While business travel has taken a hit from the recent up tick in ticket prices, increase in air traffic congestion and a decrease in passenger comfort, I see mobile technologies as one ray of sunlight on the road warrior's horizon.
Traditionally the most popular mobile technology among road warriors has been the cell phone. But business travelers today are staying connected in a variety of ways — from smart phones to WiFi-enabled laptops to, of course, the trusty BlackBerry.
But although most business travelers are wired in one way or another, it's a challenge for their employers to figure out how to integrate and maximize this mobility as part of their corporate travel program.
In fact, a white paper exploring this subject (titled "Upwardly Mobile: The Next Step For Travel Management") will be presented by Frank Palapies, head of Global Commercial Operations for travel technology company, Amadeus, at the ACTE Global Education Conference in Washington, D.C., May 18-20.
You can check out the white paper online  starting May 19.
The study examines fast-developing mobile technologies and what part they can and should play in a company's travel program. For example, the study discusses how corporations might best respond to unexpected events, like a natural disaster or geopolitical crisis in a country where a business traveler might be stranded.
From my personal perspective, the biggest impact that changing mobile technologies have had on my business travel work/life has been the dominance and actual necessity of my BlackBerry. It lives with me in my travels. And according to the white paper, my multimedia device and I might be even more cozy in the future.
Today's cell phone is likely to be tomorrow's direction finder, paperless boarding pass, hotel room key, traveler security enhancer, and retail payment method.
So whether you love or loathe your BlackBerry (for me, it depends on the day), the survey shows that the bottom line when it comes to mobile technology is that it will have a major and increasing impact on how travel is booked, managed, and paid for.
And while some business travelers may feel that technology is ruling their work/life, I think that the informed road warrior — and the companies they work for — really can leverage the newest mobile devices to make their travels a whole lot easier.
How do you use wireless to help you on the road?
And what types of travel applications would you like to have on your wireless device?
Road Warrior • Miami • www.amadeus.com