a virtual closet for business travellers to solve exactly that problem.

Dufl will store your business clothes and make them available at a tap of an app.

Open up your virtual closet, pick the jackets, trousers, suits, etc, that you want, and have them shipped ahead of your arrival to your hotel room in Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, or wherever you’re off to. Once you’re done, Dufl will collect the clothes from your hotel and put them back into storage, dry cleaning them first.

“Some of our customers have over 250 items in their closets, using Dufl for back to back trips, or staggering Dufl suitcases over a long trip so that a new suitcase full of clean clothes arrives mid-trip,” says Graziani.

”But DUFL users (American and European alike) all want the same things- they want to save time and avoid some of the hassles of frequent travel.

“They love having their clothes cared for, their bags neatly packed and the ability to breeze through the airport with as little as a laptop bag and have their clothes meet them at their hotel.”

Dufl is $9.95 a month for a virtual closet, and $99 per round trip (including shipping and cleaning).

Btrfly- the social network for planes

There’s nothing worse than wasting time at an airport, now with Btrfly that time won’t be wasted.

“There is nothing glamorous about living in an airport except if you can get something out of it,” Btrfly CEO Cenk Gurz told The Memo.

”The idea for btrfly came from the realization that increasing the ability of air travellers to connect could be really powerful.”

Indeed Gurz and his team, based at The Trampery’s TravelTech Lab in London, turn every flight into a prime networking opportunity. Log into Btrfly, register the flight you’re on and see all the other business travellers on your flight.

You’ll be networking around the in-flight bar or the luggage carousel (unless you’re using DUFL) in no time.

Enterprising users have even used the app to share their access to business lounges, find people heading to the same events or conferences as them, and share a taxi from the airport.

Now that’s winning at business travel.

Surf Air- all-you-can-fly

We spoke to Surf Air‘s European boss Simon Talling-Smith recently, he’s rolling out a membership travel club giving frequent business fliers unlimited travel across the continent.

And it sounds excellent.

”If you’re a business traveller and you make a 90 minute flight every week, that journey is probably taking you six hours by the time you’ve waited at the airport, waited to take off and gone through passport control again and again.”

With Surf Air that becomes a thing of the past as you join an exclusive club of travellers paying £2,500 per month for this micro-airline currently covering London, Cannes, Geneva and Zurich.

To see the full article click here: http://www.thememo.com/2016/07/27/boss-your-business-trip-with-these-3-services-travel-work-btrfly-dufl-surf-air/

Men’s Health: 5 Apps That Make Air Travel Easier

Use these apps to breeze through customs, grab a better seat on a packed flight, and have food waiting at your gate- because your journey should be just as enjoyable as your destination.

Whether you hop on a plane every week for work or only fly once or twice a year, you’ve probably never had a perfect air-travel experience.

But these five awesome apps will get you pretty damn close. Download them and you can zip through lines, score better seats, and even travel luggage-free.

Mobile Passport Control

The U.S. Customs and Borders Protection (CBP) recently authorized this app that lets you breeze through Customs when you return to the U.S. after an international trip.

Here’s how it works: Upload your passport information to the app, answer a few basic declaration questions, and submit it to the CBP as soon as you land. Within a few seconds, you’ll receive a digital receipt that’s valid for 4 hours.

Follow the Mobile Passport Control line at Customs to bypass the Global Entry line, show a CBP officer your passport and digital receipt, and then you’re home free.

AirGrub

If you’re frantically looking at your watch as you wait in the TSA line, you probably won’t have time to sit down for a meal before your plane boards.

But don’t fly on an empty stomach: Use AirGrub to order and pay for food from restaurants near your gate, then swing by and grab it before boarding.

The downside: AirGrub is only available (for now) at Boston Logan, San Francisco, and John F. Kennedy International Airport. But the app recently garnered an investment from the Airports Council International-North America to expand into more hubs.

App In The Air

Ever try to catch a connection on a 20-minute layover? Then you’ll know you need every second you can get to race between terminals on your way to your next flight.

App in the Air will make the sprint a little easier. As soon as you land, it will text you the up-to-the-minute information for your next gate, as well as an airport map that shows the best possible route to get there.

Have a longer layover? The app is also chock full of tips from other travelers, including the typical wait time for TSA lines, and where to find the least-crowded charging stations in your terminal. Score!

Seat Alerts By Expertflyer

Stuck with a ticket for a middle seat? Tell Seat Alerts where you’d prefer to park your butt instead. If a window or aisle spot with more legroom opens up on your flight, you’ll receive a notification to go snag the upgrade.

Our advice: Mark several window seats on the plane to increase your odds of scoring a better spot. You’ll thank us when you see some other poor sucker lodged between smelly strangers on a 14-hour international flight.

DUFL

Luggage seems like a lose-lose: You can either check your bag and wait at baggage claim for an eternity, or cram a weekend’s worth of clothing into a carry-on that won’t fit in the overhead compartment.

So how about eliminating luggage altogether? DUFL will send a large suitcase for you to pack anything you’d typically wear on a business trip (but don’t need to wear at home), and then you’ll ship the suitcase back to the DUFL warehouse.

From there, DUFL photographs and stores every piece of clothing in your “virtual closet” (which costs $10 a month). Before every trip, tell DUFL what you want to wear, and the team will dry-clean, pack, and ship your clothes (or even gear like golf clubs) to and from your hotel for $100 per trip.

Hefty price tag? Sure. And check if your company covers luggage fees before signing up for the service. But imagine how free you’ll feel when you board every flight with just a briefcase.

Click here to see the full article: http://www.menshealth.com/guy-wisdom/5-apps-that-make-air-travel-easier/slide/4

Heroku: Travel Bag-Free with a Premium Baggage Valet Service on Heroku

DUFL manages all aspects of baggage, from packing bags to transport to laundry and clothing storage

We all know the frustrations of air travel. Dealing with baggage is one of the biggest pain points for frequent flyers, especially for business travelers. Packing bags, getting to the airport early, hauling the bags around, waiting at the luggage carousel—the hassle and wasted time add more stress to an already full business trip. Wouldn’t it be great if someone else could manage your luggage for you? Imagine how relaxing that could be!

The founders of DUFL imagined a better way to travel—and they turned that vision into a thriving service. DUFL is the traveler’s personal luggage valet. Just send DUFL the items you normally take on the road with you, and DUFL will clean, inventory, photograph, and store those items in your DUFL closet. When you’re ready to travel, DUFL will pack your bag for you with items you’ve selected from your DUFL closet and ship the bag to your specified destination. When you’re ready to head home, the service will pick up your bag, clean your clothes, and store them for you until your next trip.

Taking care of this time-consuming burden frees travelers to focus on the more important aspects of their trip. In addition, travelers can experience the freedom of sailing through the airport unencumbered. That’s not only relaxing, it’s downright pleasurable.

Your Personal Baggage Valet on Heroku

When it came to manifesting the vision for DUFL, the company’s primary goal was to get the service up and running quickly. The team’s CTO had previous experience with the Heroku platform, and knew that it could support a rapid deployment process. Also, they knew that Heroku could support their preferred technology stack. In particular, they liked how Heroku integrates easily with AWS features.

”Heroku’s flexibility allowed us to quickly build the DUFL service and integrate the third-party services that we wanted.”- AJ McGowan, Co-Founder & CTO, DUFL

Taking advantage of the Heroku platform’s flexibility, DUFL designed a modular architecture that allows them to easily scale their stack horizontally. Over a dozen apps running on Heroku connect through different REST HTTP APIs, as well as leverage various Amazon services, such as S3, CloudFront, SQS, and Redshift. DUFL also runs their internal tools on Heroku.

”With Heroku, we don't have to hire DevOps staff. We can run our entire stack through Heroku dashboard.” Nick Maultsby, Head of Engineering, DUFL

DUFL built their system in Node.js using the MEAN framework. They chose Heroku Add-on MongoDB as their database and used Ember to build their front-end web app. The team found that existing warehousing technologies didn’t fit with their model, so they wrote their own inventory management and logistics systems from the ground up. Using Heroku has made it possible to add other technologies to the stack very easily whenever appropriate.

A couple of different API layers run on Heroku. DUFL’s native and web clients talk to their client API. They also run a singular service API that everything gets pushed to—one authority on the backend—which sends out change logs to their messaging bus. Different modular services listen in on the messaging bus to detect changes in state or events and react accordingly.

One of the key modular services is called ‘Broadcaster’ that sends data to endpoints, such as Salesforce. DUFL uses several Salesforce products including Salesforce App Cloud, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Desk.com, and they customize their Salesforce instance using custom objects and Apex triggers.

When it comes to deployment, DUFL uses Heroku’s GitHub integration exclusively. They maintain a clone staging environment in Heroku and leverage Heroku Pipelines and Review Apps before pushing to production using Heroku’s auto-deploy feature. For their web app, they use Travis CI as their continuous integration testing platform.

Heroku integrates really well with Travis CI, and GitHub, making our deployment process seamless. Along with Ember and Mono Buildpacks, it’s two clicks from staging to production which has been really helpful.”- AJ McGowan, Co-Founder & CTO, DUFL

DUFL rounded out their implementation using a couple of additional Heroku Add-ons, including New Relic APM to monitor their app, and Expedited SSL for quick set up of their SSL endpoints.

DUFL launched in mid-2014 and their business has rapidly expanded. The company recently announced DUFL Sports, which serves travelers who take large sports equipment with them, such as skis, snowboards, or golf gear. For the engineering team, it’s now all about building scale.

App Experience

After registering with the service, DUFL sends customers a welcome kit including a big suitcase that they can load up with their travel clothing and supplies. DUFL then stores the customer’s clothing and baggage in their personal DUFL closet in the company’s offsite storage facility.

Before a trip, a customer uses the DUFL app to enter their travel details and select the clothing items and toiletries that the want included in their bag. DUFL then handles the rest—DUFL staff will carefully pack the customer’s bag and transport it to the specified destination.

When a customer is ready to head home, they use the DUFL app to schedule a bag pickup at their hotel. Again, DUFL handles the rest—transporting the bag back to DUFL’s facilities, cleaning the clothing per customer specifications, and returning them to their personal DUFL closet, ready for the next trip.

DUFL is changing the rules of travel. Without a bag to worry about, travellers can enjoy a smoother, less stressful journey.

Click here to see the full article: https://www.heroku.com/customers/dufl

Computerworld.com: 10 Travel Apps to Smooth Your Next Business Trip

The best-laid plans of mice and business travelers often go awry. When trip stress is mounting, these mobile apps can help.

Clear skies ahead

It sometimes seems as if business travel is expressly designed to raise blood pressure. Cancelled flights, long airport security lines, even a misplaced receipt for your expense report can throw a monkey wrench into your trip. To help, we’ve rounded up several mobile apps designed to reduce travel stress in a variety of ways, from booking a flight or last-minute hotel room to finding a quiet airport lounge or secure Wi-Fi hotspot. With one exception, all of our picks are available for both iOS and Android devices, and many are free.

DUFL

The DUFL app is the front end for a highly unusual travel service that promises to take the pain out of packing for a business trip. You register via the app, and DUFL sends you a large suitcase that you send back filled with your own business travel clothes, which DUFL photographs, inventories, cleans and stores. When it's time for a trip, use the app to select the items you want to bring, submit your itinerary, and a suitcase filled with your selected clothes will be waiting at your hotel when you arrive. At the end of the trip, the service will pick up, clean and store your clothes so they'll be ready for your next trip.

At $10 per month for storage, plus $99 per trip, the service isn't cheap, but it can pay for itself when you factor in fees for checked bags and dry cleaning, not to mention the hassle of schlepping a suitcase around and waiting for checked baggage. DUFL isn't for everyone, to be sure -- for one thing, it assumes that your business clothes are not clothes you want to wear at home. But it's an intriguing prospect for some business travelers.

HotelTonight

Oh, joy -- your flight just got cancelled and you really don't want to sit in the airport all night. Time to fire up HotelTonight. Its big selling point? Immediacy. The free app uses your current location and shows you low-cost hotel rooms available that night, with no pesky login required (unless you book the room). The company partners with hotels in hundreds of cities around the world to offer unsold rooms at discounted prices. (If you don't need or want to wait till the last minute, you can book up to a week in advance.)

Lola

Lola (short for longitude and latitude) is a new chat-based app, an interesting hybrid of artificial intelligence and human travel agent. Most of the time you chat with an actual human, but behind the scenes, a bot is helping that person find you flights, rental cars and hotels based on preferences you select in the app as well as your past travel with Lola. The idea is to zero in on the best options for you rather than showing you an endless list of possibilities. Miss a flight or want to add a day in Chicago before heading home? You can chat with an agent for real-time help changing your itinerary on the fly.

Lola is free for now, but it's also invitation only. Download the app (iOS only) to get on the waiting list. The company says it will start charging an annual membership fee "soon."

Avast Wi-Fi Finder

Avast Wi-Fi Finder has two main purposes. First, the free app shows any Wi-Fi networks in your vicinity, noting whether they're private or public. More importantly, it reveals whether each network is secure (and how it's secured). As a bonus, it also shows the signal strength of each network, along with speed and reliability ratings from other users. Recommended networks -- those with the best security and speed ratings -- show up first. There's even a map view to guide you to safe, reliable hotspots nearby.

MobileDay

MobileDay saves time when you have a conference call to make on the road. The free app looks through your calendar and reminds you about upcoming calls, then, with one tap, it automatically enters the required digits -- dial-in numbers, IDs, passcodes and all. You can even send the other attendees a quick note if you're running late. After testing a full day of calls, we found the app made our day much smoother. One caveat: Instead of direct dial, calls made with MobileDay are routed through the company's private network and may incur charges for those without unlimited long-distance calling.

Gogobot

This is not your typical "deals" app. Gogobot, which is free, uses your current location (or you can search for any city) to suggest places to eat and things to do; drill down and you can see what other users have to say about local hotels, restaurants and more. You can join a "tribe" (like Business Travelers) to get recommendations geared toward your style of travel. A major perk? It's lightning fast.

A June update to the iOS app added an artificial intelligence component that takes weather conditions, time of day and other changing factors into account when making recommendations. As of this writing, that AI enhancement has not been added to the Android app.

Expensify

One of the major pains of business travel is keeping track of all your expenses. That's why we like Expensify's SmartScan feature: It lets you simply take pictures of your receipts as you go along to automatically create expenses (complete with date, vendor and amount) that you can add to an expense report throughout your trip. From the app you can also add and edit expenses, track your time, track your mileage and create an expense from it. Optionally, the app can sync to your credit card for automatic transaction import.

Expensify's business plans offer many more features, including expense approvals from the app, corporate expense policy integration and the ability to sync with QuickBooks and other tools. Individuals can use Expensify for free; business plans start at $5 per user per month. Note that with the free account, you get only 10 SmartScans per month, although you can still upload as many receipts as you want and enter the expense info manually. With the paid plans, each user gets an unlimited number of SmartScans.

Hopper

Hopper takes the guesswork out of flight booking, particularly if you have a little flexibility. The free app lets you quickly search for a flight using your current location. Color coding shows price ranges for given dates, so it's easy to spot cheaper options. When we used it to find flights from Minneapolis to San Francisco, it uncovered a few dates with much lower fares. Hopper also predicts the best time to buy tickets and sends push notifications when prices drop.

FlightView Flight Tracker

FlightView's Flight Tracker is a powerful... well, flight-tracking app. You can either type in your flight number (or route) or forward your flight confirmation email to trips@flightview.com to automatically add it to your saved trips. The $1 app shows your terminal and gate, any flight or airport delay information, real-time flight-tracking with a radar weather overlay, the weather in your destination city and the baggage claim information. It can also send you real-time flight status notifications, give driving directions to the airport, and show you the location and flight status of the plane you'll be getting on if it's coming from another location. And like all of the apps we selected for this roundup, FlightView is fast.

There's an ad-supported free version of Flight Tracker, but we don't recommend it; the ads can be annoying and slow things down. There's also a $4 Elite version that adds arrival and departure boards for top airports, but we think the main Flight Tracker app offers the best bang for the buck.

LoungeBuddy

Your flight is delayed; now the waiting begins. A good tip? Make the wait more comfortable by finding an airport lounge with LoungeBuddy. Enter your frequent flier accounts, elite statuses, airline credit cards and so on into the free app, then plug in your trip itinerary. LoungeBuddy shows you which lounges you can enter for free at the airport you're in. You can also browse fee-based lounges and check out amenities, photos and star ratings from other travelers before you pay to enter.

Original article: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3094124/mobile-apps/10-travel-apps-to-smooth-your-next-business-trip.html#slide1 

EliteMeetings.com: Meet Well- Travel Products For Time-Crunched Planners

If there’s one thing planners don’t have a lot of, it’s time to spare, so anything that will save us a few minutes worth of travel-related hassles is a welcome addition. Here are a few problem-solving, time-saving must-have innovations to help make life on the road a little more manageable:

Jackets- that keep your valuables safer on the TSA line

Nobody enjoys watching their cash, wallet, passport and boarding passes roll away on the conveyor belt in a wide-open open bin, while you’re stuck waiting to go thru the body scanner (and praying no one steals your stuff). So what’s the workaround? Stick your valuables in a specially designed jacket instead and send ‘em down the belt with confidence:

-Try a sleek black travel vest or jacket by ScottVest, the granddaddy of security-conscious travel clothing. All of their clothes come tricked out with dozens of special, zippered pockets to keep your valuables out of sight and away from sticky fingers.

-More of a hoodie-wearing hipster type? Then check out newcomer Baubax. They offer four different styles – blazer, bomber, windbreaker and sweatshirt – with plenty of geek-friendly pockets, plus a built-in eye mask and inflatable neck pillow that’s perfect for impromptu power-naps.

Luggage- that’s virtually impossible to lose.

One way not to lose your luggage? Don’t check it. Ever. A good idea in theory, but for planners traveling with event materials and a professional-looking wardrobe, checking luggage is, more often than not, inevitable. So how to get a little peace of mind with your checked luggage? Add built-in tracking devices – so you’ll know where your stuff is even if the airline doesn’t. Among the big players in the trackable luggage-sphere:

-The brand-new Barracuda: a tech-smart, easy-to-store, collapsible roll-aboard with built-in USB charger, a swiveling circular handle, an adjustable-height fold-out laptop/dining tray, and smart features like GSM-GPRS location tracking and Bluetooth proximity sensing so you can avoid the carousel crowd, anticipate your bag’s location, and step up moments before it appears.

The Bluesmart roll-aboard: equipped with several features that let you track its location, plus a digital locking system, an external laptop pocket, built-in scale, and a digital alert system should you accidentally leave your luggage behind.

-Rather not carry any luggage at all? Then consider Dufl.com, a new premium, luxury service that packs and ships your suitcase (round-trip) for you – and even dry cleans and stores your duds between trips, for a price, of course.

A travel mug- that brews its own coffee.

If you’ve ever stumbled around a hotel at 5 a.m. desperate for coffee before heading out to a pre-dawn event set-up, you know the pain of a caffeine-free start to the day. Well, suffer no more because now there’s the battery-operated, self-brewing Hey Joe Travel Mug to help get you fully caffeinated, no matter what time your planning day begins. To enjoy your cup of Joe on demand, anywhere, anytime, just add water, slip in a biodegradable coffee pod, hit the brew button and in about 4 minutes, your fresh-brewed, Joe-on-the-go is served – all for about a quarter of what you might pay at a coffee bar.

