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July 26, 2012 has launched a mobile site after seeing a clamor from consumers to book travel plans through their handsets. is rolling out the new site with research showing that travelers in particular are highly engaged on their mobile devices. The mobile site is set up to significantly cut down on the number of steps involved in booking a hostel reservation.

“In our case, it’s a big unknown and very different from launching a desktop site,” said Giovanna Gentile, spokeswoman for, London.

“We have seen a massive growth in visits from handheld – both mobile and tablet – devices this year and last,” she said. “Looking at what type of devices, iOS and Android are in an overwhelming majority.”

Mobile bookings
Consumers can access the mobile site at

The site is filtered to only show the most important information that needs to be filled out in order to book a hostel room, including the city, the date and the number of nights stayed.

There is also a button in the top right-hand corner that features different currencies that consumers can choose from to pay.

The design of the site is simple, which is helpful for mobile bookings. However, the site could be better personalized with a location feature that automatically detects where a user is to speed up the process.

The mobile site

Search results can be filtered by price, name and rating. Each result gives consumers information on amenities and details about the hostel.

Additionally, consumers can browse photos, view maps and read reviews.

To book a room, consumers fill out one page of information including contact and billing information.

Book on mobile
Given’s core group of international consumers, a mobile site is a great way for the company to reach all devices.

As consumers become more comfortable booking through their devices, more online international travel businesses are thinking mobile-first.

However, transitioning into mobile requires a completely different mindset than the traditional Web experience that most online travel companies are familiar with.

Recently, Hotwire launched its mobile site in Ireland and Britain to let consumers book hotel and car reservations. (see story).

Additionally, HotelTonight recently expanded its same-day deal service to Europe to reach a new group of mobile consumers (see story).

According to Ms. Gentile, the company chose to roll out a mobile site versus an application so it can be used as an acquisition tool. An app on the other hand is used more for retention.

“Simply launching something we believe in will work based on best practice from the wider travel industry and understanding what works and what doesn’t. This will then inform us on how to deliver an even better mobile experience,” Ms. Gentile said.

“As we see big growth in the future we will just continue investing on mobile,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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