I needed to take a taxi on my recent trip to Chicago to attend TechCon. Normally, I would wave one down at a street corner or have a hotel staff member call one for me. This time, though, I decided to use Hailo, one of the event's sponsors.
Hailo is not the only taxi app available (others include Uber, GetTaxi and Flywheel, for example) for passengers. However, as a newbie to the world of taxi-finding-by-phone, I found it extremely easy to use.
The service—designed by taxi drivers—says that “we make sure people are never more than two taps away from a licensed taxi.” And it’s true. Once you’ve downloaded the free app (available for iPhone and Android) and entered your credit card info, all you have to do is open up the app, watch as it searches for cabs nearby and then tap “Pick Me Up Here.”
Once a cab driver is notified, you can watch on the map as the car comes toward your location. You’re given the taxi cab’s number and driver’s name (your name is given to the driver, as well). You can select pre-determined tips (15 percent, 20 percent, 25 percent or other), so that when you arrive at your location, all you have to say is thank-you as you exit the car. Since your credit card is already stored with the service, you receive an email receipt within minutes of your journey’s completion.
"I’ve just recently used some of the taxi apps that are relatively new in the marketplace," said Jill Brown Smith, a senior account executive at Zerista Inc. and a member of the MPI Chicago Area Chapter. "I can see this being useful for planners and events if you provide attendees the link to either Hailo or Uber (or any other app out there) prior to the event. You would share it in your event application, micro-site or you could send out a link with the 'know before you go' email. This way, you empower your attendees, and they can track and pay in an easy fashion. I would caution planners to not just rely on the app service until they have used the product for themselves in that same market."
Hailo is available in Boston, Chicago, Dublin, London and Toronto. Service in Barcelona, Madrid, New York and Tokyo will launch shortly. The next time you need a cab, check out Hailo. It sure beats standing on a corner waving your arm over and over again.
Have you ever used a taxi app for meetings and events? If so, please let us know in the comments how you used it.
Also, what are some other apps you use that make your professional life better? Please let us know in the comments (or send me an email) your favorite ones and how you use them, and we’ll include it in future blog entries about apps.