Miniaturized makeup – that’s right-sized for travel.

Makeup. For most of us, it’s a necessary evil. So every time we head out on the road, we drag along overstuffed makeup bags packed with full-sized products and hope the TSA lets it all pass through. Even if you have pared down your makeup bag to the bare essentials, the stuff still winds up occupying more space than it should – but no more, thanks to Stowaways Cosmetics ‘Stowaway Kit.’ Featuring six “right sized” products, each of which is about one-third the size of traditional cosmetics, the Stowaway Kit comes with everything you need to hit the road in style, including: a BB cream foundation, concealer, cheek color, lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara.

Original article: 

http://blog.elitemeetings.com/2016/03/travel-products-for-time-crunched-planners/

Fortune Magazine: This Travel Startup Will Launder Your Clothes and Pack Your Bag

Personal valet app DUFL lets you pack your luggage remotely in under a minute

Imagine having an assistant who, at the touch of a button, will launder and press your business clothing, fold everything neatly, pack it in your suitcase, and then arrange to have it delivered to your hotel before you arrive and picked up when you leave. No time wasted packing, no waiting in lines at the airport to check bags, no hotel laundry fees. That’s essentially how DUFL works.

From its management facility in Tempe, Ariz., DUFL’s small staff of 25 will photograph, inventory, and professionally clean your clothes, then pack them alongside your shoes and full-size toiletries before shipping everything to your destination. When you open the DUFL app to begin a new trip, you tap on the items in your DUFL “closet” to choose what you want delivered. The online clothing and luggage handler says it has served nearly 10,000 registered users since it launched in May 2015.

DUFL caters mostly to business travelers, executives, and celebrities, and each trip costs $99, in addition to a $10 monthly storage fee for each personal closet. The per-trip fee includes three-day domestic shipping via FedEx FDX 1.26% and all laundry service. International trips and overnight service incur extra fees, and a 24/7 concierge service handles any unusual problems, such as a late arrival or redirected flights.

“Our users say it saves them money. They don’t have to pay baggage fees, and they don’t have to pay for dry cleaning,” says CEO and founder Bill Rinehart.

Users are also treated to surprises in every suitcase. DUFL Bits are samples of consumer products, such as Kind Bars, Alford & Hoff fragrances, and haircare and skincare items from Kevin.Murphy and Sunology. If they like the freebies, travelers also have the option to purchase more via DUFL’s website.

Since the majority of its users are traveling for business, the company has also partnered with Concur to help users file work-related expenses more easily. And earlier this year it began handling sports gear, such as golf clubs, fishing poles, and skis, since many users said they are looking to extend work trips to include leisure activities. DUFL also plans to open a second facility on the East Coast later this year to accommodate its large number of users who fly in and out of New York City.

The real value of DUFL, says the company, is the time saved. “Per roundtrip, at least three hours is spent packing and unpacking. If you travel twice a month, that’s three days a year,” explains the company’s chief marketing officer, Andrea Graziani, who says 89% of users report that DUFL is life changing.

“I don’t have to gate-check anything. It gives me a lot of freedom that I didn’t have before,” says health care consultant Debbe McCall, who travels twice a month and began using the app a year ago and says she will never travel again without using DUFL. “As a heart patient, I don’t need any more stress while traveling. Between this and TSA PreCheck, flying is fun again.”

A version of this article appears in the July 1, 2016 issue of Fortune with the headline “Never Pack Your Bags Again.” http://fortune.com/2016/07/01/dufl-luggage-valet-service/

Travel + Leisure: The Spotlight- What’s the Future of Business Travel

Business travel is finally becoming about more than just an airplane cabin class and cushy airport lounges. According to Fortune magazine Senior Editor Christopher Tkaczyk advancing technology has created countless opportunities for start-ups to focus on the unique needs and demands of business travelers.

Roam, for example, is a new company that allows digital nomads to live in cities across the globe. If you’re not tethered to an office and can work remotely, Roam could provide you with a fully furnished Victorian home in Little Havana, Miami, or a dreamy abode in Ubud, Bali. A third location in Madrid is on its way, with as many as 10 properties on the map by 2017. Proof that you can actually have fun on a “business trip.”

Of course, even the most traditional office job could require a lot of travel. And while savvy road warriors may be stubbornly lugging their bags through security, rather than checking, there’s a new alternative called DUFL that will literally set you free from hauling luggage.

With this year-old app, travelers pay to have someone pack their bag for them. As Tkaczyk clarifies, a packing expert is not going to physically appear at your door the night before a business trip. Instead, a warehouse keeps your business travel wardrobe on hands, and for $100 per trip, will pack and ship your belongings to your destination: be it a conference or paradise.

Like DUFL, Roam is targeting a specific (and affluent) market, largely executives and CEOs. To flit between Madrid, Bali, Miami, and more, you’ll need to be willing to spend $1,800 a month — not including food, airfare, and other activities. Then again, if you’re paying New York City rent, that sounds downright affordable.

Original article: http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/business-travel-innovations-spotlight

Forbes: Would You Use An Airport Butler?

For some readers, this article will be moot: those hardened road warriors that have made a game of streamlining their carry-on luggage into a ninja sport carry their own luggage and wouldn’t dream of letting anyone near their finely honed travel arrangements.

The rest of the population, however, may think otherwise. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that last glass of champagne rather than organizing packing duties? Who needs to envision the dreariness of planning when the exchange of mere money may buy you that extra time by the wave pool? For those dreamers and loungers, here are three of the indignities of travel that you can have whisked off your plate.

Leave packing to the pros: I’ve known people who travel the globe regularly, undaunted and unafraid, yet are paralyzed with indecision at the prospect of assembling a travel wardrobe. Travel app Dufl is no mere packing checklist — does anyone actually use those anymore? — but instead, a virtual closet where your clothes are stored and with a mere few taps of a mouse, your wardrobe is selected, cleaned and delivered to your travel destination. Should your hotel lack a butler to press and pack your clothes for you after your trip is done, you can call and schedule Dufl to pick up, clean and return your clothes to their virtual hangers.

Plan for the unkown:Think planning a destination is just too pedestrian? Lufthansa Surprise lets travelers pick a mood — from romance, partying and culture to (sigh) bromance — and enter their dates and the airline will keep the destination a mystery until you fly from Frankfurt or Munich.

Handle with care:Airport butlers can spare you countless travel tears by saving you from the backache of that overpacked bag, greeting you at the gate with orchids and vitamin water to lift your mood, or provide security teams to protect you from the bright lights of paparazzi flashes. The Vancouver-based service has been available at the Vancouver International Airport since 2013, and touched down in San Francisco International Airport recently. It may be expanding throughout North America shortly.

And if you can’t even bear the thought of sharing air with hoi polloi in the terminal, consider the VIP Select option at Delta’s Terminal 5 at the Los Angeles Airport, which allows celebrities to be whisked by Porsche ngIf: ticker from the tarmac through a secret underground area to safety from prying eyes and paparazzi. Although once you’ve reached a certain level of outsourcing your travel, perhaps it’s just easier on everyone to stay home.

Original article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lesliewu/2016/05/31/king-of-the-road-four-things-to-outsource-on-your-next-vacation/#7f4b5d9c6f24

Fox10 Phoenix: DUFL- Arizona Company Packs & Ships Suitcases
Travel + Leisure: The Spotlight: What’s the Future of Travel Entrepreneurship?

As part of Travel + Leisure’s new technology and innovations vertical, The Grid, we’re rolling out a video series all about the ideas, products, and people shaping the future of travel. First up: senior editor at Fortune on the exciting things happening in travel entrepreneurship.

In many ways, the travel business is ripe fruit for coders and entrepreneurs. According to Christopher Tkaczyk, a senior editor at Fortune magazine, app-makers are continually developing tech to soothe some of the industry's biggest headaches. After all, with just a few taps on a smartphone, travelers can now switch their seats on a flight, renew their passports, or identify geographical features outsides their plane windows.

Tkaczyk points out that there are near-endless opportunities for young creators and thinkers to develop niche services.

An example he mentions—it's one of our favorites, too—is Seateroo, an app that allows airplane passengers to bid for a better seat. Desperate for an aisle seat, or just want to put a little more space between you and the lavatory? Just download the free app, and see who on your flight is willing to trade his or her throne for a bit of extra cash. Rates could be as low as $5.

As Tkaczyk explains, entrepreneurs entering the industry largely focus on the problems of some subset of travelers. Huge companies, he notes, place all their chips on broad programs with wide appeal. Folks starting small businesses, meanwhile, can address the problems of smaller audiences—like dog owners looking to map out pet-friendly hotels in advance of a road trip, or well-heeled business travelers who never want to pack their own carry-on again.

“If you’ve identified an area where there’s a need,” says Tkaczyk, “there’s your business opportunity.”

Check out the full video here: http://www.travelandleisure.com/video/travel-entrepreneurship-spotlight

Advancingwomen.com: Who does it better? Men or women?

Business travel is different for everyone. Some of us plan well ahead, are completely organized and know exactly what we are going to pack and where each item goes in our suitcase, neatly folded and carefully placed. The rest of us pack 20 minutes before we have to leave for the airport, stuffing workout clothes in our shoes to maximize space in our carry-on, all the while hoping we haven’t forgotten anything. I can usually identify 3 things I’ve forgotten by the time I arrive at the airport.

But are there differences between the way men and women plan, prepare and pack for business travel? Is it fair to say that women are more organized and I just didn’t get the memo? Studies say that women purchase their airline tickets and book their hotels an average of 2 days earlier than men, and are typically more prepared and cost conscious. This may not seem like much, but equates to an average of about $113 in savings. While many women who travel frequently travel with a carry-on bag, there are still many who check their bags so that they can take full size toiletries, workout clothes, extra shoes and those other little items in order to be more comfortable on the road. All the while keeping in mind that the weight limit for the bag is 50lbs.

Let’s talk about stereotypes for a minute. The general perception is that women have larger closets, overpack when they travel and are better at packing than men. Conversely, women think that men can travel with one suit and three different shirts, wear comfortable shoes and don’t care about their hair and skin care products, making travel far less stressful.

Do these stereotypes hold water for road warriors? In general, road warriors (men and women), are great at streamlining travel. There is less of a gender gap in purchasing plane tickets early. The difference in ticket prices for seasoned road warriors drops to $2 in savings (vs. $113). These road warriors have a routine and know how to travel with the bare essentials so they don’t HAVE to check a bag- because doing so means they are spending additional time at the airport and leaving the fate of their suitcase in the hands of the airline.

Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprising) the sacrifices made for this frequent travel is a big stress point for many road warriors who not only dislike the time away from home, but also resent the disruption in their workout routines and the not so glamorous side of business travel. Packing, flight delays, lack of healthy food choices and fitness schedules, less than favorable hotels, waiting in lines at the airport and loss of productivity top the list of stress points while on the road – for both men and women.

But what happens if there are no restrictions on the size or weight of your suitcase, you could take full size toiletries without the hassle of checking your bag because the bag was waiting for you at the hotel? If someone else took care of the cleaning and packing would that change the dynamics of travel? Would there still be these stark differences between the sexes? Would frequent travelers be willing to let go?

As one of the co-founders of DUFL http://www.dufl.com/, a service that cleans, stores, packs and ships your business attire to your desired destination, I have the answers to those questions. When given the freedom to pack as many items as desired – behavior does shift over time. Initially, the women’s closets were larger. Some topping out at 150 items. Packing full size toiletries was a luxury for some women who didn’t want to check a bag, and a huge time savings for women who had checked their bag prior to using DUFL. A two week trip meant lugging two bags full of clothes and equipment to the airport for some ladies, very stressful and taxing in terms of laundry, packing, checking and retrieving those bags, and getting them to and from the hotel. Now these women pack as much as they want and sometimes have one bag arrive at the beginning of the first week, and a second bag arrive at the beginning of week two. Not only does this save time and stress, it also saved money on bag fees, laundry and dry cleaning and the ability to take smaller less expensive airlines because they were flying without large bags.

But what about the men? In the beginning, men’s closets were smaller. One, maybe two suits, a few dress shirts and the essentials. Their packlists for their trips still equated to a carry-on size. Boxes arrived from home with more clothes from their closets, and packages came directly from Nordstrom, Saks, Amazon, etc. adding new clothes directly to their closets. And then it happened. The men’s closets grew larger, several with over 200 items- exceeding the size of the women’s closets. Pack lists for trips became larger, suitcases became larger. Workout gear was added, full size toiletries (finally, good shaving cream) cologne, casual clothes, extra coats and shoes- even creature comforts like pillows and blankets and essentials like CPAP machines for sleep apnea.

So what does this mean? It means what we already knew. Being on the road isn’t glamorous. It’s often stressful and many do without essential items for the sake of efficiency. Perhaps women took more with them before DUFL because they weren’t willing to sacrifice in all areas, but they paid for it in other ways. Removing restrictions on the size and weight of the suitcase, eliminating the stress of packing, waiting in lines and lugging a bag with you to the airport and client meetings has shifted behavior for both men and women. It seems DUFL has become the great equalizer in the battle of the sexes.

Original article: http://www.advancingwomen.com/who-does-it-better-men-or-women/

New York Times: Too Much Baggage? How to Ship Your Luggage

Family vacations, especially multigenerational trips, can involve a lot of baggage, if only literally.

Last year, airlines in the United States made more than $3 billion in fees for checked luggage. But it’s not just the cost that can dampen a family trip; it’s hauling all those bags. Is there an easier way to get clothes, baby food, golf clubs and hiking boots to and from your destination?

Perhaps it’s time to consider a door-to-door luggage shipping service, be it a newcomer like DUFL that packs and dry-cleans your clothes for you, or a veteran like Luggage Forward that delivers your gear — even to a cruise ship. Such companies allow you to track your bags and travel with little more than a wallet and a mobile device.

Tempted by a package service like UPS? It’s not necessarily convenient. Will UPS pick up at your off-the-beaten path rental? And, honestly, do you want to be boxing up suitcases on vacation?

Below, a guide to the latest in luggage transport.

DUFL

Geared to business travelers, DUFL doesn’t just ship clothes: It stores, packs and dry-cleans them for you, too. After signing up through the app or website, you’re sent a suitcase (free to use as long as you’re a member of the service). You fill it with your usual gear — clothes, accessories and full-size toiletries if you like (aerosols are an exception) — and then use the app to schedule the bag to be picked up. You need not do this for every trip. DUFL stores your clothes and suitcase in a warehouse year-round.

The first time you send the company your packed suitcase, it photographs your items and creates a virtual online closet so you can see everything or read a description. Whenever you’re about to travel, use the app to select which items you’d like and when you would like the bag to arrive. Then DUFL packs and sends the bag to your hotel. When it’s time to leave, you schedule a pickup online, and DUFL takes the bag back to a warehouse, dry-cleans dirty clothes, and stores everything until the next time. If you ever want to add clothes by, say, buying something online on Amazon or Saks, you can have the items sent directly to DUFL where they will be photographed and added to your virtual closet. You can also pay to have your bag sent home to change the clothes inside, or just swap them out when you are on the road. Families are most likely to benefit from the DUFL Sports service, which allows members to store and ship items like surf boards, ski equipment, golf clubs and bikes — particularly handy for those with small homes.

Cost$9.95 a month for storage and $99 for each round trip (three-day shipping) within the United States, which includes dry-cleaning fees. Most deliveries are on weekdays; Saturdays cost extra. Overnight shipping is an additional $49.

DUFL International is available in Europe and Canada as well as business hubs in places including Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. Prices depend on locations.

DUFL Sports is $9.95 a month for a locker, which is large enough to hold several items, such as golf clubs and ski equipment. Standard three-day domestic shipping for golf clubs starts at about $75 round trip, including cleaning.

Bottom lineBest for business travelers, people who regularly travel with sports gear, and those who can be without certain wardrobe items (or own doubles). Note that not all international destinations are served. A spokeswoman for the company said that it hadn’t lost a bag yet but that if there is a delay in delivery, members are notified and can send more items from their closet, expedited at the company’s expense. There is no set-in-stone refund policy: Refunds for delays depend on the circumstances and vary case by case.

Luggage Forward

This company, which has acquired a number of experienced competitors, has been shipping clothes and sports gear like skis for more than 10 years. It’s also one of the more far-reaching players, shipping among hundreds of countries and territories worldwide, as well as to and from cruise ships and golf courses.

Pack your clothes in bags the same way you would for air travel and then have Luggage Forward pick them up from you. And the company will complete and submit all customs documentation. Within the United States, you can generally choose from overnight to seven business days from pickup to delivery.

CostTo send a standard bag (about 50 pounds) from New York to Miami in mid-June was $198 round trip for five-business-day shipping. Certain times of day and weekends cost more (cruise ships are an exception). You can price your bag at App.luggageforward.com/trips/new. Each bag and its contents are protected up to $500, though you can buy more insurance. If your bags do not arrive by the end of day on or before your scheduled delivery date, you’re refunded and reimbursed for incidental expenses up to $500 for each late bag.

Bottom lineEspecially appealing for cruise lovers, golfers, and those traveling internationally. All-inclusive pricing, including customs documentation, makes it easy to ship and stick to a budget. And the guarantee offers peace of mind. To get the best prices, ship about a week in advance.

Send My Bag

Last summer, this popular Britain-based luggage service introduced shipping within the United States. SendMyBag.com pickups typically take place on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Or you can choose from more than 5,000 drop-off locations nationwide.

CostSending a 66-pound bag round trip between New York and Miami was $140 (for five to six-business-day shipping), according to a recent price quote. A bag up to 44 pounds was $117 round-trip. Each bag is insured for $250. You can increase that, though, to $450 for $4.50, $850 for $8.50 and so on up to $2,500 per bag. If you ship your bag Express (two to three business days) and it doesn’t arrive on time, the company credits your account with half the transit costs (if the delay is two or more working days, those costs are refunded).

Bottom lineGood prices, and you can buy more insurance. The current collection window for domestic services is long, which may be tough for some travelers. However, the company is rolling out shorter windows for domestic services this summer.

The Verdict

If you’re checking only a bag or two and you’re on a budget, go with the airline. Airlines’ fees for the first bag are typically affordable. For those traveling in the main cabin of a flight within the United States, the first checked bag on American Airlines or Delta Air Lines is $25 one way. The second is $35 one way. And there are several ways around those fees. For instance, if you have an airline credit card, your first checked bag is usually free.

But that doesn’t save you from having to carry your luggage to the airport, to your lodgings and back again. If you plan to check more than two bags, or very heavy or oversize bags, use a shipping service. It’s likely to cost the same or less. Checking a third bag on a domestic flight on American, for example, is $150 one way. Four or more checked bags cost $200 each, one way.

If you do ship, be aware of any potential pitfalls like a last-minute trip change, which could mean that your luggage arrives in one place while you’re in another.

Then again, that’s been known to happen on airlines too.

Original article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/05/travel/how-to-ship-your-luggage.html?_r=0

MarketWatch.com: 3,000 Bags to Miss Their Flights in a Single Day in Phoenix

Here’s how to hold onto your bag the next time you fly

On Thursday, a technical issue with the TSA’s automated bag screening system caused roughly 3,000 bags to miss their outbound flights in Phoenix. And while the TSA says the bag-screening system is now functioning again, many passengers are likely wondering: Just how likely is it that my bag will get lost or delayed on a future flight?

