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Priceline’s Booking.com targets last-minute travelers with mobile app

By
April 11, 2012

The Booking.com Tonight iPhone app

Priceline’s Booking.com is rolling out an application for iPhone and iPod touch devices to let travelers find quick savings at nearby hotels.

Booking.com is launching the app after the company saw more than $1 million in mobile booking transactions last year. The app is available for free download via Apple’s App Store.

“Travelers wanting to book their travel at the last-minute using mobile devices is a small, but growing part of the overall travel market,” said Brian Ek, a spokesman for Booking.com, Amsterdam.

“Booking.com has an array of hotel services that would be valuable to this segment of the market and wanted to develop mobile apps that would serve them,” he said.

Booking.com claims to generate more than 30 million unique visitors per month and includes more than 205,652 hotels in 165 countries.

Book on mobile
This is the second iPhone app from Booking.com and differentiates itself by specifically targeting same-day hotel bookings.

The time-sensitive app was developed by Booking.com after the company realized that 40 percent of its bookings for large cities, including Hong Kong, New York and Los Angeles, were made for same-day stays.

The Booking.com Tonight app lets users search for more than 200,000 hotels in 30,000 locations in the world.

When users open the app, they are asked if it is OK to use their location.

Search results can be filtered by proximity, price or star rating.


The Booking.com Tonight iPhone app

Hotels with the biggest last-minute deal display first after searching, which helps users find the best deal.

Consumers can browse through photo galleries, read reviews and view a map of the hotel.

Booking a room is a three-step process that includes filling out a contact information form, attaching a credit card and confirming the room. Once users make a booking, their information can be stored to make booking faster in the future.

In addition to the Booking.com Tonight iOS app, the company also has iPad and Android apps as well as a mobile site.

On-the-go travel
Recently there has been a swarm of mobile news around the online travel industry.

Travel companies are starting to think outside the box with tailored apps that are targeted to specific audiences.

Specifically, many companies are using mobile to drive last-minute bookings

For example, Orbitz-owned HotelsTonight recently rolled out a mobile site to capitalize on same-day bookings (see story).

Booking.com chose the iOS platform to launch the app on because of the operating system’s history and establishment in the app market.

“Mobile bookings will continue to be a growing part of Booking.com’s overall business,” Mr. Ek said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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