Smart Layover is an application that relies on the fact that, contrary to popular belief, the life of a business traveler isn’t all about good times at luxury hotels. Long waits, the constant search for wifi, terrible food and flight delays are all sources of stress that even the best private airport lounges find difficult to address.

The app offers users several ways to escape from travel stress, like taking refuge in nearby hotels that offer hourly rates to offering discounts on products sold at the airport. Smart Layover supports the trend that digital can be used to enhance traditionally less-than-exciting environments, like airports, to create purposeful and productive user experiences. Top-notch customer service shouldn’t be dependent on when and where a user is interacting with a company’s offering. This is especially true for situations where consumers are limited in choice. It is every company’s responsibility to care about these consumers and to go out of their way to deliver excellent experiences. If not, it’s only a matter of time until a smart competitor finds a way to move in using digital.

Companies across industries should be looking to leverage the power of digital to improve their ability to attract, serve and retain customers. With digital, it is inevitable that sooner or later someone will find a way to improve upon your current offering, making it both cheaper and better. You’ll be taken by surprise, and you won’t necessarily have the time to react. Downtown hotels didn’t think they faced much competition because of their strategic location. Airbnb has changed that. Taxis similarly thought they were safe with their quotas. This is no longer the case, with transportation companies like Uber (an affordable private driver on demand service) and Bixi (bike stations) changing the competitive landscape.

With a bit of fieldwork, you can detect the moments when, consciously or not, your customer is your prisoner and you take advantage of it. Since the competitive landscape is always changing, it’s good practice to get in the habit of regularly re-examining the strengths and weaknesses of your offering(s) and those of your competitors.

People need to take a new look at the nuances of their business—including the routine courses and experiences that they know by heart—to develop better digital solutions. If they don’t, someone else will.

Without even talking about e-commerce, who would have imagined five years ago that a car manufacturer would open retail stores in suburban malls to get closer to its clientele, forgoing a giant parking lot and pushy salespeople. Tesla did just that, using digital to overcome the lack of physical space, forcing the entire auto industry to ask what constitutes as a car dealership in 2013.

Who will be next?

This article was first published on Infopresse.