The rate of mishandled bags is 6.53 per 1,000 passengers, down slightly from the year prior, according to a report from SITA, an aviation communications and technology company that tracks airline baggage performance. Still, that means more than 23 million bags were delayed, damaged, pilfered, lost or stolen under the airline industry’s watch last year -- and SITA says of the issue “baggage handling continues to be one of the single largest bottlenecks to a streamlined passenger process .”

Most of these mishandled bags (roughly 8 in 10) were simply delayed (though, admittedly that’s little consolation to the traveler who ends up at her destination with nothing to wear) — though 15% are damaged or pilfered (meaning items are taken from bags), and 6% (that’s roughly 1.3 million bags) are permanently lost or stolen.

What’s more, the average time it takes to get a missing bag back to the traveler is now 1.76 days, up from 1.6 last year, SITA reveals.

Of course, airlines have policies to compensate passengers for lost or damaged luggage. The policies typically provide domestic passengers a maximum of $3,400 for a lost bag and its contents and some monies for delayed bags that allow the person to buy replacement clothing, says George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com. However, the policies typically do not cover items like jewelry and electronics, and you may need to produce receipts to get compensation. And if you’re flying internationally, the compensation for lost bags is typically much lower, he adds.

Thus, you’re far better off if they never lose (temporarily or permanently) your bags at all. So here’s how to help prevent mishandled baggage:

Ship your bags.

One of the best ways to make sure the airlines don’t lose your bags is to never entrust them with your bags in the first place. Hobica says that you may want to consider shipping your bags via UPS or FedEx — both companies have luggage boxes — which can, in some cases, cost roughly the same as checking your bag, and have excellent tracking systems. “They’re very reliable,” says Michelle Weller, the vice president of sales and customer support for travel agent network Travel Leaders in Houston. “If you have an overweight bag, you might as well ship it.”

The added bonus of using these methods is that you can get extra insurance relatively inexpensively for valuables like pricey jewelry and electronics that standard airline lost-bag compensation won’t cover, Hobica says. But beware, your bags can easily get snagged in customs if you’re shipping internationally and shipping can in many cases be pricier than checking, says Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of ThePointsGuy.com.

In addition, a host of new services help you ship bags. With SendMyBag.com, you can ship your luggage to nearly anywhere in the world (prices vary, but when you consider the sky-high fees for putting things like golf clubs or skis on a plane, it can sometimes be cheaper to do this); the company claims that 99.5% of its express deliveries arrive on time).

With DUFL — which targets frequent business travelers — your wardrobe is stored in a warehouse and when you’re ready for your trip, you let them know which items you’ll want (you shop your virtual closet on your smartphone) and they get them delivered to your hotel; at the end of the trip, they pick up your clothes, clean them and store them in the warehouse again. The service costs $99 per trip, plus $9.95 per month to store the clothes.

Track your bag yourself.

There are a number of tracking devices — including products like TrackDot and LugLoc — that passengers can place on or in their bags so they can know where their bags are at all times. Often, these devices use RFID tags, radio transmitters or GPS to help you locate your bag and usually cost about $50 plus a small annual service fee or trace fee. There is a comprehensive review of these products here. Kelly calls these devices “a great idea” but warns that as with any technology, there’s a risk that they won’t work.

Shrink your luggage so it fits in the overhead bin.

Even when you pack light, you can’t always fit everything in one carry-on. But there are a variety of new devices to help you do that, including the Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes and Clever Cache, both of which compress your luggage so you can easily fit it in the overhead bin.

Manage your own baggage tags.

It’s simple to do but many of us, harried as we often are at the airport, don’t do it. “Travelers should always look at the checked bag receipt [this shows the airport code your bag is going to] they get from the airport agent or kiosk,” says Kim Gray, owner of Travel Leaders in North Olmsted, Ohio. If it’s not going to your final destination, have the gate agent re-tag your bag, she says. Plus, you should “keep these receipts as they are coded and can be tracked at all airports if your bag is delayed,” she adds.

Gray says another big mistake people make is that they leave old baggage tags on their luggage, which can confuse gate agents looking to scan your bag tags.

Check in early.

“If you want to limit the loss of luggage make sure you check in as early as possible,” notes Weller. This can help prevent mistakes by gate agents who are rushing to get your bags onboard. Kelly says it is ideal for your bags to check in between 1 ½ to 3 hours before your flight.

Use a distinctive bag.

Hobica says that it’s important to use a distinctive bag (think lime green) for two reasons: 1) it’s less likely that someone can get away with stealing your bag or picking up your bag by accident, and 2) if the airline does lose your bag somewhere, it will be easier for them to spot.

Original article: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-ways-to-keep-the-airlines-from-losing-your-luggage-2015-07-30

CNBC.com: A mobile wardrobe for business travelers?

DUFL founder and CEO Bill Rinehard explains how the firm manages clients' wardrobe, including sending clothes to their travel destinations.

Click here to see the video:  http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000513577

Press Release: DUFL Offers Their Frequent Travelers Free Product Samples

DUFL Bits Program Provides Customers with Free Gift While Traveling

TEMPE, AZ- April 19,2016- Thanks to DUFL, a premier travel service that stores, launders, presses, packs and delivers road trip wardrobes across the US and to international business hubs, road warriors are breezing through airports around the globe completely luggage-free. In addition to saving time and eliminating the stress of packing, DUFL customers also receive a free product to sample in their suitcase.

Every trip, DUFL provides customers with a complimentary gift in their DUFL suitcase called DUFL Bits. Participating partners provide product samples as DUFL Bits gifts, and DUFL customers benefit by trying items such as skin creams, protein bars, hair products, cologne samples and even battery powered toothbrushes. Participating companies appear on the DUFL.com DUFL Bits page with a direct link back to the partner company’s website along with a short company description to introduce customers to the brand.

In many cases, partner companies offer a promotional card to be included with each sample with a description of the company and a special DUFL Bits promo code to entice customers to purchase more of the product they sampled.

“Since our launch, DUFL has delivered bags for frequent business travelers in more than 500 U.S. cities and 14 countries and has an extremely high customer retention rate,” says Andrea Graziani, Chief Marketing Officer at DUFL. “Let’s face it, frequent business travel is often tedious and far from glamorous. We wanted to offer our users a free gift and an opportunity to try something new while they are on the road. Additionally, companies can drive product awareness through sampling and take advantage of an incredibly valuable marketing opportunity. It doesn’t seem to matter whether our users are CEO’s, celebrities, consultants or sales or marketing professionals, they all look forward to their DUFL Bits items when they travel.”

Current DUFL Bits partners can be found at www.dufl.com/dufl-bits.

Companies interested in becoming a DUFL Bits partner can send an email to duflbits@dufl.com to get started. To learn more about DUFL, please visit www.dufl.com.

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to roam untethered. Our secure, sophisticated platform delivers your bag where and when you need it. With each use your clothing is cleaned how you like it and prepared for your next trip. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

Mashable.com: 8 Apps to Make Your Next Flight Better

We often forget it, but flying is a luxury — a luxury that can bring out the worst in even the most agreeable traveler.

From finding out that prices dropped the day after you bought tickets to dealing with delays, there are countless ways for flight plans to go awry.

Because dealing with airlines can become so frustrating, a pack of third parties have emerged to solve almost every problem that befalls frazzled travelers.

Except that annoying passenger hogging the armrest. There’s no solution for him- yet.

Saving Money Hopper offers predictions on the right time to book. Hopper can relieve travelers of that nagging suspicion they might have saved money on airfare had they only waited one more week.

It seems like airline fees pop up in the most unexpected places. Know exactly what is and is not included with Routehappy, eliminating any surprise fees at the airport.

Change fees are such a headache that a microcosm of companies have popped up to help travelers who might need to change a flight. For customers that are unsure of whether or not to buy a flight for fear of plans changing, there are a few solutions.

With Flyr, customers buy seven days of airfare protection. If the fare goes down, customers pocket the savings.

Options Away offers customers a hold on prices for 2, 3, 7 or 14 days. If the airfare drops within the selected time, customers pay the lower fee. If not, they pay the original price.

Complaining Complaints in the airline industry increased 30% in 2015, according to the Department of Transportation. But that doesn't mean there were 30% more resolutions. Although they say if you want something done right, do it yourself, sometimes the most effective course of action is to turn to the professionals.

AirHelp can get passengers compensation when a flight has been significantly delayed. The company also ranks airlines on performance, which is useful when booking a trip.

Service is the jack of all trades of complaining. Although they deal with any customer service complaint to any company, they are keen on helping with airlines issues — from lost luggage to flight cancelations.

Upgrades DUFL is for people who hate dealing with luggage. The service, developed with business travel in mind, allows customers to override an airline's luggage rules. It collects any items travelers want to bring on a trip and ships them direct to their hotel. When the trip is done, travelers leave their suitcase at the hotel and DUFL ships it back to a holding location until the next trip.

LoungeBuddy opens the arcane world of airport lounges to everyone, even those in economy. Although many think that lounges are for first-class passengers or frequent fliers only, the service links travelers with options they probably hadn't even considered.

Original article: http://mashable.com/2016/04/16/third-party-help-airlines/#5zTQVfNaL8qi

BusinessInsider.com: 11 Apps that Can Help You Get Through The Airport As Quickly As Possible

Navigating through an airport can be frustrating at times, especially when you're dealing with the long lines and delays that are common during busy seasons.

Thankfully, there are apps that are designed to helps travelers get in and out of the airport as quickly as possible.

We've come up with a list of 11 apps that can save you time at the airport, from apps that can give you up-to-date information on security lines to those that will let you pre-order a meal for pick up.

Mobile Passport

Officially authorized by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Mobile Passport app lets you skip the customs and border protection lines at US airports.

Simply fill out your profile and answer four of the CBP's questions. Once they receive your data, you can go straight to the "Mobile Passport Control" express lane at the airport.

AirGrub

AirGrub lets you pre-order your meal for pick up once you arrive at the airport.

Simply enter your airline or flight number to see which eateries are available, choose a pick-up time, and head to the "AirGrub VIP Pick Up" sign when you arrive to get your food.

AirGrub is currently available at JFK in New York, Logan Airport in Boston, and SFO in San Francisco.

My TSA

My TSA answers frequently asked security questions, including what you can and cannot bring in your bag, ID requirements, and tips from the TSA on what to pack and wear to get through security fast.

It also tells you which airlines support TSA PreCheck and how you can sign up, in addition to giving you approximate wait times for security checkpoints.

GateGuru

GateGuru acts as a comprehensive guide to your flight and the airport you're flying out of.

The app keeps you updated on flight delays, gate changes, layover time adjustments, security wait times, and amenities available at your airport.

MiFlight

MiFlight gives you estimates on the security wait time you can expect once you arrive at the airport.

The information is based on crowdsourced data from travelers across 75 airports. Simply select your airport to be given your estimate, so that you know when you should arrive to make your flight in time.

AirportParkingReservation

The AirportParkingReservations app can get you discounts as high as 70% when you book a parking spot straight through your phone. That way, you don't have to spend time trying to find a spot once you arrive at the airport. The app is currently focused on airport parking in the US, Canada, and the UK.

TripIt

With TripIt, simply forward your flight, hotel, or restaurant confirmation emails to the app, and it will create a master itinerary for you.

The app also provides flight alerts, alternate flight options in case of cancellations, and alerts for when better seats open up on your flight.

FlightTrack5

With FlightTrack 5, you can access information about your gate, aircraft type, delay forecasts, real-time departures, and alternate flights in the event your flight is canceled.

The app works by having you sign up for a Tripdeck account, which automatically populates your flight info based on confirmation emails.

Airport Transit Guide

Once you're off of your flight, use the Airport Transit Guide app to determine the cheapest and quickest way to get to your destination from the airport.

The app uses data from Salk International's Airport Transit Guide to provide travel times and prices for taxis, buses, shuttles, limos, private cars, trains, ferries, and helicopters across more than 460 airports.

App in the Air

App in the Air advertises itself as "your personal flying assistant", thanks to features that include up-to-date flight info, airport tips, in-airport navigation maps, and updates on gate changes and flight status that's delivered via SMS to avoid data roaming.

The app also includes tips from other passengers on where to eat or access Wi-Fi, and a quick links section for booking a cab or express train from the airport.

DUFL

This app lets you travel bag-free. Once you sign up, you'll pack your luggage once and ship the items to their warehouse.

For future trips, you can simply select what you'd like to pack from your virtual closet, which is basically an inventory of these items, and the company will clean, pack, and ship your bag to your final destination for you.

Original article: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-best-apps-to-have-at-the-airport-2016-4

USAToday.com: Don’t Make These Tech Travel Mistakes

I travel a ton—as much as 10,000 miles a month for work—which means I've made a whole slew of tech-related travel mistakes over the years. The good news is, now you don’t have to. Here are my top ten tech-related travel gaffes all in one place, so that you can learn from my mistakes and have the best trip ever (whether for business or pleasure).

Mistake #1: Not Packing (Enough) Power

Dead batteries are the worst, especially if you need your smartphone to connect, navigate, and share. I’ve learned over the years that there’s no such thing as too much back-up power. I bring my wall charger, at least one additional charging cable (to plug into my laptop or a hotel TV USB port when I run out of outlets), a multi-outlet plug, portable charger, and if I’m going to be driving, a car charger too. Of course, if you’re traveling overseas, you might need to grab an outlet adapter. Belkin makes reliable wall and car chargers while the tiny Travelcard charger ($30) offers extra power without extra bulk. Whatever you carry, be sure to pack it neatly and label everything, so you don't wind up with a confusing mess. For that, I use a basic Grid-It ($15) organizer.

Mistake #2: Relying on Airplane Earbuds or Smartphone Speakers

Headphones are essential for rocking any trip—and airplane handouts definitely don't cut it. Instead, pick up the Zagg Flex Arc Wireless headset ($100). This sleek, lightweight wearable has retractable earbuds and connects via Bluetooth, so there are no cables or cords to get tangled in. Plus, the Flex Arc doubles as a wireless boombox, with 13mm external speakers that deliver rich, full sound to liven up the mood anywhere you go.

Mistake #3: Not Bringing a Real Camera

Loading up your smartphone with every vacation video and photo isn’t so smart: Snapping lots of pictures runs your battery down and eats up your storage space. It’s easier than ever now to pick up a real camera without breaking your budget. One new device is the Now Cam ($130) which lets you point, shoot, capture, save and share your memories via Wi-Fi. It sports a 120° wide-angle camera for still photos, 6-second video bursts, and continuous video, and comes with a compact speaker with built-in mic to make sure you never miss a moment. The waterproof GoPro Hero4 ($500) is more of a splurge, but it’s also a great go-to for capturing magical moments—though be sure download often or add storage, as it often fills up faster than you expect!

Mistake #4: Running Out of Storage Space

Speaking of your precious memories, don't run out of room on your mobile devices with the Leef Bridge ($30) for Android ($30) or the Leef iBridge for iPhone ($60). Both of these tiny mobile memory gadgets plug into your smartphone or tablet to add up to 256GB of memory—that’s a lot of vacation awesome-ness! This is the perfect solution to increase storage capacity and continue capturing videos and photos on the go. Paired with Leef’s MobileMemory app (Free), you can also carry your entire movie or music library along without taking up any space on your iOS device. I love this.

Mistake #5: Not Keeyping an Eye on the House

Having smart home gadgets monitoring the house is great when you’re in town, but when you're on vacation you need something that can call for help on its own. Enter LivSecure ($35/month), a high-tech home security system that pairs window and door sensors, lights, smoke detectors, and more with 24/7 professional monitoring. Whether you're near or far, LivSecure sends you real-time alerts and lets you check in from a computer, phone, or tablet anywhere that you have Internet access. But what’s even better, is that if a fire breaks out or burglar breaks in, LivSecure calls authorities right away. This is huge and solves a problem a lot of people are worried about. In a recent Harris Poll, 93% of people said they want alarm systems to notify emergency responders immediately when something happens. LivSecure also lets you remotely arm your system, turn lights on and off and keep your home or apartment just as safe (or safer) as when you’re at home.

Mistake #6: Using Your Phone Overseas

If you're traveling internationally, jumping online with your smartphone can mean a huge bill—but don’t panic, because there are ways around it. The easiest—but not cheapest—option is to call your carrier and get a plan featuring international service. If you have Google's newest Nexus phones, the company offers budget-friendly cell service with international connectivity, and if you have an unlocked phone, an international SIM card lets you prepay for service with your existing phone. For everyone else, look for a prepaid phone with service wherever you're traveling.

Mistake #7: Not Having the Right Apps

No one wants to spend their vacation downloading things, so before you go, load up your phone with everything you need. At the airport, Flio helps you navigate and connect to Wi-Fi while Loungebuddy is the simplest way to get into airport lounges. For getting around, Google Maps lets you look up destinations and tells you when they're busiest white Moovit offers public transit directions to get there. And don't forget travel guides and phrasebooks!

Mistake #8: Not Calling Your Bank

Practically all of us use credit or debit cards when we travel, which means it's crucial to call your bank to let them know you're leaving town. It only takes a few minutes—most banks offer easy options to do this on the phone or online—and it prevents the bank from locking up your card when they see it being used from different locale. I forget to do this every work trip, and it’s so embarrassing to stand at a register and call my bank. No matter how often it happens, my cheeks still turn beet-red every time. Plus, nothing ruins your vacation faster than not having any spending money.

Mistake #9: Not Being Able to Carry What you Need

No one wants to lug a bulky purse around on vacation—plus it’s a target for theft. A jacket or vest from Scottevest lets you carry everything you need, from your tablet to your water bottle. Some of their products also block RFID which prevents high-tech scammers from grabbing your credit card or passport information without even picking your pocket. One word of advice though—buy one size bigger than you normally wear. I wear a women’s small, but the fit is snug enough that you can see a lot of the gadgets through the material. A baggier fit helps hide your precious gadgets even more.

Mistake #10: Missing Out on the Right Luggage

A great bag can make travel so much easier. For the gadget-obsessed, the Bluesmart suitcase charges your smartphone and can be tracked using an app—no more lost luggage. If you fly so frequently packing has become a hassle, DUFL lets you pack your bag once, and then send it to DUFL. Just enter your next trip in the DUFL app and your bag’s waiting at your hotel—when it’s time to go, DUFL will pick up your bag and launder your clothes so you’re ready for the next trip. Easy!

Bonus Tip: Consider Unplugging!

I just returned from my first “real” vacation in five years, and I didn’t take my laptop out of my luggage the entire week I was away. That’s a huge first for me, but remember—it's a vacation—and sometimes just unplugging and recharging your own batteries is the best advice of all!

Original article: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2016/04/13/dont-make-these-tech-travel-mistakes/82932270/

BusinessInsider.com: 16 Free Apps That Will Change The Way You Travel

Having the right apps on your phone can drastically improve your travel experience.

There are some that can help you find hidden gems or even efficiently navigate through the airport.

In the last few years, a slew of apps have gained attention for tackling problems travelers commonly face.

From an app that does your packing to one that connects you to free Wi-Fi, here are 16 new apps you should download for your next trip.

ItsEasy Passport Renewal & Photo App

ItsEasy is the world's first passport-renewal app.

You can use your phone to take your photos before mailing in the filled-out forms and receiving your new passport directly from the government.

