A rapidly evolving technology landscape is changing the way we travel, producing more helpful tools than ever before.


At this week's 2011 Business Traveler Innovation Awards, six of the best were highlighted, and they're of use as much for those traveling for leisure as they are for business.

Car rental company Hertz was the big winner, picking up awards for its NeverLost Gen5 navigation system and for Hertz On Demand, its short-use car rental service.

NeverLost Gen5 allows hotel concierges to plan out routes for drivers and 'push' them directly into the rental car, while On Demand is a car club service offering one way rentals and hourly/daily rentals.

The traveler comfort category went to ExpertFlyer's Seat Alerts service, which notifies travelers when a desirable seat (e.g. aisle, window) on their flight becomes available should they be in the middle seat.

Another app, GateGuru, won the outstanding apps category for its in-airport tool, an app that offers airport maps, a database of amenities, an overview of security wait times and instant access to an itinerary.

In the category of travel convenience and efficiency, a virtual concierge called ICE Touch (used by, among others, Morgans Hotel Group) took the prize, while Lufthansa's FlyNet won the traveler productivity category for its "Boundless" broadband, which works inflight over oceans.

The awards were presented by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and The Wall Street Journal.