A mobile phone is a traveler’s most trusted resource. Before settling into your seat and setting your phone to “airplane mode,” there are many logistic hurdles to overcome.
GateGuru has created a mobile app that guides you through major airports. While other apps focus on booking a fight, this app is all about the airport experience.
RewardExpert spoke with Dan Gellert, co-founder of GateGuru, about how the app works.
Founding of GateGuru
GateGuru launched in December 2009 after Gellert became inspired by the idea that mobile phones could be useful in navigating airports. Rather than poring over maps at kiosks, users can find what they want before they step into the terminal.
“I was traveling a lot through the U.S. and realized there were many airport amenities and I never knew what was there.”
Since then, Gellert and co-founder Jeff Arena developed the GateGuru app which is often described as “Yelp for Airports” because of the user reviews.
They received early publicity when CNN named GateGuru a top-5 travel app. The app also was featured in an Apple commercial. GateGuru has a companion app called SeatGuru, which helps traveler find better airline seats.
TripAdvisor acquired the apps in 2013 to expand the brand’s involvement with the whole travel experience.
GateGuru is still growing and continues to be updated. The app now boasts a database of 80 airports, airport services and amenities such as restaurants and boutiques.
Features of the App
“GateGuru is an airport ‘Insider’s Guide’ for travelers before they arrive,” Gellert says.
Travelers like to plan ahead and care about specific details, he noted. “Some travelers want to know everything about the day of travel.”
Air travelers are spending more time at the airport. They check-in sooner to ensure they make it through long security lines. Also, layovers are frequent, which leaves travelers with time to kill.
With all that time spent in an airport, people want to eat and shop. The app includes restaurant menus and reviews.
“A problem many travelers have is not knowing where things are. And, they wonder if the food is good or mediocre. With the app, travelers have more choices,” Gellert says.
In addition, the app gives critical information such as flight status, gate changes and TSA wait times.“We wanted to turn the airport experience from one of stress and frustration to having all needed information easily accessible,” he says.
The app is also useful for those meeting a flyer at the airport. By entering the flight number, a friend or business associate will know whether the flight is delayed.
“The app helps find amenities at unfamiliar airports, stay on top of gate changes, get estimated TSA wait times and make sure you go to the right terminal for your flight,” says Gellert.
The app has some fun features. For example, there’s ‘Your Travel Stats,’ where a travelers can see their mileage and other statistics such as how many airports they’ve visited. This information may be useful to track frequent flyer miles.
However, Gellert says the app isn’t built to keep track of miles and points. It’s better if traveler’s check in with their rewards card site or app or register at rewardexpert.com to track their rewards.
Gellert says the app will continue to be updated, but could not disclose any details about future releases. GateGuru has strong partnerships with airport management companies globally, so most of the data is reliable and up to date.
Travelers rely on information and now they have what they need at their fingertips. Mobile apps have given “tech power into the hands of the traveler.”