It was created by government-verified company ItsEasy.com and also has embassy and visa information that'll come in handy when you're abroad.

Hopper

This app has a price-prediction function that analyzes billions of flights to provide data-driven advice on when you should fly and buy.

It claims to have 95% accuracy in predicting flight prices and will monitor fares 24/7 to alert you when a good deal comes up. Average consumers have seen savings as high as $1,300.

DUFL

With Dufl, you need to pack only once and you'll be ready to go on your next trip. When customers sign up for the app, they'll be sent a Dufl suitcase to pack their clothes into.

Once the bag is picked up, the Dufl team will take inventory of your items. You can schedule your trip within the app and select which items you'd like to use from your inventory.

This app makes packing a breeze.

AirGrub

To make getting food at the airport easier, try AirGrub, which lets you preorder your meal for pickup.

Simply enter your flight number to see which eateries are available for preordering, choose a pickup time, and head to the "AirGrub VIP Pick Up" sign when you arrive to get your food.

The app is currently available at JFK in New York, Logan Airport in Boston, and SFO in San Francisco.

Wiffinity

This app allows users to find and connect to Wi-Fi locations while traveling without the worry of roaming charges.

With access to more than 300,000 Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide, the app allows you to search through a GPS feature before connecting you to free Wi-Fi via encrypted passwords.

TripScope

Released in 2013, TripScope is a one-stop shop for all of your travel needs.

The app connects you with a travel agent who can book, confirm, and organize a personalized trip for you, with your itinerary information stored in the app. That way, they can alert you if any changes arise.

Great Little Place

Great Little Place helps you find hidden gems in various cities, based on places recommended by frequent visitors.

Whether you're in New York, London, Cape Town, San Francisco, Dublin, or Sydney, the app can help you navigate the best restaurants, bars, pubs, and coffee shops that are off the beaten path.

LuckyTrip

With LuckyTrip, set your budget and let the app do the rest for you.

It accesses the best flight prices from Skyscanner, the hotel deals fromBooking.com, and handpicked experiences in over 300 destinations around the world.

Flio

Flio is your go-to app for airport layovers.

It automatically connects you to free Wi-Fi, keeps you up to date with departure and arrival times, and offers discounts on food, shopping, and airport lounges.

It's designed to work in every major airport and gives users access to more than 65 global airport lounges with same-day rates.

MiFlight

MiFlight provides crowdsourced information on airport-security wait times so you can figure out when you'll need to leave for the airport.

Users simply input their airport, terminal, and gate before getting an estimated wait time in the secure line.

The most recently updated information can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram or in an email or a text.

Just Ahead

For those looking to take a road trip in America, consider Just Ahead.

The app turns your smartphone into a GPS tour guide, with audio guides that are written by expert authors and read by professional narrators.

Simply turn it on and it will play automatically, giving you directions and cool facts about the destination.

Companion

If you're traveling somewhere where safety may be a concern, use Companion.

The app lets you connect to family and friends, who can keep an eye on you through a live map that lets them know when you arrive at your destination.

Here Maps

Here Maps gives access to offline maps and navigation in over 100 countries.

Voice-guided driving and walking navigation takes you straight to your destination, while a route planner gives you the best options for driving, public transportation, or walking.

It also has real-time traffic information and public-transit maps for over 900 cities.

Indie Guides

Indie Guides is the ideal app for travelers who are looking to go beyond the norm.

These curated city guides, offered in destinations across Asia, Europe, and North America, feature the quirky, alternative, and iconic destinations locals love.

The apps are available for individual cities, depending on where you'll be traveling.

Microsoft Translator

The Microsoft Translator app allows you to have conversations across more than 40 languages with your phone.

You can type or speak a word or phrase and get a translated text and a spoken version of it.

The app is also designed to work seamlessly with the Apple Watch.

Google

Google has just announced a new search feature called Destinations, which allows users to see everything from flight selections and hotel booking to itinerary planning.

Once you open the app on your phone, you can put in your preferred destination to get the cheapest flights and average hotel prices and plenty of information on the place.

Original article: http://www.businessinsider.com/best-free-travel-apps-2016-3

USA Today.com: Packing Apps Take a Load off of Travelers

When you’re traveling for business, picking, packing and toting your clothes may at times feel like a second job. But a host of apps are trying to make life on the road a bit easier.

From online valets to services that essentially offer laundry to-go, corporate trekkers can digitally outsource much of the drudgery around their work attire.

“It’s about the ability to go on a trip ... and not worry about anything other than your business,’’ says Bill Rinehart, CEO and founder of DUFL, a “virtual valet’’ that will sort, clean and ship your wardrobe to and from wherever you’re traveling for work.

Customers download the DUFL app, then fill a bag the company sends to their home or office with their various business outfits. DUFL will clean, inventory and photograph all the items. Then, “from that day forward, your closet is the app on your phone,’’ Rinehart says. Customers input their business destination, the hotel where they’re staying and the dates, and the suitcase arrives the same day they do.

At the end of your stay, you can drop your bag off at the front desk, where FedEx will pick it up and ship it back to the DUFL warehouse where the clothing is cleaned and readied for your next trip.

The cost is $9.95 per month plus a $99 fee per trip, which covers shipping and cleaning. Since launching in May 2015, Rinehart says, thousands of customers have registered for the service, with the typical male client storing 50 items in his closet, and the typical woman having 150.

“When you think about someone spending the vast majority of time on the road, it’s incredibly time-consuming and stressful,'' he says, adding that customers will sometimes order items from Amazon or a department store and have the items shipped right to DUFL.

Washio, which started in March 2013, has customers who use its services while traveling for work, as well as when they return home.

With operations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, Chicago, Boston and Oakland, business travelers can request a laundry pickup on Washio’s website or mobile app. The clothes are then cleaned and returned to your doorstep.

“While traveling for business, most hotel dry-cleaning services are very expensive,’’ says Washio CEO and founder Jordan Metzner in explaining the appeal of his service to business travelers.

Meanwhile, those heading out on a corporate trip can get their shirts boxed, for easy packing. And when faced with a suitcase full of dirty clothes upon their return, they can simply send the items off with Washio and they “have clean clothes to take on their next trip,’’ Metzner says.

Ben Gillenwater, CEO of his own software company, initially built his PackPoint app for himself.

“I’ve been a business traveler for about eight years,’’ says Gillenwater, who is CEO of his own software company. “I was always forgetting something ... like my passport, or my toiletries or even my dress shoes for work.’’

Now PackPoint practically does the packing for him. The app tells users what they need to take depending on their destination and planned activities, right down to reminding them to take an umbrella because it's likely to rain. And as you pack, you can check off each item within the app.

“You can tell it if you will have access to laundry and if you want to repeat basics, like wear a shirt more than once,’’ he says. A paid version of the app, which costs $2.99, can be customized — you can tell it, for instance, to never remind you to pack contact lenses since you don’t wear them. And if you have a TripIt account where you assemble all your travel arrangements, PackPoint will sync with it and automatically create packing lists based on your itineraries.

 

Stylebook, an app launched in October 2009, isn’t just for those honing their inner fashionista. The app, which has a one-time cost of $3.99, is “perfect for business travelers,’’ says co-founder Jess Atkins, “because they can plan what to pack whenever they have a free moment.’’

Users input pictures of their clothes and can utilize the app’s calendar to plan their outfits. The app also allows them to create a packing list and even post notes to remind themselves where they wore various ensembles.

“With airline baggage fees at an all-time high, suitcase space is precious, and Stylebook can help you bring only items that you need,’’ says Atkins.

Apps like these can be real time savers, some users say.

Debbe McCall, a business owner and patient advocate and researcher, uses DUFL one to four times a month.

“I save hours not packing, not schlepping, not looking for overhead space, not wishing I had brought an extra outfit or pair of shoes,’’ McCall, who lives in Temecula Valley, Calif., said in an email. “And (when) I get home, I am really home, not almost home or home after I unpack, do laundry or run to the dry cleaners.’’

“Imagine walking through security and onto a plane with only a handbag, iPad, phone and meds,’’ she adds. “Traveling is fun again.’’

Original article: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/advice/2016/03/06/packing-apps-business-travel/80930802/

HuffingtonPost.com: 5 Companies That Are Changing The Dynamics of Business Travel

The long slog of living life on the road can be difficult at best, hellish at worst. But there is hope: some of the best startups gaining traction right now are companies that will disrupt the travel industry for the better.

These companies make business travel easier, faster, and give your travel life ease like never before. From sending your clothes ahead of you to booking a car that is waiting for you outside baggage claim, you’ll want to see what these companies have to offer.

1. Skurt

When you get off a long flight, the last thing you want to do is stand in line for your rental car, then trek out to the parking lot to pick it up. Skurt eliminates all of those problems with one sleek app: scan your license, choose a car and a delivery address, and Skurt will deliver your car to where you choose. Sign for the car on your Skurt agent’s phone, and away you go. No lines, no waiting, no paperwork.

2.VisitorsCoverage

Whether you are an international business traveller, have visitors coming to stay with you, or are just someone who travels often, insurance is something you will need. VistorsCoverage is an unbiased resource that compares medical insurance coverage from many different reputable agencies, so that you or your guests feel safe. VisitorsCoverage even offers insurance for extreme sports like rock climbing or skydiving!

3. Uber

The newest innovation from consummate disruptors Uber is an Auto-Expense feature that sends your travel receipts automatically to Certify, Chrome River, or Expensify. This follows Uber for Businesses rollout in November of a feature that allows users to toggle between personal or business accounts, making business travel that much easier.

4. LoungeBuddy

Airport lounges aren’t just for the elite anymore. Loungebuddy knows that on a long layover there’s nothing like a shower or a nap in a private airport lounge, so the app takes the guesswork out of finding a lounge that’s open or accessible — to both elite members and those who want to pay a one-time fee for access. The app also keeps all of your memberships and credit card info in one place for easy access, and has photos, reviews, and lists of amenities for lounges around the world.

5. DUFL

The eternal dilemma: check your bag and hope that it makes it to your destination, or carry-on and lug your bag on and off the plane. Both are tedious, but Dufl is the choice you wish you could make — breeze through security luggage-free. Download the Dufl app and schedule a pick up of your chosen travel clothing. Before your trip, choose your clothes virtually on the app, which Dufl then packs and sends ahead to your destination. On your way home, leave the luggage at the front desk and Dufl will pick up, clean, and store your clothing until the next time you travel. No more packing, no more dry-cleaning runs, and no more security checks.

Original article: 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-lorenzen/5-companies-that-are-chan_b_9523136.html

ReviewJournal.com: 7 Start-ups That Could Ease Your Travel Stress

Vacation travel might be a chance to relax, but business trips are too often long stretches of tedium punctuated by tension and frustration.

In fact, a 2012 study by corporate travel agency Carson Wagonlit Travel found that travelers lose an average of 6.9 hours to stress on every work trip.

Technology might not be the solution to all life’s ills, but there are still a bunch of new services and apps on the market making travel that bit easier for the tired, lonely worker.

CNN caught up with some of the people behind them at the recent Business Travel Show in London — including the winner of the Disrupt Award for outstanding innovation in a start-up.

Stress #1 Baggage

“We’re getting rid of luggage,” declares George Meek, EMEA Managing Director of virtual valet service DUFL.

“We ship, clean and store your business attire” as well as shoes, accessories, full-size toiletries, hairdryers and whatever travelers need to feel their usual sleek selves — allowing them to “travel bag-free” and pick up freshly laundered clothes at their destination.

The service launched last May and last week it won the London travel show’s Business Travel Disrupt Award for innovation.

Multi-leg journeys and frequent traveling means many workers barely have time to catch up with family between stops, never mind unpacking, washing, ironing and packing.

With DUFL, users sign up, pack their welcome suitcase with as many items as they need — the average is about 50 — then with each trip they “pack” what they want by choosing belongings from their “virtual closet.”

The monthly fee for storage is $9.95. The service itself costs $99 per round trip. DUFL launched in the U.S. and is currently available in select business hubs in Europe, Canada, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. DUFL Sports launched this month and DUFL Golf launches in Japan in March.

Stress #2: Boredom

Networking app Jambo launched at the end of last year, and is currently invitation only, with a testing base of 300 users.

CEO and founder Laura Stembridge came up with “a platform that’s essentially LinkedIn on the go” after one too many work trip evenings that ended with “room service, dinner for one, date with my Kindle.”

Business professionals can “expand their network internally within their organization or externally with other business travelers” by arranging to meet for dinner or drinks. The app also recommends local networking events curated for the user.

Business professionals can “expand their network internally within their organization or externally with other business travelers” by arranging to meet for dinner or drinks. The app also recommends local networking events curated for the user.

A new “tribe” functionality launches this month, allowing users to join tribes related to their organization, industry, or leisure interests.

Stress #3: Finding somewhere to stay

Inevitably, whenever there’s a major trade show in town, latecomers will find every hotel in the area booked solid.

That’s where MagicEvent (rebranding soon as MagicStay) comes in.

It’s an Airbnb-style service aimed at business travelers, and partners with industry events to secure appropriate accommodation in business centers.

The French start-up has around 20,000 apartments in 60 cities, mostly in Europe and the U.S., with some presence in South Africa and the UAE.

Apartments and their owners are vetted by online application and phone interview before being added to the books, and are selected according to location, business equipment, Wi-Fi and appropriate work space.

Stress #4: Rip-off rates and fees

Revolut is a global money app and credit card that promises to help users easily and transparently manage their money around the world.

It launched in July 2015 and Revolut business analyst Gus Gould explains that it already supports 90 currencies, with no international transaction fees, no need for IBANs or frantic cash transfers to pay off outstanding debts.

“You have the option to top up in pounds, dollars and euros,” says Gould, and then exchange currencies at the interbank exchange rate without going through any banks.

There’s “really no need for people to be ripped off with these poor exchange rates,” he says.

Stress #5: Booking multi-leg trips

Italian start-up Beepry, which launched in November 2015, hopes to take on the big-name search engines with its flight meta search specializing in complex itineraries.

CEO and founder Salvatore Ambrosino says his company’s patent-pending algorithm gives it an edge, finding the best solution in terms of cost and efficiency “faster, cheaper and more relevant to the needs of the user.”

Beepry is currently targeting business corporations rather than individual users.

The good news for Beepry is that a lot of business travelers are dissatisfied with their company’s current travel booking system.

A February 2016 study by Global Business Travel Association found that about two-thirds of workers used alternative channels when booking their business trips, whether or not that was approved by their employers.

Stress #6: Booking efficient, economic ground travel

We’re “incorporating ride shares into the travel industry,” says Zachy Hamras, marketing manager at Flitways, which launched in 2014.

Users can pre-book taxis, executive cars, ride-shares in the 140 cities Flitways covers. Its USP is that users can book up to one year in advance — although with business plans changing on a daily basis, we’re not sure how many travelers are that organized.

The most interesting part of the service is that users can pre-book an affordable ride-share, instead of having to wait until they land at the airport, hoping they find something affordable.

Hamras claims that his service’s “taxi rates are lower than the industry standard rate” because of its direct relationship with suppliers.

Stress #7: Your flight’s economy but your needs are premium

No lounge? No problem.

Android and iOS app Loungebuddy helps fliers locate, preview and book last-minute seats in airports around the world.

So travelers in need of a work space, a shower, or a drink and a rest, no longer need to be part of the first-class club — and it quickly takes the stress out of long airport delays.

It’s another success for CEO and founder Tyler Dikman, who launched computer supply company CoolTronics at the age of 15 and had made a million dollars in sales before leaving high school.

Any flier is able to book a lounge for a fee — usually $20 to $50 — while frequent fliers who’re already qualified to access a lounge can book space through the service for free.

Original article: 
http://www.reviewjournal.com/travel/news/7-start-ups-could-ease-your-travel-stress

Press Release: DUFL Integrates with Concur to Deliver Premium Travel Valet Services to Concur Clients

DUFL now available in the Concur App Center

TEMPE, Ariz.- March 7, 2016- DUFL, the premium travel service that’s changing the rules of business travel, today announced the integration of its app with Concur®, the leading provider of spend management solutions and services. Now available in the Concur App Center, DUFL will provide Concur clients a convenient way to send e-receipts to Concur and eliminate time spent laundering their business trip wardrobe, packing bags and lugging suitcases through airports.

To get started, business travelers create a DUFL account online or via the Android or iOS app to receive a DUFL suitcase to fill with their business travel wardrobe and toiletries. The suitcase will be picked up, inventoried, photographed and securely stored in the traveler’s virtual DUFL closet.

When gearing up for a business trip, travelers virtually pack online or using the app, providing their destination hotel and arrival time. DUFL then professionally packs the bag and ensures it will be waiting at the destination when the traveler arrives. The recent addition of DUFL Sport also stores and sends sporting equipment like golf clubs and skis. When it’s time to go home, travelers schedule a pickup, and DUFL will clean, store and have the wardrobe ready for the next trip. After travelers connect their Concur account to DUFL, e-receipts for DUFL fees will automatically be sent to Concur for effortless expensing. DUFL and the integration with Concur simplify travel, freeing up time to focus on what matters most during business trips.

“We’re excited about our integration with Concur,” says CEO Bill Rinehart, chairman and founder of DUFL. “DUFL users can connect their Concur account so e-receipts will be automatically sent to their account, making the expense process even easier and getting our joint clients one step closer to the Perfect Trip.”

DUFL is now available in the Concur App Center. Offering apps with streamlined integration with Concur Travel, Expense and Invoice products, the Concur App Center delivers innovative functionality in key categories such as finance, regulatory compliance, enterprise identity, traveler productivity, travel management and much more. For more information, visit https://www.concur.com/en-us/app-center/listing/56ba1875ff141412005b3e6b/dufl

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to roam untethered. Our secure, sophisticated platform delivers your bag where and when you need it. With each use your clothing is cleaned how you like it and prepared for your next trip. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

CNN.com: 7 New Travel Start-ups Making Business Trips Less Stressful

Vacation travel might be a chance to relax, but business trips are too often stretches of tedium punctuated by tension and frustration.

In fact, a 2012 study by corporate travel agency Carson Wagonlit Travel found that travelers lose an average of 6.9 hours to stress on every work trip.

Technology might not be the solution to all life's ills, but there are still a bunch of new services and apps on the market making travel that bit easier for the tired, lonely worker.

CNN caught up with some of the people behind them at the recent Business Travel Show in London -- including the winner of the Disrupt Award for outstanding innovation in a start-up.

Stress #1: Baggage

"We're getting rid of luggage," declares George Meek, EMEA Managing Director of virtual valet service DUFL.

"We ship, clean and store your business attire" as well as shoes, accessories, full-size toiletries, hairdryers and whatever travelers need to feel their usual sleek selves -- allowing them to "travel bag-free" and pick up freshly laundered clothes at their destination.

The service launched last May and last week it won the London travel show's Business Travel Disrupt Award for innovation.

Multi-leg journeys and frequent traveling means many workers barely have time to catch up with family between stops, never mind unpacking, washing, ironing and packing.

With DUFL, users sign up, pack their welcome suitcase with as many items as they need -- the average is about 50 -- then with each trip they "pack" what they want by choosing belongings from their "virtual closet."

The monthly fee for storage is $9.95 while the service itself costs $99 per round trip.

DUFL launched in the U.S. and is currently available in select business hubs in Europe, Canada, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne.

DUFL Sports launched this month and DUFL Golf launches in Japan in March.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/travel/new-business-travel-start-ups/index.html

Inc.com: The 10 Best Apps for Keeping Business Travel Productive

You’re a stranger in a strange land, and you’re here to get work done. These 10 apps take the sting out of business travel and help you keep up with business as usual.

Today's innovators have learned how to apply principles of efficiency well beyond manufacturing. One of the areas experiencing an explosion of smart tech solutions is business travel, where gadgets and apps have made the journey as much of a draw as the destination.

Traveling for business has become an increasingly familiar activity for founders, especially since hot new hubs for talent and investment have started popping up all over the country. With the proliferation of Wi-Fi hotspots on planes and the ubiquity of face-to-face screen communication, gone are the days when business owners could sit back, relax, and enjoy four hours of uninterrupted naptime. In fact, research has suggested that frequent business travel can actually take a toll on your health.

Designers of the best travel apps have carefully studied the tech jetsetter's journey from door to door, de-stressing travelers by removing their burdens at every stop. These apps increase efficiency, productivity, and even fun on the road, and might start to change your perception of what business travel can be.

Here are my 10 favorite travel apps for busy, on-the-go founders:

Tripit You walk into your New York office, and walk out heading straight to LaGuardia for an emergency meeting with investors in California. It's last minute, so your whole team is booked on separate flights. There are pesky confirmation numbers, emails flying back and forth, and of course you still want to get your airline miles points. This is where an app that consolidates all your plans into one easy-to-access itinerary comes in handy. TripIt is that app.

GateGuru Knowing the length of security lines or the distance from baggage check to your gate can mean the difference between taking a detour to find an outlet for a much-needed recharge and hurried panic when you arrive at the airport. GateGuru gives you detailed airport maps and real-time information on some of the more unpleasant aspects of air travel, such as unexpected gate changes, so you don't have to find out about them when it's too late.

DUFL Packing a suitcase--even if it's just for a two-day trip--can be a chore. Or maybe you just hate checking bags. Either way, the personalized wardrobe concierge at Dufl will have you looking sharp without ever touching a suitcase. Virtually store your clothes in Dufl's closet, then pick out an outfit to meet you, clean and pressed, at your destination city. When the trip is over, leave your clothes at your hotel and Dufl will pick them up and hang them for next time.

Onavo Business travel often means finding yourself in unfamiliar terrain with no Wi-Fi signal in sight. That's where a utility like Onavo comes in handy. It works in the background on your phone to compress your data and save on charges when you're out of Wi-Fi range. It also provides detailed data reports for each app you're running.

Concur The sleekest and most popular app for tracking travel expenses, Concur makes life easier for you and your finance team. Flights, hotels, rental cars, receipts--this app takes care of it all, and even itemizes the expenditures. It also integrates with your corporate credit card and sends reports back to your finance team for easy sign-off (or the opposite).

PandaDoc Electronic signatures are pretty much standard now, but PandaDoc goes well beyond John Hancocks to simplify every aspect of digital transaction management. From delivering sales quotes and proposals to signing NDAs and automating workflows among the team, PandaDoc is great for closing deals on the fly and from any device.

Handshake The ideal app for trade shows, Handshake allows you to see more customers and process orders more efficiently. You can also showcase your full catalog from within the app, send and receive updates directly to and from your reps on the ground, and create a custom B2B portal to attract more retailers.

Foodspotting It can't be all work all the time. You have to eat sometime. What makes this different from the dozens of other restaurant finder apps? With FoodSpotting, you can search by craving. Nearby pad Thai? Dark beer? Vegan cheesecake? Enter a dish and Foodspotting will take you there.

BestParking Save money, headaches, and arguments with your backseat driving colleagues by finding the cheapest and most convenient parking lots, structures, and spaces near your destination.

Google TranslateTake a picture of a sign, menu, book, etc. with text in a number of foreign languages and Google Translate can now very accurately reproduce the words in English. I just thought I would let you know that the future is here.

Bon voyage!

http://www.inc.com/jeff-pruitt/10-apps-that-take-the-pain-out-of-business-travel.html

30secondstofly.com: 3 Apps Business Travelers Need in 2016

Have you ever heard of app fatigue? Apparently, it’s a real thing. Ben Schippers of Tech Crunch, in fact, just released an article saying consumers are tired of apps. They’re annoyed by push notifications and repetitive apps that do similar things, and they are beginning to opt out.

1. LoungeBuddy The LoungeBuddy app is useful for anyone—from the occasional traveler to the hardcore road warrior. With LoungeBuddy, users can quickly access information about airport lounges, including user reviews, photos, and a list of amenities (showers, smoking rooms, included cocktails/food, phones, TVs, and more.) For many of these lounges, users can also instantly book their access to the lounge within the app.

How It Works:

The LoungeBuddy app has a GPS feature, so it will automatically pull up the nearest airport for a digital tour of available lounge offerings. You also have the option of selecting a different airport or syncing the app with your Concur itinerary.

The app functions similar to Yelp, with users describing their experience at the lounge and giving it a star rating. The interface is intuitive and sleek, and you can quickly determine which lounges are currently available for you and where they are located inside the airport terminal. The app will will tell you the cost of paying for entry at the check-in desk, and for select locations, you can instantly book your access using the app.

It’s clear LoungeBuddy has thought about being responsive to users’ needs and maintaining quality of reviews. For example, users can crowd-source images. If you think a user-uploaded photo of a lounge is not relevant or useful, you can vote the photo up ☺ or down ☹ and photos with several frowny faces will be removed from the review.

The Fine Print:

There are a few things LoungeBuddy app users will want to be aware of. I would recommend filling out your profile because the app stores lounge memberships and elite statuses to help determine which lounges you might have access to. Travelers should also note that they will need to arrive at the lounge within one hour of purchasing access through the app. Some of the lounges lack many ratings, so if you are not traveling at a major hub, you may not have many reviews to help you make decisions.

Yet, LoungeBuddy is working at a rapid pace to grow user reviews. Brent Griffith, LoungeBuddy’s VP of Marketing, tells us that they recently held a photo and review contest to increase user reviews of lounges. “We are extremely happy with the results of the competition, and our team is discussing additional ways to help incentivize travelers to contribute even more,” Griffith notes. “We’re fortunate to have a fantastic community of global travelers who love to help each other out by posting photos, ratings and reviews.” In fact, Griffith tells us that they have recently surpassed 500,000 total members in the community.

What to Look Forward To

LoungeBuddy already has excellent coverage. They offer information on over 2,500 lounges in more than 800 of the busiest airports around the world, Griffith says, and their instant-booking service is available in 100 locations across more than 40 major airports around the world. “In 2016,” he tells us, “we plan to expand our coverage to even more airports.”

 

Over the next few months, LoungeBuddy has additional plans to expand and enhance user experience. According to Griffith, the team is working on a new website redesign, “an enhanced in-app trip creation experience, simplifying and unifying the in-app experience across all of our platforms.”

LoungeBuddy appears to have found a true niche that can help them fulfill their mission of building a service that helps travelers have a better experience at the airport.

DUFL

DUFL is more than an app—it’s a service. DUFL stores your business attire, professionally cleans it, and ships it to your next business meeting location. Oh, and did I mention they pick up your suitcase at your hotel and ship it back to their storage facility until your next trip?

How It Works

To get started with DUFL, you download the app on your smartphone, and you’ll receive an email with some simple instructions. You first need to order the welcome kit, and you’ll get a DUFL suitcase shipped to you within a week. You have two weeks to pack up the suitcase (or longer if you let them know), and then you log in to the app to schedule a free pickup.

The suitcase is picked up by DUFL, and your clothes are cleaned, folded, and pressed. Then, the clothing is inventoried—they take photos of each item and load the photos into the app. (They create a descriptive list for personal items such as underwear.) When you’re ready to travel, log in to the app and enter your destination and travel dates. If you don’t want to bring all of the items you originally packed, just use the virtual closet app on your phone to browse pictures of your clothes and select what you’d like to pack. Your DUFL suitcase will be shipped via FedEx to your travel destination, and when your business trip is complete, schedule your luggage pickup through the app and leave your baggage at the hotel’s front desk before you catch that taxi to the airport.

The Fine Print

Currently, a round-trip service (within the U.S.) costs $99, and DUFL charges $9.95 per month for your items to be stored at its facility, which has 24/7 security. Your card won’t be charged until your first round-trip service is complete. While the cost may be off-putting to some, it does include shipping to and from the destination as well as cleaning and processing upon your suitcase’s return. You will want to keep in mind that the process requires three-day shipping, so planning ahead when scheduling is important.

DUFL does not yet have the ability to operate for all types of international trips, but they are available in select destinations. For international trips, you can request a quote within the app, and a DUFL member will contact you within 30 minutes.

DUFL users are not limited to packing clothing, which makes your traveling life even easier. They can include hair dryers, shoes, toiletries and more. Travelers will want to note, though, that the FFA does not allow DUFL to pack aerosol cans, and users are discouraged from sending medications or valuables.

What to Look Forward To

You may be wondering if there really is a market for this service. After all, the cost may be off-putting to some travelers and some may not want other people handling their clothing or packing their luggage. Yet, DUFL’s CMO, Andrea Graziani, tells us, “we’ve processed over 3,000 shipments, delivered to almost 500 US cities and 8 countries (and counting) since our launch in May.” Clearly, DUFL is gaining traction.

Using DUFL saves you time (no more laundry and less packing) and money spent on dry-cleaning. Likely the most important thing for frequent travelers is that it saves you the hassle of dealing with luggage at the airport. It seems like DUFL might work best for the true road warrior who doesn’t want to spend the weekend between trips doing laundry and packing again.

DUFL appears to be rapidly expanding. Graziani says they have a robust roadmap, which includes “opening additional warehouse facilities, possibly on the East coast and in Europe or Asia.” Another exciting innovation is that DUFL will be launching DUFL Sport, which will “allow our users to send things such as golf clubs and snowboards,” Graziani affirms. Also on the agenda: a quick-start kit, which will allow users to start their DUFL closet while on the road.

3. Gate Guru

You start by entering information about your upcoming trip, and the Gate Guru app provides information about your flight in real time (including terminal and gate information, flight delays, and security wait times.)

The Airport Card portion of the app helps travelers navigate the airport. It shows airport amenities, tips about the airport, and maps of concourses. Their website indicates that if you enter your itinerary into the app, the display of amenities is automatically tailored to your travel and gate location. The tips are a really unique feature because travelers who are new to a particular airport can learn if security checkpoints are quick; which car rental locations have the best customer service; how tricky parking is, and more.

Travelers can also use Gate Guru to track their travel statistics.

The Fine Print:

The GateGuru app is free and relatively easy to use. Their partnership with Avis leads to a slightly spammy link at the bottom of the Airport Card, encouraging users to book a rental car through Avis. However, according to their website, because they have partnered solely with this one company, GateGuru can offer discounts up to 35% lower than other travel sites, and users can book their cars “in just two taps.”

Some of the amenities do not have many reviews yet, and users cannot click on a reviewer’s name to discover a profile and learn about the credibility of that user. However, it’s nice that users can rank up or down a user’s review of an airport amenity or their tips. This crowd-sourcing feature will hopefully control the possible transmission of bad information.

What to Look Forward to

While we were unable to reach GateGuru for a comment about their plans for 2016, it seems that the app is poised for growth. The app currently lists almost 200 airports, but some of the lesser-known airports have very few reviews. It is likely that GateGuru will focus on growing airport coverage and building its community of users over the coming months. If they do so, the app will easily serve as a valuable resource to travelers of all types.

As business travel apps come and go, the team at 30SecondstoFly thinks these apps solve genuine travel problems, and we are excited to see how they grow this year. So, before you let app fatigue get the best of you, consider the potential benefits of a few additional downloads.

Original article: https://www.30secondstofly.com/corporate-traveler/3-apps-business-travelers-need-in-2016/

Tech.co: 13 Phoenix Startups That Should Be On Your Radar

From med tech devices that will help cure jaundice in newborns to turning your smartphone into a microphone, the Arizona tech ecosystem is bursting at the seams with startups growing their businesses

The ecosystem comes with plenty of accolades: the University of Arizona has been regarded as a top-tier research institution and bio tech hub; Arizona State University has been recognized as one of the top 50 schools for entrepreneurship; the University of Advancing Technology has one of the top cybersecurity programs in the country; and Seed Spot has been regarded as one of the leading social-conscious incubators in the country.

Early-stage startups that are bubbling out of Arizona institutions and incubators can often be found at one of the 25 plus co-working spaces scattered throughout the state.

With Phoenix Startup Week coming along, we found a few entrepreneurs to watch emerging out of the Arizona scene.

EpifinderA diagnostic app that helps medical professionals effectively diagnose epilepsy syndromes at the point-of-care. The company recently raised close to half a million dollars.

NeolightA phototherapy medical device that treats jaundice in newborns. This company received a scholarship to Draper University, won over $50,000 in pitch competitions and recently raised $600,000 in capital.

ParkXA customizable mobile platform to help people find and pay for parking through their smartphone. This startup was the Smart City App Hack winner from Phoenix and traveled to Spain to compete against other startups from around the world at the Barcelona Smart City Expo in front of a panel of international judges. Their platform is being used in Phoenix, Tucson and various cities in Texas.

Eggcyte Makers of The Egg, a handheld personal cloud device that has 256GB of storage, Wi-Fi and fits in the palm of your hand. This company was started by seasoned engineers and industrial designers to bring privacy to one’s digital assets. This company recently partnered with Jaguar LandRover and Intel for the connected car.

ReplyBuy A mobile commerce platform that allows customers to purchase tickets through a text message. This company has partnered with over 70 sport teams and raised $2 million in capital to grow its SMS commerce business.

BravoThis app that lets you tip everyone from a musician and valet to a hairstylist and tour guide through your smartphone. The app uses Near Field Communication, QR code or a special Bravo code to identify the professional. The company has also partnered with local charities such as Pat Tillman Foundation, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock, among others, to donate directly through the app. Bravo is now nationwide with more than 20 percent of transactions happening in California, New York, Chicago, and more cities.

DUFLA premium, travel valet service, that packs and ships a customer’s clothes to a destination. The app was listed as “Best New Travel App” by USA Today. The company has delivered to over 450 US cities and 8 countries, expanded service internationally to the EU, Canada, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne, and raised $3 million in capital. Soon they will roll out DUFL Sport where they can send your golf clubs or surfboard to your destination.

CampusLogicThe first student financial aid self-service platform. Their product is currently installed at 40 schools with 300,000 active accounts. The company recently raised a $7.5 million Series A led by Continental Investors.

CodaKidA dynamic computer programming and video game design organization that teaches children from 6 to 14 years old how to code through their interactive game and app development classes. Since their launch in January 2015, the organization has served over 2,800 students, have 24 locations for after-school programs and are projecting a 400 percent growth rate for 2016. They recently launched their online Class Minecraft Modding with Java for Ages 7 to 15.

Humor Writes An organization that uses comedy to teach kids fundamental creative writing skills. They partnered up with local comedy clubs and comedic writers to perform their lessons live on stage. The company is working with 140 students next semester from around the Greater Phoenix Area.

Pure Chat A live chat software company that helps small businesses get more leads and sales from their websites. Since launch, the company has had over 5 million chat conversations on their platform, over 250,000 signups and raised $1.5M in seed funding.

Crowd MicsThis company can turn your smartphone into a microphone. Started by two brothers, they set out to find a way to ask a question at a conference without shouting. This company recently raised $1 million led by Sand Hill Angels and received awards from the Event Manager Blog conference and SXSW V2Venture. They are currently developing The Atom, an AV system that will transform phones into wireless microphones.

HopscratchA business in a box platform for the newbie to seasoned entrepreneur. From the domain name and accounting software to EIN and office tools, the company will handle all the backend work and deliver everything to the founder. They have helped over 200 entrepreneurs to date. Fun fact: the founders and team members met at Phoenix Startup Week 2015.

http://tech.co/phoenix-statups-on-radar-2016-02

Yahoo.com: Tired of Packing Your Own Suitcase? DUFL Will Do It for You (Deal of the Day)

You know that scene in Up in the Air when traveling HR consultant George Clooney gives us all a lesson in how to pack light for flying? I have actually used his advice many times and found it solid. But I’ve found a service — DUFL — that makes packing and lugging luggage a thing of the past.

Here’s how it works: You sign up at DUFL before your trip (well before your trip). You then get a DUFL suitcase in the mail. You pack that with clothes you typically use for travel and send it back to DUFL.

Then, when you’re about to leave on a trip, you use the DUFL app to choose the outfits you want to have with you on the road. DUFL then ships a suitcase with those clothes directly to your hotel. You just show up and meet it there. Then, when you’re headed home, DUFL picks up your suitcase at the hotel, cleans your clothes, and stores them in a DUFL warehouse, ready for your next trip.

If you travel frequently, you know how much easier this would be than packing and repacking your own bags. It’s a bold idea.

Want to give it a try? I got you a deal to make that easier. The service normally costs $9.95 per month for storage and $99 per round trip. But if you use the code DUFLDEAL16 when you sign up, you’ll get six months of storage for free. Just do it before March 31.

Original article: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/tired-of-packing-your-own-1370779327266870.html

InsideHook.com: Never Lose Your Gear Bag At The Airport Again

Virtual valet company DUFL debuts a sports-specific arm

Easiest way to ruin a golf, fishing, or hiking vacation? Failed baggage delivery.

Easiest way to short-circuit an airline’s best attempts to do just that? Let someone else handle it.

Someone like DUFL Sports, a new service that will let users store, transport and access their fishing, cycling, diving, golf, snowboarding, hiking, and skiing gear without having to haul it the airport and back.

We’ve told you about DUFL — an app-based service that stores, ships and cleans suits and dress shirts for working travelers — before. DUFL Sports is their new entry into the world of leisure travel.

“DUFL Sports is perfect for anyone who wants to eliminate the hassles of traveling with their sports gear, but it’s also an ideal solution for active people who live in large cities in apartments with limited storage space,” says DUFL founder and CEO Bill Rinehart.

The DUFL sports lockers, which are big enough to hold golf clubs and ski equipment, cost $9.95 a month, while three-day, round-trip shipping for golf clubs starts at $75 (including cleaning). Price quotes for other pieces of gear vary by size.

Give ‘em a sporting chance.

http://www.insidehook.com/nation/never-lose-your-golfskifishing-bag-at-the-airport-again/

UrbanDaddy.com: You No Longer Have to Schlep Your Skis on Vacation

You Now Have a Personal Sherpa to Do it for You

Let’s think back to the olden days.

Back to the wretched bygone era when you had to haul your skis onto airport concourses or wait for your golf clubs to come down a baggage claim carousel. You know, way back to yesterday.

Thankfully, you now live in a world of DUFL Sports, a service that lets you travel with sporting equipment like pro athletes do. Well, at least the part where they don't have to schlep their own equipment.

This company made a splash last year with a service that lets you keep a closetful of clothes in their storage facility. Then, with an app, you tell them what to pack and ship to your destination, and they make sure it arrives when you do.

Now, instead of ties, it’s your scuba gear. Or your mountain bike. Or your snowboard. Or your lawn darts.

But it works the same way. You sign up. They send you shipping labels. You schedule a time for them to pick up your gear. It’ll all be photographed, cataloged, and stored until you request it.

Then, with a few clicks, you’ll ensure that you have your clubs/archery targets/trapeze waiting for you at your destination.

The trapeze counts as a sport, right?

http://www.urbandaddy.com/ntl/travel/37116/Dufl_Sports_You_Now_Have_a_Personal_Sherpa_to_Do_It_for_You_National_NTL_Service#ixzz411892HgP

Press Release: DUFL Expands Premium Travel Service with DUFL Sports

DUFL Sports Stores and Delivers Sports Equipment for Active Travelers.

TEMPE, Ariz- February 23, 2016- Never do laundry, pack or carry a suitcase again. Let DUFL clean, pack, store and ship your clothes. ‘Pack’ from the DUFL app in minutes and your bag will meet you at your hotel.

“DUFL has made a huge splash in travel services because it makes life simpler for the frequent business traveler by eliminating the need to launder, pack and transport bags to and from destinations,” said CEO Bill Rinehart, chairman and founder of DUFL. “But business travelers aren’t the only people dealing with the hassles of traveling with items they’d rather not carry with them — now DUFL Sports offers relief to active travelers, by storing, inventorying, photographing and delivering their fishing, cycling, diving, golf, snowboarding, skiing and other gear in a secure virtual closet and delivering it to their destination so they can focus on the fun part.”

Those who travel frequently for sport or bleisure (business + leisure) travel can create a DUFL account online or via the Android or iOS app. The user will be sent shipping labels, and once ready, will schedule a pickup in the app and their sports gear will be shipped to the DUFL warehouse where it will be photographed and stored in their DUFL virtual closet. DUFL Sports users can also store and ship their clothes in addition to their sports equipment by requesting a DUFL Welcome kit, which contains a large suitcase that they can fill with their clothing and toiletries. The user schedules a pickup via the app. DUFL picks up the user’s clothing items and inventories, photographs, cleans and stores everything in the member’s virtual DUFL closet(s).

When preparing to leave for a trip that includes sports equipment such as golf clubs, skis, scuba gear etc, the DUFL Sports users can pack via the DUFL app, by simply entering their destination address and arrival date and then selecting the items they want to pack from their virtual closet. DUFL will then send the sports gear and/or professionally packed suitcase to the traveler’s destination where it will be waiting for them upon arrival. When it’s time to go home, travelers just schedule a pickup at the hotel, and DUFL picks up the equipment and/or suitcase, and then cleans and stores all items so that they are ready for the next trip.

“DUFL Sports is perfect for anyone who wants to eliminate the hassles of traveling with their sports gear, but it’s also an ideal solution for active people who live in large cities in apartments with limited storage space,” Rinehart noted. “Now instead of skis, snowboards, diving gear, bikes, golf clubs, fishing rods and other sports gear taking up premium closet space, DUFL users can store their equipment in a shippable container at our secure facility, and we’ll have it ready and waiting when they need it for vacation.”

Users pay $9.95 per month for a sports locker, which is large enough to hold several items (i.e. golf clubs and ski equipment). Standard 3-day US domestic shipping for golf clubs will start as low as $75 per round trip including cleaning. Quotes will be provided for other types of equipment and is dependent on size and weight. International shipping is available to select destinations.

DUFL, which was voted “Best New Travel App” in USA TODAY, closed their seed round with investments from US and Japanese private investors. DUFL will be looking at additional funding mid year to scale the business for international growth and to expand operations and offer new products and services. For more information, please visit www.dufl.com.

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to roam untethered. Our secure, sophisticated platform delivers your bag where and when you need it. With each use your clothing is cleaned how you like it and prepared for your next trip. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

Telegraph.co.uk: Business joins the smart-travel revolution

Apps and the sharing economy are making trips a smoother, safer and more personalized experience.

While the likes of Uber, Airbnb and other disruptive technology players have revolutionised our leisure trips, the business travel sector has taken longer to adapt to developments such as the sharing economy and new travel technology.

But that’s all changing. Many of these new companies, including peer-to-peer websites, now offer specific solutions when it comes to business travel, accommodation and keeping in touch with colleagues – at home and abroad. As a result, future business trips will feel increasingly personalised, while technology will be used for everything from recording the carbon emissions from your trip to ensuring a freshly packed suitcase arrives at your business destination.

“The sharing economy was barely known two years ago. Since then it’s had a huge impact on leisure travel and is now truly making waves in business travel,” says David Chapple, director of the Business Travel Show, which will be held at Earls Court on 24-25 February this year.

He cites recent figures from Uber, showing the car-booking app has just inched ahead of taxis for business travel bookings for the first time. This indicates that business travel bookers are now happy to use less traditional methods when they are cheap and convenient.

Mr Chapple adds: “Airbnb launched its business travel offering last year. Following the success of these generalist suppliers, the market is now seeing more niche, specialist providers like Magic Event, Veeve and JetHunter pop up.”

While Magic Event and Veeve work in a similar fashion to Airbnb – but with business in mind – JetHunter takes the sharing economy further, allowing businesses to find private jets for travel through its site.

These are not the only apps to have been developed that are transforming corporate trips. Paul East, chief operating officer in the UK, Europe & America for business travel expert Wings Travel, says recently developed apps that help keep travellers secure are rapidly becoming the norm and will develop.

Following the Paris attacks, traveller security is now particularly high on most businesses’ agendas, Mr East says. Some sectors, such as the oil and gas industry, are already tracking their employees en route.

He says: “Safety and security is paramount in this business, with companies legally bound to ensure a duty of care. New technology includes real-time traveller tracking and travel updates that keep both the traveller and travel coordinator up to date on schedule changes – and a graphic showing where their travellers are in the world.”

Mr East says future versions of tracking products, such as his company’s proprietary GoData app, will have the ability to link with GPS on smartphones, as well as the ability for the travel coordinators to send a controlled message to their travellers to confirm that they are OK and do not need assistance.

Ever-evolving smartphones will also change the way business travellers book and manage their trips. Mr Chapple says that, in future, those on the move will have personalised dashboards on their smartphones into which they will drag and drop their preferred suppliers.

“Most business travellers go to the same destinations repeatedly. This app will let travellers book with one click, rather than have a host of apps and suppliers for each leg of the journey,” he says.

Apps are also allowing businesses to track the carbon footprint of their travellers – an increasingly important part of business life in the UK, since companies incorporated in the UK and publicly listed on a major exchange must report on greenhouse gas emissions in their directors’ reports.

All of these developments point to smartphones being a key part of most business travellers’ armoury in the future – so being able to use devices overseas is becoming ever more important. Telecoms companies are already responding to this need, with Vodafone customers being able to roam worry-free on many plans by using their UK price plan abroad for a small, set daily cost.

The future is now: the suitcase that packs itself

Onerous liquid restrictions, small overhead lockers and inefficient baggage carousels are the bane of many business travellers’ lives, but a recently launched service means you may never need to pack for a business trip again.

Simply create an account with DUFL, and it will deliver an empty suitcase to your home. Fill it with all the items you use for business trips and they will be cleaned, pressed and listed on an app for you to use. You can then schedule DUFL to collect the bag from you.

Then, when you need to travel, simply ‘‘virtually’’ pack your bag using the app, and have it delivered to your destination.

While the DUFL service is mainly available for US residents and those who travel frequently there, experts believe smartphone-based services like this could become common in future, saving some of the hassle of business travel. “We are still addicted to our smartphones and tablets, but the apps are getting more sophisticated, offering the utmost in convenience and luxury,” says David Chapple.

Original article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/business/working-overseas/12127620/business-joins-the-smart-travel-revolution.html

Fast Company: Silicon Valley’s Problem-Solving Bubble

”Every day, in every way, the things that matter to our lives are coming to us,” begins the pitch for an on-demand fuel startup called WeFuel that is launching on Tuesday. "But there’s something that still forces us to get in our car, fight traffic, and go through a ritual that is more than 100 years old. Filling up our cars with gas."

Since 2014, at least three startups that deliver gas to parked cars have launched in California, and with them, they’ve brought a new problem to affluent convenience seekers. Once a minor inconvenience, stopping for five minutes on the way home to refuel your tank, they’ve explained, is now a major impediment to life. "We all lead busy lives, running to and from appointments and trying to balance time with work and family," explains a video from WeFuel competitor Filld. "Something always gets in the way: the gas station."

Sure, refueling is an errand. But is it really preventing anyone from leading a balanced life?

"You’ve got places to go, but hate stopping at the gas station," posits another fueling startup, Purple. "Whether you’re home, at the office, or out on a date, Purple will handle the unpleasant experience of stopping for fuel."

We can all agree that refueling is not an awesome experience, but unpleasant?

Probably not. Rather, the few minutes it takes to top off a tank has been awkwardly wedged into a classic marketing formula. The Silicon Valley disruption narrative is only effective, after all, if there’s an archaic and broken industry to disrupt. And thus, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick tells the press, "We don’t want to be like the taxi guys who came before us—we embrace the future," and Airbnb casts hotels as cookie-cutter sterile experiences, as opposed to its "trusted community marketplace" that "connects people to unique travel experiences." Transportation and lodging are hard to live without. But as the on-demand trend has exploded, the problems addressed by one-touch services have become smaller and smaller—and thus further magnified by the companies solving them.

Minor errands morph into huge obstacles ("No more planning ahead, sitting in traffic, or running to the store," booze-delivery startup Foxtrot promises). Simple tasks become dreaded time sucks ("So, it looks like you’ll be traveling next week," begins a video from suitcase-packing service Dufl. "Time to fold the laundry, pick up the dry cleaning, and of, course, pack. There goes your Sunday night"). And mildly inconvenient chores are reframed as terrible experiences ("Other cleaners have dirty storefronts, incomprehensible paper receipts, and nonexistent customer service," explains the website of on-demand laundry service Dashlocker).

WeFuel’s ultimate vision is to distribute fuel-tracking hardware that plugs into a standard drive inside most cars. The device will keep tabs on when cars need to be refilled and where they are located. WeFuel drivers will travel to refill them as needed, without the driver even pressing a button (WeFuel will charge $7.50 per fill-up). This would unarguably be an easier way to keep a car tank full of gas than stopping at a gas station. But that doesn’t mean that stopping for gas is really all that difficult.

Creating problems is not new terrain for advertising. Ads have successfully convinced us that we smell bad, that bad breath is a medical condition, that hair doesn’t belong on women’s legs, and that a marriage proposal is empty without a diamond ring. "Make your life a tiny bit more convenient" is just not quite as compelling as "avoid an incredible hardship."

But Silicon Valley’s problem inflation is more than a shopworn advertising trope—it's evidence that entrepreneurs are tackling issues that are really only problems for people much like themselves. Tech companies offer perks like free meals, dry cleaning, and bike repair to their workers (indeed, fourth fueling startup Booster Fuels sells its refueling services to companies that want to offer it as a benefit). Their veteran employees launch startups that make conveniences once enjoyed only by extremely wealthy people—butlers, on-demand drivers, personal assistants—accessible to the creative class, who as the WeFuel ad points out, have become accustomed to a world in which "every day, in every way, the things that matter to our lives are coming to us." It's only when you consider the stereotypically overworked and unprecedentedly privileged lifestyle of the Silicon Valley tech workers who invent and consume these services—as opposed to those who do the work to perform them—that these ho-hum errands that make up everyday life begin to look anything like actual problems.

Original article: http://www.fastcompany.com/3055627/silicon-valleys-problem-solving-bubble

RollLikeBoss.com: DUFL App Review: Premium Travel Service

Leave your luggage at home with baggage free travel.

Travel light. Talk to any avid traveler and it’s the most common piece of advice you’ll hear. From websites to entire books, the amount of information on how to pack efficiently and travel light is almost endless.

Never check a bag and pack all of your gear into one carry-on is the standard tip from any road warrior. But what if you could go one step further than just one bag? What if you could travel with no bags?

With the DUFL app, you can. Today we take a look at a game-changing concept for the modern traveler – the ‘virtual closet’.

What is DUFL?

Think of DUFL as your own personal closet outside your home. DUFL is a premium valet service for business travelers that offers shipping, cleaning and storage of your favorite clothing to wear while traveling.

Upon enrollment, you simply ship as many garments/clothing as you like to a DUFL centralized facility to create your virtual closet. Here, DUFL will inventory, photograph, and store your clothing until you’re ready for travel. (You may also store all toiletries for the road, with the exception of aerosols).

Once it’s time to hit the road, you only need to select your destination/date, and a DUFL suitcase will be waiting for you at your hotel (case included free upon enrollment).

Once it’s time to go home, you just need to repack the DUFL suitcase, schedule a pickup through the app, and affix the included shipping label. You can head straight to the airport. DUFL will send someone to pick up your bag.

Versatility

What strikes us as most convenient is DUFL’s suitability for a multi-city trip – even one with varying weather conditions and purposes. Got a conference in Seattle, meeting in Phoenix, followed by a bachelor party in Vegas? Not a problem. Forget packing two oversized bags and lugging them around in taxis. DUFL can have your appropriate attire waiting in all three destinations. It’s also worth noting that although DUFL caters to th business traveler, your attire doesn’t need to be confined to business clothing as the app will ship, store, and clean any leisure/nightlife attire for your travel as well.

Catering to the online shopper, it’s even possible to ship any clothing you purchase online directly to your DUFL virtual closet. Your shipping address with DUFL is personalized with a unique customer code. Simply enter this as your shipping address for any purchase, and it winds up in your virtual closet, ready to go.

Anytime you want to refresh your travel wardrobe, no problem – just ship your clothing to your home address at the end of a trip and return it with whatever replacements you desire.

Overall, the prospective amount of time saved is impressive, no more time spent packing or picking up and paying the dry cleaners. No more hurrying onto the airplane to hunt for an overhead storage bin. With DUFL, you can literally step out of your office with nothing but your briefcase and head straight to the airport.

Pricing and Shipping

DUFL costs $9.95 per month of membership and $99 per roundtrip. This includes all costs for shipping, cleaning, and storage. DUFL uses standard FedEx 3 day shipping, so be sure to plan ahead. If you’re traveling on short notice, DUFL offers FedEx overnight shipping for $49.

Geography

Currently, DUFL is available for all travel within the US and selected business hubs in Europe and Canada. It is also available in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne.

In a welcome addition, the app is also available for international residents who travel frequently within the US. All goods are stored in the US and pricing varies by trip – contact DUFL Customer Support by email or phone on their concierge line (open 24/7) for assistance and price quotes.

The next time you have a trip that requires a bit of wardrobe planning in several cities, or if you’re just an avid traveler for business and/or leisure, we recommend considering DUFL.

It’s the future of concierge service brought right to your phone and the epitome of what modern travel should be – less hassle and more free time to roll like boss wherever, and whenever you land.

Original article: http://rolllikeboss.com/2016/01/dufl-app-review-premium-travel-service.html

Press Release: Popular Travel Service DUFL Partners with Benefit One, Japan’s Leading Benefits Outsourcing Company

Seven Million-Plus Members Can Now Use DUFL to Streamline Business Travel

DUFL, the award-winning startup that is changing the way the world travels, today announced that the company has partnered with Benefit One, Japan’s leading benefits outsourcer, to provide more than seven million members with the benefit of hassle-free business travel with DUFL. Benefit One members can now select DUFL as a travel benefit on the Benefit One portal, "Benefit Station," and receive a special discount on the popular service.

Benefit One serves more than 5,736 companies with 7.34 million members. Benefit One provides a wide range of perks and membership benefits, including travel, leisure, education, shopping, dining and healthcare services and discounts.

In addition to a listing under the travel section of the Benefit Station membership site, Benefit One will provide its members with information about DUFL in its Benefit Station magazine, which is published 11 times each year. In this way, Benefit One members can learn about how DUFL eliminates the hassles of business travel.

With DUFL, frequent business travelers can create an account online or via an Android or iOS app to receive a DUFL suitcase, which they can fill with their business wardrobe and toiletries, scheduling a pickup via the app or online. DUFL then picks up the suitcase, inventories and photographs each item, launders or dry cleans clothing and securely stores it in the member’s virtual DUFL closet.

When members have business travel plans, they can virtually pack online or using the app, provide their destination hotel and arrival time, and DUFL will professionally pack their bag and deliver it so the suitcase will be waiting when the customer arrives. When it’s time to go home, travelers simply schedule a pickup at the hotel, and DUFL retrieves the bag and cleans and stores the items so that they are ready for the next business trip. Business travel has never been easier thanks to DUFL.

"We’re delighted to offer DUFL’s innovative travel service to our members," said Kiyoshi Koga, Managing Director of Service Development Department, Benefit One Inc. "We can now support our frequent travellers to have a more enjoyable business trip by saving members considerable time while lightening their load.

"Benefit One is a one-stop benefits hub for millions of professionals in Japan and the Asia Pacific region, providing a simple way to choose perks and benefits across multiple categories," said Shinji Tsukamoto, co-founder and President of DUFL International, who is based in Japan. "Now Benefit One members can not only take advantage of travel discounts and services, they can make traveling a pleasure again with DUFL, which makes it easy to breeze through airports baggage-free."

Benefit One members can start using DUFL at a discounted rate by choosing the service via Benefit One’s "Benefit Station" membership site. Find out more about DUFL at www.dufl.com.

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to roam untethered. Our secure, sophisticated platform delivers your bag where and when you need it. With each use your clothing is cleaned how you like it and prepared for your next trip. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

Highsnobiety.com: 15 of the Craziest ‘Uber-Style’ Services Available From Your Smartphone

These days there’s an Uber for everything… Well, almost, everything.

Too busy to walk your dog? Use Wag. Need your laundry washed, ironed and delivered to your door? There’s Purple Tie. Need a local doctor? Try Heal. Want a coffee from your favorite coffee shop across town that doesn’t actually deliver? Say hello to DoorDash.

Thanks to the worldwide success of companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Eventbrite, on-demand start-ups for pretty much any service that can be reserved or delivered are popping up every week and investment in such companies is flowing in (as much as $4.1 billion in 2014, according to last year’s reports).

Facebook’s M is one of the most recent additions to the on-demand landscape. Currently in development and on trial with select U.S. users, it’s a personal assistant that — like a cross between Siri and we-deliver-anything services like Magic — can make reservations, bookings and source the best local service.

Whether it will deliver a tailor to your door, sort your weed needs in under 15 minutes or deliver a cute bunch of kittens to your office, however, remains to be seen. In the meantime, there’s an app for all those things. Whether you need a chopper, a cop, a personal chef or a parking valet, we’ve got you covered*… *Provided you live in a large city and usually in the U.S.

Charter A Private Jet

Uber is fine for traveling across the city, but for those times when you have to travel further afield, real pros go by private jet. Numerous on-demand chartered aircraft services have emerged this decade, at least two of which have been invested in by Jay Z (Blackjet and Jetsmarter).

While the service type varies with every company — some have their own fleet of aircraft, others use the “empty seats” concept where you fill a flight that would otherwise be empty on its return — Jetsmarter uses the most Uber-like model.

The app is essentially a booking service with access to thousands of global chartered flight companies who are looking to fill empty seats. Their annual fee is currently $8499, and for this you get free flights for a whole year. If you fly several times a month, this actually works out cheaper than regular flights.

You may never have to fly economy again…

Fly By Helicopter

Get to the chopper! Blade is an app that works by crowdsourcing/pooling helicopter flights to popular destinations from New York City, such as Miami, The Hamptons, The Bahamas, Nantucket and Cape Cod (which might give you some idea of their target market).

That said, when the helicopter is full, seats can be as low as $395 (less than half a standard charter helicopter flight). You can also pick your own U.S. destination and Blade will transfer you by chopper to their own Gulfstream IV private jet, for ultimate last minute ballin’ escape plans.

Bonus kudos points go to Blade for their staff uniform — stylish denim romper suits and white jumpsuits designed by Jimmy Choo co-founder Tamara Mellon!

Captain Your Own Boat

With over 40,000 boats operating over 2,000 locations over 140 countries, Get My Boat is a much bigger operation than Uber (who currently operate out of 69 countries). That said, technically it’s more like Airbnb, allowing boat owners to list their watercraft for rent when they’re not using it. As a result the rental options are broader than the captain’s table, with vessels ranging right the way from small canoe to super yachts.

Call The Cops

Strictly limited to inhabitants of New Orleans’ French Quarter, French Quarter Task Force (FQTF) is literally an Uber for cops: you see a crime or disturbance, report it using the app, and off-duty police officers roll up on cute looking four-wheelers.

Funded by local sanitation mogul-turned-Bruce Wayne Sidney Torres and the New Orleans tourist board, FQTF’s motto is “keep the good times rolling…And the bad guys rolling out.” So far, so good…For the French Quarter. Other New Orleans neighborhoods are yet to be convinced.

Rent A Drone

What could you possibly need an on-demand drone for? I think the better question is: what would you not want a drone for?

Need a group photo in a beautiful location and refuse to give in to a selfie stick? Considering a surf, but want to check the conditions ahead? Leaving your house unattended, but want to maintain remote surveillance? Maybe you just want to find out which neighbor’s dog keeps crapping on your lawn…

All these things are possible thanks to the rent-a-drone service offered by GoFor. If you need a parking spot, your drone can hover in an available place and reserve it for you. It can even hover above you and boost your internet range if you’re in a remote location. While Ubering a drone may seem ridiculous at first, the more you consider GoFor’s unique service, the more practical it becomes.

Currently available in five U.S. cities, GoFor is expected to roll out in more territories this year.

Get A Trim

NYC residents may never need to queue at a barber’s again. Shortcut brings a barber to your location any day of the week between 8 a.m. and midnight. Appointments can be made 30 minutes in advance and prices start at $65 (but can be lower if a few of you get a trim together). Bearded? Pruning is also available, but not wet shaves. Yet.

Not in NYC? Don’t worry; like so many on-demand services, the plan is to roll out in more cities as soon as there’s more demand.

Get A Better Fitting Wardrobe

We’ve all got a few guilty impulse buys that don’t quite fit, or need a little re-fixing over the years. Yet sourcing a good tailor often feels like more effort than just wearing those ill-fitting trousers with the belt pulled tight. Until now, that is.

zTailor allows U.S. fashion lovers to request a tailor to visit their house and finally make those alterations. The braindchild of U.S. department store Macy’s, zTailor is currently branching out across America. Make an appointment, conduct a complete wardrobe analysis, get measured, and in within a week they will return your freshly fitted garms.

From pleat removal to extra buttons, tailors can rescue clothes you’d never thought you’d wear again…All you have to do is make an appointment. A full price guide can be found on their website.

Drop And Give Someone 20

Vint allows you to choose your desired workout and location, and a personal trainer will come join you for a session as low as $10!

Sounds good, but it actually gets better: Vint has relationships with various gym chains, bootcamps and fitness centers, so you can use their facilities without paying the steep membership fees. Currently available in Stockholm, San Francisco, New York and LA.

Hire A Private Chef

On-demand food services have been around for a while, with companies like Try Caviar delivering food from haute cuisine restaurants and Munchery delivering high-end pre-cooked meals from their own kitchen. Kitchen Surfing, however, takes it a whole new level by delivering an actual chef to your house.

Only available in Manhattan and Brooklyn (for now), each week has a set menu and the chef brings everything they need, including their own pans and burners (on the off chance your domestic culinary provisions game is somewhat lacking).

Dinner for two starts at $59, and the meals are designed for the chef to cook, serve and clear up within 30 minutes. Don’t worry, they won’t sit down to dinner with you.

Ditch Your Hold Luggage

Hands-free business travel for $9.99 a month? If you fly frequently for work, DUFL could be the on-demand labor-saving service for you.

It works like this: they send you a large suitcase to fill with your regular work clothes. You send it back and they dry clean, iron, store and record everything in an online inventory. Whenever you next travel, use the app to fill your virtual case and tell them your destination and dates. Then, voila, your luggage will be there waiting, unpacked, in the hotel room when you arrive. They’ll even collect it when you leave!

No waiting for the suitcase carousel, no lengthy check-ins, no cumbersome heavy lifting or annoying bag wheeling. Just pick up your hand luggage and go like a pro.

Get Baked

On-demand weed service Eaze started up in fall 2014 after raising $10 million in funding (an undisclosed sum of which came from longstanding sticky-icky-icky advocate Snoop Dogg), and since then the service has proven to be predictably popular. After all, if there’s one thing a stoner will always thank you for, it’s removing necessary effort.

The concept is simple (and maddening for those who don’t live in a country where medical marijuana laws are in place): sign up with proof of your medical marijuana documents, choose your bud/product, relay your coordinates, enjoy…Often within as little as 15 minutes of making the request.

Currently available in 80 U.S. cities, the only thing we need now is a service that will replace your papers when you realize you just lit up the last one…

Get The Perfect Park Job

A unique parking stress buster, all you have to do is advise Luxe on your destination and arrival time and a parking valet will be waiting there to pick up your car and take it to a secure parking lot. Let them know your departure time, and the car will be ready and waiting.

They can also meet you at another destination, clean your car or fill it with gas, eliminating those tasks from your life completely. Currently available in nine major U.S. cities, average prices are $5 per hour. Maybe hire yourself a drone to watch the car if it’s worth a lot of money, though…

Order A Box Full Of Baby Animals

”These cute kittens and puppies are ruining my day!” – said no one, ever. Even in the Highsnobiety world, we appreciate the restorative power of 15 minutes with a box full of puppies.

Uber’s occasional puppy and kitten deliveries are the stuff of on-demand legend. Perfect for parties or offices, and available during select weeks in 50 worldwide cities, Uber can deliver a selection of cute animals for 15-minute cuddle frenzies costing, approximately, $15 – 30. All proceeds go to local animal shelters and, in many cases, these cuties are up for adoption and rehoming. There really isn’t anything not to like here.

Find Your Dream Dog Lover

With “Tinderisation” now as rife as Uber-style services, we had to include a few dating apps in this list, and one of the more interesting we’ve come across recently is Tindog.

As the name suggests, Tindog works exactly like Tinder: set up a profile, upload an enticing pic (of your dog, not yourself) and a description of you and your four-legged friend’s activities, then start searching for possible matches in your area.

Depending on how well it goes, it could bring a whole new level to the term “dogging”.

Date A Clown

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand finally, if you’ve ever thought your love life just wasn’t quite creepy enough, we bring you an app-based dating service for professional clowns and clown fanciers. No, really.

There’s not much more we can really say about this one, but evidently that obscure market is big enough to warrant its own dedicated software. We can just picture the “about me” section: “Coco, 25, London. Loves getting out of small cars with lots of friends, squirting flowers and custard pies in the face. Swipe right and fill my really big shoes.”

Available in the U.S., UK, South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Because clown love is a global movement, apparently. Just beware if he brings you a “present” on the first date.

Original article: http://www.highsnobiety.com/2016/01/11/craziest-apps-iphone-android/

FOX10 Phoenix: TyPad- DUFL: Personal Valet (video)

 

 

 

RoadWarriorVoices.com: Use These Apps & Services to Relieve Luggage Hassles

Dealing with luggage is arguably the worst part about traveling. Packing it, checking it, carrying it around — none of it is fun. But a few startups have emerged helping travelers ease their luggage woes. So whether you’re looking for a smarter way to transport your belongings or trying not bring them at all, the following tools can help.

Bluesmart ($399)This brilliant suitcase sparked the smart luggage revolution of 2015. Bluesmart bag can charge multiple USB-equipped devices at once, lock/unlock and weigh itself, as well as notify you when you’re leaving it behind. Plus, you can use a paired app to track your bag so you always know exactly where it is. If that’s not enough — through a partnership with Bluesmart — Uber will deliver your bag to your destination for free in the event that it doesn’t arrive on time.

DUFL ($9.95 per month for storage and $99 per round trip).DUFL is a domestic business traveler’s dream come true. The service stores, cleans, presses, folds and ships your clothes to your destination hotel so you can travel without bags. The company will deliver you a DUFL bag, pick it up and take photos of your clothes so after they’re stored, you can look through your virtual closet on the app and select your wardrobe for each trip. The service helps travelers pack light and removes concerns about wrinkled clothing, airport screenings and lost luggage.

LuggagePub ($8-$12 per bag).LuggagePub ($8-$12 per bag). LuggagePub is a same-day luggage pickup and dropoff startup (servicing only New York City, for now). It’s budget-friendly, and great for times when you have a late flight or check-in and don’t want to miss out on seeing the sights because you’d have to lug a bag around or return to your hotel to pick it up. You can book the service via the website or app, and monitor your bag on a real-time map.

LuggageForward (varies)This door-to-door luggage-shipping service can be used for both domestic and international trips. The company picks up your bags from a location of your choice (even your home) and delivers it to your destination. You can track your bags along their journey, and will be notified once they arrive.

WeGoLook (Varies)This app has 20,000 nationwide “Lookers” (agents based in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia) who can pick up luggage — or even lost/forgotten items — and deliver it to a shipping service or a nearby location like a hotel or residence. The company offers live assistance throughout the process.

Originl article: http://roadwarriorvoices.com/2015/12/26/use-these-apps-and-services-to-relieve-luggage-hassles/

Examiner.com: 5 Essential Travel Apps You Should Be Using This Holiday Season
       

As the holiday travel season moves into the home stretch towards New Year's Eve, using the right travel apps can make the year's busiest travel time easier. Here are five essential travel apps you should be using to save yourself time and aggravation:

UberYou may be familiar with Uber as a great way to get safely home from a fun night on the town, but did you know the service is available globally? Uber has cars in 300 cities in 68 countries around the world. Same app, same account, making it as easy to hail an Uber car in London or Hong Kong as it is down the street from your house. As in the U.S., in most locations, Uber is cheaper than a taxi.

DUFL If you're a business traveler, you probably take a lot of the same clothes on every trip. Using a virtual closet, the DUFL app's travel valet service packs, cleans, launders and delivers your clothes, door-to-door. No more checking in luggage, paying extra fees or waiting at the baggage carousel. First-time users get a DUFL suitcase, you pack it and schedule a pick-up. The luggage, which is trackable in real-time on the app, is delivered to your hotel or destination. When you're ready to check out, DUFL picks up the suitcase, launders and cleans the clothes, which are then stored in the DUFL virtual closet. Clothes are visible on the app and can be selected and virtually packed for the next trip, then delivered to wherever that destination may be. The virtual closet is $9.95 per month and a basic, round-trip, with pick-up, standard delivery, cleaning and pressing and pick-up of one bag is $99.99.

Silvercar If you need to rent a car and want to avoid lines, rental car offices and paperwork, Silvercar is the answer. The app-based car rental company only rents silver Audi A4s, loaded with Audi's safety, performance and technology features. They are in twelve cities across the U.S. and the entire process, from reservation to unlocking the car to billing and payment, is all done via the Silvercar app. Rates are around $65 per day.

LoungeBuddy While waiting for a flight, who doesn't like relaxing in the comfort of an airport lounge, enjoying WiFi, food and a plethora of electrical outlets. LoungeBuddy is an essential travel app that serves two key functions: status-holding flyers can find out instant information about airport lounges around the world and those without elite status or access can purchase instant day passes to 48 lounges right on the app. Using and based on data stored in your profile and your itinerary, the app's access wizard can also advise on which lounges you do have free access to. The LoungeBuddy app is free to use and lounge access pass pricing depends on the location, most are between $50 and $100.

CLEAR For $179 a year, CLEAR allows frequent travelers to use special expedited security lines in 13 airports across the U.S. (and a few ballparks). CLEARlanes speed travelers right to the security screening process, avoiding the long security line. Upon signup, the service does a basic background check and in-person biometric scans (fingerprints and iris) to confirm a traveler's identity. Additional travelers on the same account are $50 and children under 18 are free and can travel through the expedited process with the CLEAR member.

http://www.examiner.com/article/5-essential-travel-apps-you-should-be-using-this-holiday-season

USA Today: Q&A: DUFL CEO on his Winning Business Travel App

An app voted by 10best.com readers as the best new travel app allows you to travel luggage-free by simplifying and speeding up the airport process for frequent business travelers.

DUFL, a premium valet app that allows business travelers to travel luggage-free was voted the best new travel app of 2015 in the USA TODAY 10Best Reader’s Choice awards. Founder and CEO of DUFL Bill Rinehart spoke with 10Best about the inspiration behind his app, streamlining business travel and his plans for the future.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your area of expertise?

A: “My name is Bill Rinehart, I'm the Founder and CEO of DUFL. This is my third company as a start-up CEO, having led two successful exits at Limelight and Unicorn Media. At Limelight and Unicorn Media, we wrote to improve the delivery system of digital things, at DUFL we're now writing software to improve the delivery of physical things. It's still software, still about logistics. I think my strong suit is setting the vision and direction of the company and then hiring the right executive staff to execute on the plan."

What was the inspiration behind DUFL? How did it originate?

A: “It was a personal pain point for me. I was in London for business, waiting for a car to take me to the train, and then to the airport for my return flight to Phoenix. I was dreading the fact that when I got home I needed to unpack, do laundry, make a same day rush trip to the dry cleaner and repack so that I could be on a plane to New York on Monday. I thought- there has to be a service out there that will get your bag to your hotel without having to clean, pack and drag it with you in cars, trains, airports, customer meetings, hotels, etc. After doing some research, and finding only luggage forwarding services, I knew there was a niche that needed to be filled."

DUFL launched in May. How has the response been? What have been your biggest challenges and successes?

A: “The response has been overwhelming! Since our launch in May we have delivered to over 400 cities in the U.S. and a growing number of international destinations. I think one of our biggest challenges was in developing the software for our warehouse. Our service is a bit different in that our shipments never come back the same the way they went out. In other words, you've probably added the clothes to your suitcase that you wore on the way to your destination, and have taken an outfit out of the suitcase to wear home. Our success is that our software tracks all that fluid inventory. We photograph every item and the user can see the status of every item in their closet."

Q: In your view, what are the three biggest ways frequent travelers can benefit from DUFL?

A: "Frequent travelers can benefit from DUFL in many ways, but I'd say the top three are that: 1. DUFL saves them time. Time that was spent packing, unpacking, doing laundry and going to the dry cleaner. It also includes time spent getting to the airport early - whether to check a bag or standing in line to board early in order to get a carry-on bag overhead on each leg of the trip. The average person spends about 3-5 hours per round trip on those tedious chores. Add that time up for someone who travels 2 or 3 times per month and you're looking at 5-8 days per year spent managing your clothing and luggage. 2. DUFL also gives our users time to focus on what's important- their families when they are at home and their clients when they are on the road. 3. DUFL gives business travelers the luxury of hassle free travel - no fighting for overhead bin space, no worrying about packing the night before a trip, no waiting at the baggage carousel or dragging a bag through the airport or to client meetings or dinners. DUFL is all about giving our users something they really need - time. And of course, there's convenience."

Q: What is on the horizon for you? New DUFL features? New travel apps?

A: “We have a very robust roadmap and plan to expand our facilities throughout the US and select International destinations. We also plan to launch additional features such as DUFL Sports in 2016, which will allow users to store their skis, golf clubs, scuba gear, surf boards and other equipment that they use at other destinations and rarely use at home."

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/advice/2015/12/17/qa-with-dufl-ceo-bill-rinehart/77469208/

DUFL Voted Best New Travel App in USA TODAY
 

Popular Travel Service DUFL Ranked #1 of the 20 Favorite Travel Apps Nominated in the “10Best Readers’ Choice” Awards

TEMPE, Ariz- December 11, 2015- DUFL, the premium travel service that’s changing the rules of business travel, today announced that DUFL was voted the #1 Best New Travel App in USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. DUFL received the most votes among the 20 nominees that were in the running for this year’s favorite travel app.

Nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts, which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY; editors from 10Best.com; relevant expert contributors; and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties. The nomination panel for each award category is displayed on its associated contest page.

DUFL, which made a huge splash when it launched earlier this year, allows frequent business travelers to eliminate the time spent laundering clothes, packing bags and lugging suitcases through airports by storing, laundering, packing and transporting users’ business wardrobes to and from their destination. That means weary business travelers can spend more time with their families at home or with clients when they are on the road. DUFL is available for travel within the United States and also delivers to international business hubs in Canada, European Union Counties, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney and more.

To get started, users download the DUFL app (online or via an iOS or Android device), register for the service and request a welcome kit, which includes a DUFL suitcase. Users fill the suitcase with all the items they normally take on the road and then have it picked up and shipped to the DUFL warehouse, where items are inventoried, cleaned, photographed and stored in the user’s DUFL virtual closet.  When customers are gearing up for a business trip, they can use the DUFL app to select which clothes they want to bring from their virtual DUFL closet, enter a destination and arrival date, and DUFL will take care of the rest, ensuring the customer’s DUFL suitcase is waiting at the hotel when the customer arrives. When it’s time to go home, customers simply schedule a pickup and leave the bag at the hotel’s front desk, traveling home luggage-free.

“We were thrilled to be included among USA TODAY’S ‘10Best Readers’ Choice’ favorite new travel app nominees and honored to have been voted number one by USA TODAY readers,” says CEO Bill Rinehart, chairman and founder of DUFL. “Since we launched in May, DUFL has delivered suitcases for business travelers to more than 250 cities in the U.S. and a growing number of international destinations. We created DUFL because we know what a hassle it is to travel for business, and we give our users back something very valuable - time.”

10Best.com provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world. The core of the site's uniqueness is its team of local travel experts: a well-traveled and well-educated group who are not only experts in their fields - and their cities - but discriminating in their tastes. These local experts live in the city they write about so the content is constantly updated. In 2012, 10Best.com averaged more than 700,000 monthly unique visitors generating approximately 28 million page views.  It was acquired by USA TODAY in January of 2013.

Travelers can view the 10Best Readers’ Choice travel apps, including DUFL’s winning entry, at  http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-new-travel-app/. Find out more about DUFL at www.dufl.com.

About DUFL

DUFL is changing the rules of travel – rules like getting to the airport an hour early, paying extra to check a bag, having to wait at the baggage claim carousel, or having to worry about a bag at all. The DUFL app gives frequent travelers the freedom to roam untethered. Our secure, sophisticated platform delivers your bag where and when you need it. With each use your clothing is cleaned how you like it and prepared for your next trip. Get started by downloading the free DUFL app and creating an account or learn more at www.dufl.com.

Forbes.com: A Holiday Gift Guide For Finicky Founders
       

Startup bros spend a lot of time on the road and they need to travel light, while still dressing to impress. Enter DUFL, the travel concierge you never knew you needed. This service gives you a suitcase to fill and store at DUFL, where they maintain a virtual closet for you. When you travel, DUFL delivers the suitcase to your hotel and picks up when you’re done. DUFL does your laundry, dry cleaning, and expertly repacks your suitcase so that it’s ready for your next trip. DUFL allows your to focus on business, not the logistics of your trip.

$9.95 a month for a virtual closet,  $99 per trip.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dannyboice/2015/12/09/bro-tech-gift-giving-guide/2/

Fox & Friends: DUFL Packing Challenge (Video)
FastCompany.com: How To Launch A Startup In An Unfamiliar Industry

Inspiration can strike anyone. But the sorts of ideas that transform whole industries usually don't—especially if it's an idea to improve a sector where you have no personal expertise at all. Inexperience unmakes a great many would-be "outsider entrepreneurs." Translating a new concept into a successful business in an unfamiliar industry is difficult, to put it lightly. But it's possible with the right approach.

After decades as a frequent business traveler, I knew what it was like to be a regular airline passenger, hotel guest, and user of transportation services, but I had never worked in the travel industry. Still, I had an idea that was inspired by my personal experience as a customer, and, along with my team, I was able to successfully create and launch DUFL, an app designed to make life easier for business travelers worldwide.

While no two innovations are alike, I learned these three lessons that can apply to virtually any entrepreneur looking to build a business in an unfamiliar industry.

1. Acknowledge you have a lot to learn.

It’s incredibly important to admit that you don’t fully understand the industry you’re entering. My team and I had plenty of startup experience and know-how in the software and media sectors, both of which helped us when it came to our new startup. But we were open about our lack of travel sector and logistics expertise.

That ignorance could have proved a liability, but it turned out to attract amazingly valuable, unsolicited help from people who did understand what we didn't. Pointing out your blind spots is one of the best ways to solicit the right help for filling them. We found that simply asking for advice brought in a stream of useful people and information that helped us successfully set up and deliver our service.

2. Hire for your short-term needs.

When you’re launching a startup in an unfamiliar industry, you’ll almost certainly need expert guidance beyond the free advice you receive when you admit you don’t know the ropes. Hiring a team on a full-time or contractor basis can give you the right skill sets for your short-term needs.

Keep in mind that if you can't clear the immediate hurdles, there will be no later ones. One longer-term upshot to this approach is that it can still help you form a core group around which to build a larger organization as your needs grow and evolve. Maybe someone you hired for an early-stage project has proved their mettle and is a great fit to move forward with.

In my new company’s case, we spent a solid four months gaining an understanding of logistics, warehousing, laundering, and packing practices so we could handle customers’ road-trip wardrobes when we launched. Then, armed with the right team, we were able to manage service delivery down to the smallest detail.

By acquiring talent that could help us get all of that right from the very start, we were able to gain an incredibly deep understanding of the industry early on, despite being new to it. That let us roll out a white-glove service capable of generating the enthusiastic response we needed at launch time.

3. Think big and leave your mark.

While it’s crucial to be realistic about the limits of your industry knowledge when you enter in a new sector, that shouldn’t prevent you from putting your own spin on it. After all, you’re there to improve the industry. As long as you believe in the power of your idea and can back it up with action, don't be afraid to be bold and assertive about what you can do.

My team and I set out to change the way the world travels, which we realize is a lofty goal. But we're working hard to make sure that isn't just an empty promise. We’ve personally experienced the downsides of the old ways of doing things, and we're determined to change it. That attitude is a prerequisite for true innovation in an unfamiliar industry.

Sometimes it takes a person who's removed from daily industry operations to see the opportunities for improvement. But vision alone does not disruption make. You also need the humility to admit what you don’t know, the foresight to surround yourself with the talent you need to move forward, and the will to create real change over the long-term.

Bill Rinehart is Chairman, CEO, and Founder of DUFL, a premium service that simplifies travel by shipping, cleaning, and storing your business attire. At DUFL, Bill drives overall strategy, manages operations, and oversees commercial activities.

This article appeared on Fastcompany.com on Nov. 18, 2015. http://www.fastcompany.com/3053652/how-to-launch-a-successful-startup-in-an-unfamiliar-industry

Hauteliving.com: Planning a Big Trip? This App Will Pack For You

The holidays are finally upon us. Traveling during the holiday season can be, quite frankly, one of the most stressful experiences. From flight delays to airlines overselling seats to other unforeseen expenses, for many it may seem like a necessary evil. However, instead of focusing on what you cannot control why don’t you focus on what you can—packing. We did a little digging, and voilà, we uncovered the only app you will need this holiday season, Dufl.

Dufl is a premium, luxury travel service that acts as a personal valet for travelers. The highlight of this service: the app does the packing for you. Yes, you read correctly. The app can eliminate the stress and headache of packing. The concept behind the app is to eliminate the main stressors involved during traveling such as arriving at the airport hours before a flight, paying for bags, fighting for overhead compartment space, and of course spending precious minutes waiting at baggage claim.

“When you sign up for the service we send you a massive roller bag to your house or business. In that bag you put all the things that you wear on the road and send it back to us,” said Bill Rinehart, Dufl’s founder and CEO. “We inventory everything, have it cleaned, professionally photograph everything, and we put it in your closet in our warehouse. Now you have your closet on your phone.”

The service doesn’t stop there. Using the app, you select which clothes you’d like to take from your Dufl virtual closet, and then enter your destination and arrival date. Let’s say you have plans to stay at the Gansevoort Hotel, in the swanky Meatpacking District. You’ll provide the destination in the app and once you arrive your clothes will be waiting for you in your room. When it’s time for your departure, you’ll schedule a pick up, affix the appropriate shipping label and leave your bag at the hotel desk. Once the items are picked up and cleaned, you will be notified that your items are—safely—back in your virtual closet.

“It’s a white glove service. When you get the bag it almost looks like a gift. It’s wrapped in tissue, everything is professional folded, reduced wrinkling. It’s nicer than anything you’d ever pack for yourself,” said Andrea Graziani, Dufl’s Chief Marketing Officer.

It only costs $10 a month to store your clothes, with an additional $100 for a round trip anywhere in the United States. When compared to airlines baggage fees, your Dufl service cost about the same amount. International flights depend on where you go.

Of course, this sounds too good to be true. We took the liberty to speak with a Debbie McCall, a Dufl subscriber since May, to see how her experience has been thus far.

What made you interested in employing DUFL’s services?I travel 75,000 to 100,000 miles per year. Packing for a trip, schlepping a carry-on back, finding a space for my bag and then doing laundry when I got home was a chore. The concept of never packing, never doing laundry, and not having to worry about overhead or under seat space or a forced gate check was immensely appealing.

How often do you travel and has DUFL made traveling easier? If so, how?I fly coast-to-coast, at least, monthly and shorter hauls six to eight times a year. First of all, I am a heart patient. Even a carry-on bag can be physically stressful with a quick gate change or last minute change of aircraft, especially to a smaller aircraft. Will my bag fit underneath? Will there be room overhead? I don’t have to pay for earlier boarding. I don’t have to arrive an extra 30-45 min early to check a bag. A friend of mine uses a C-PAP machine and she sent an extra one to Dufl because it is less to carry and doesn’t slow her down through TSA. I can take everything I need including work-out gear & shoes and just-in-case clothes that would have pushed the limits of size and weight for a carry-on bag.

Now all I walk on the plane with is a tote bag for my purse, computer and meds. That fits on every plane including an 11 seater commuter craft. I save another 30-40 minutes on arrival by not waiting at baggage claim. That is crucial time during rush hour traffic when you have to make a meeting.

When I check into the hotel, my Dufl is either waiting in my room or with the bell captain. No hassle at the end of six+ hours of flying. And Dufl packs everything in tissue, liquids are wrapped in plastic and it is wrapped in Dufl blue paper. Lovely and elegant after the end of a dreary plane trip.

Best of all, when I get home, I am home. Done traveling. No having to do laundry, clean out the suitcase. Dufl does all that for me. I can rest the minute I walk in the door because my trip is over.

Some people would be nervous or uneasy about sending their personal belongings to a stranger, what made you over come that?Once you’ve lost a bag to the airline, this isn’t a concern. I’ve had a gate checked bag take so long to be handed to me that I missed the connection. I’ve had a checked bag lost that was never found. And I’ve had a checked bag mis-routed and took 3 days to get home. I’ve also had a checked bag show up at the carousel broken and with items missing. Dufl uses FedEx to ship. In decades using FedEx for personal and business use, they haven’t lost anything. Bonus? Full size toiletries! No scrounging for 3oz bottles or worrying that something will leak en route. With the virtual closet and drawers in their app, I can see everything Dufl has at any time. They send emails/texts that my bag is packed, my bag has shipped, my bag has arrived. They keep closer tabs on my clothes than I do.

What would you grade your experience thus far? A+. One point that Dufl doesn’t stress is their 24/7 human concierge service. I have had to change hotels mid-trip. Called the concierge, they arranged for a pick at the new location. I forgot to arrange for pick-up at the end of the trip. Dufl remembered, called me and arranged for the pick-up. I have to do circle trips now and then: Home to Point A to Point B to Home ~ Dufl has extra FedEx labels and pick-ups already scheduled.

http://hauteliving.com/2015/11/planning-a-big-trip-this-app-will-pack-for-you/592575/

Newsweek.com: Silicon Valley Needs Moms!

We’re inventing the post-Mom economy, which—not to insult mothers or anything—should make us all happier and richer and finally bring us the leisurely future we were promised 50 years ago.

Give it another decade and we might not have anything to do outside of work except exercise at the gym or drink 3-D-printed bourbon at virtual-reality Star Wars bars.

At its core, the post-Mom economy means nobody will have to do his or her chores and everybody can do other people’s chores. Platforms like TaskRabbit create a market matching odd jobs to job-doers. Early post-Mom companies include Washio, which helps you get your laundry done, and Dufl, which gets someone to pack your suitcase for you. Trunk Club is kind of a Garanimals for men—it helps fashion oafs pick out what to wear. These companies have all gotten tens of millions of dollars in venture investment.

Coder Aziz Shamim captured the basic ethos of the post-Mom economy in a much-retweeted tweet earlier this year: “OH: SF tech culture is focused on solving one problem: What is my mother no longer doing for me?” (“OH” is “overheard” in Tweetish.)

His comment was taken by many as an indictment of tech culture. We have big problems—global warming, poverty, runaway obesity—yet 20-something entrepreneurs expend their considerable talents on starting companies that mainly serve bratty 20-somethings with too much money. These entrepreneurs get advised to solve a problem in their own lives, and that problem often seems to be not having a parent nearby anymore.

But look at this through the long lens of labor-saving inventions. In the 1950s and 1960s, electricity and mechanization met up with a postwar booming economy, and we started concocting a new future of freedom from drudge work. This is when the masses adopted clothes-washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, power tools, microwave ovens and powered lawn mowers. Chores done by hand for generations, like scrubbing laundry in a washtub, suddenly disappeared from average, everyday life.

And the trajectory itself was exciting back then. If so much could become mechanized so fast, surely it wouldn’t stop. The Jetsons cartoons of the 1960s featured Rosie the house-cleaner robot. Rosie was a little bit sci-fi and a little bit what we expected to get soon.

But the technology hit a wall. Mechanization couldn’t be made to clean the bathroom, fold clothes or run errands. In the past 50 years, what new inventions have automated our crappy chores? Maybe the Roomba vacuum and automated cat litter boxes, but not much else. We haven’t even gotten a mass-market, GPS-guided robot lawn mower, which you’d think would be a no-brainer by now.

Well, today, connectivity and software are bringing us a Rosie work-around. Instead of building machines to do chores, we’re creating a giant system that efficiently lets all us humans do one another’s chores. That’s more brilliant than it might sound, because now everybody can do the chores they do well and efficiently, and slough off the chores they hate or suck at.

There’s a widely accepted economic formulation that tells us why such a chore exchange should help lift all of our fortunes. It’s called comparative advantage, attributed to 19th-century economist David Ricardo. He applied it to nations and free trade. The theory says that if countries do what they are “most best” at and then trade their most-best products and services for other countries’ most-best products or services, all the countries involved increase productivity and get higher-quality stuff at falling prices. In other words, when every country focuses on what it does best and trades, quality of life improves for all.

Over the past few decades, companies have also embraced comparative advantage, increasingly focusing on core competencies and outsourcing everything else—usually a winning strategy. Today, the Internet, mobile phones and software platforms for the first time make “most-best” trading efficient and easy for individuals. So now we little people can apply Ricardo’s theory too.

The founders of post-Mom companies might think they’re just saving themselves from toil, but they’re actually giving us all ways to do our most-bests and farm out the rest to others who can do their most-bests. On the flip side, these systems let any of us make money off our most-bests, which can then help pay for all the most-best services we buy. It’s a big circle that, if Ricardo was right, makes all our lives better.

Some deride the post-Mom companies as a fad, but that’s probably wrong. In the U.S., where most of the post-Mom companies get started, people in their 20s are a demographic bulge. That helps the post-Mom companies find a fertile market and get traction in a big population of singles who recently left home. In a decade, that group will be largely married, with kids and a mortgage and a whole different set of priorities. Does that mean they’ll likely give up conveniences like Washio?

Lord no! Look at the baby boomers who grew up with dishwashers. Try selling them a house without one. When a generation comes of age with a new convenience, you can bet they’re going to demand that convenience for the rest of their lives. They’re not going to go back to cooking every night instead of ordering from Seamless or Blue Apron, or styling their own hair instead of finding assistance through the Madison Reed app.

In fact, the post-Mom trend is only beginning, but it could take a different turn in coming generations, a turn that could disrupt today’s startups. Artificial intelligence seems likely to become the basis for post-Mom services that cut out humans: driverless cars that shuttle around our kids, or AI tutors, or piano teachers. Weirdly, a Rosie-like robot now seems within reach, powered by AI that lets it learn to do household tasks.

At that point, it will be only a matter of time before technology delivers the ultimate post-Mom invention: the robot Mom. Then we’ll have come full circle. The robot Mom will never tire of telling us to do our chores.

http://www.newsweek.com/2015/11/20/silicon-valley-working-replace-mothers-391794.html

M2M Connectivity: Top 3 Ways Technology Makes Traveling Easier

By Special Guest: Andrea Graziani, CMO, DUFL

If you compare activities at an airport today to an airport scene from a “Mad Men” episode, both would feature harried business travelers lugging their baggage through the terminal. You’d notice a difference in travelers’ fashion sense, but the planes wouldn’t look dramatically different, at least not on the outside (a peek inside the cockpit would reveal more digital displays and fewer ashtrays).

But make no mistake about it: Technology has profoundly changed the way today’s passengers travel, providing tools that make life easier, especially for frequent business travelers. Here are three ways technology simplifies travel for modern day Don Drapers and Peggy Olsons:

Price Comparisons: Websites like Expedia, KAYAK, Priceline and dozens more make it simple for today’s travelers to compare airline fares, hotel rates and car rental prices. Instead of thumbing through the Yellow Pages and calling around to determine the going rate, travelers simply log in and let the search algorithms deliver bargains, saving time and money in the process.

Real-time changes: Websites like Expedia, KAYAK, Priceline and dozens more make it simple for today’s travelers to compare airline fares, hotel rates and car rental prices. Instead of thumbing through the Yellow Pages and calling around to determine the going rate, travelers simply log in and let the search algorithms deliver bargains, saving time and money in the process.

Constant connection: In addition to making it easy for travelers to contact airlines, hotels and rental car agencies, mobile devices and social media platforms let companies reach out to customers, providing a way to send notifications if there are delays or flight cancellations or if something else comes up that requires a change in plans. Mobile devices make it easy to stay connected no matter where travelers go.

Thanks to fare and room rate search engines as well as mobile technology, today’s travelers have it easier than past generations. But these tools are only the beginning. Now services for travelers are harnessing the power of apps and global logistics networks to simplify travel even more, giving business travelers a much-needed break as they pursue other opportunities worldwide.

The next wave of travel-related services promises to extend the benefits of the digital age in new ways, changing the way the world travels once again. There’s never been a more exciting time to be a road warrior.

Andrea Graziani, CMO, DUFL, is a successful, driven marketing professional qualified by over two decades of visible achievements in marketing in the internet/tech industry. Range of experience marketing to B2B and B2C customers with hands on experience in all facets of marketing including PR, design, writing, social media, digital media, lead generation, events, product marketing, web design and development, advertising and more.

 

About.com: Business Travel QuickTips- DUFL personal valet clothes shipment service
InsideHook.com: Never Pack a Bag Again
Men’s Journal.com: 4 Must-Have Apps to Make Air Travel Easier
Inc.com: Choosing the Right Business Name
GlobalTraveler.com: Get Down To Business With Innovative Tools
About.com: How to Pack for Your Flight- But Never Check a Bag
The RUHM Roundup: September 2015
Popular Travel Service DUFL Partners with ANA Mileage Club, The Loyalty Program for ANA, Japan’s Largest Airline
CNBC: With Start-Up, You Can Get To Closet From Across The Globe
DUFL Expands Service to International Destinations
DUFL, the Premium Service that Takes the Hassles Out of Frequent Business Travel, is Now Available on Every Device
Premium Travel Service DUFL Sets Out to Change the Way the World Travels
Skift: 5 New Travel Startups with Clever Solutions to Common Travel Problems
TechCrunch: DUFL, A Service That Packs & Ships Your Suitcase, is a Travelers Dream
Business Insider:This New Startup Wants to Make You the Laziest Person Ever & Have Someone Pack Your Suitcase For You
AppAdvice: New DUFL App Simplifies Travel with a Personal Valet Service
GeekWire: Business Travelers Rejoice, DUFL Will Pack, Ship & Clean Your Clothes For You
MacWorld: The Week in iOS Apps: Offerings For The Jet Set
Uncrate: Packing for trips is a hassle. Hauling your bag through the airport is a hassle.
APEX: DUFL Will Pack Your Suitcase & Deliver It To You
Popular Mechanics: Finally, An App That Packs Your Luggage For You
UrbanDaddy: DUF LOVE: They Pack & Ship Your Bag. You Don't.
Wall Street Journal: There's an Uber for Everything Now.
Examiner: DUFL Might Change the Way You Pack and Travel.
Tnooz: DUFL Wants To Become Your Location-agnostic Virtual Suitcase
Forbes: Is DUFL A Clever Time Saver Or A Harbinger Of The Lazy Economy?
Inc.: 7 Super Smart Business Travel Apps.
Entrepreneur: Traveling To Europe? A New Search Engine Wants To Show Your Every Transportation Option.
Refinery29: 7 Things Airlines Don't Want You To Know.
LA Times: DUFL App Takes On Suitcase Duties For Baggage-Free Business Travel.
CNN: Travel Miracle? New Company Packs Your Suitcase For You.
AZ Tech Beat: DUFL Takes Baggage Claim Out of Business Travels, Raises $3M .
CNN Money: 8 Startups That'll Make Your Travel Experience So Much Better .
List Hunt: 50 States, 50 Startups. Best New(ish) Startups in Each State
Conde Nast Traveler: Would You Let Someone Else Pack For You?
Forbes-DUFL’s Hassel Free Luggage Service Expands with New Apps
MarketWatch.com: 5 Ways to Stop Airlines From Losing Your Luggage
CNBC: With Start-Up, You Can Get To Closet From Across The Globe
Good Morning Arizona: DUFL