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Hotels.com’s app update streamlines checkout, prioritizes loyaltyBy
Hotels.com has made mobile booking faster and easier with an update for its iPhone and iPad applications.
The update was designed for Apple’s newest operating system — iOS 7 — and features improved maps and images as well as a smoother booking process. The app will remember customer details and securely store payment information to make subsequent bookings that much easier.
“We’ve obviously seen over the last few years how huge mobile is for us, and the transactions are going through mobile devices,” said Daniel Craig, global lead for mobile at Hotels.com, London. “And whilst our apps were doing a good job, we were getting good feedback, in order to move that change forward and really create the best user experience, we wanted to go back and look at the design and come up with a richer design from a user experience point of view. That enabled us to put in new content.
“We took in customer feedback to make sure it was a fresh redesign,” he said. “The timing was good with Apple releasing iOS 7 and that they’ve come up with this new language.
“We wanted to make sure our app fit in nicely with Apple’s design language and that it fits in with the iPhone and iPad. We took the opportunity to go through all of our products and make sure that we added in as many nice new features as possible in addition to coming up with a clean design and technology platform.”
One of the most important things in mobile checkout is cutting down on the information consumers need to input, so Hotels.com decided to let consumers save all of their information to an account that can be accessed on both mobile and desktop. Once consumers sign in to their account, they simply put in the three-digit security code on their credit card to checkout.
Hotels.com also recently integrated PayPal as a checkout method, so consumers who do not want to create an account with Hotels.com can still checkout more easily.
In addition to storing consumer information, the new user interface of the app also enhances the mobile experience. The app features high-resolution images and easy-to-use maps.
The rich imagery is especially played up on the iPad app since that is when consumers tend to be more leisurely looking through hotels.
The app also lets consumers book via the app but pay at the hotel. Additionally, consumers can check future, current and past bookings without needing to be online.
The update also improved Hotel.com’s Welcome Rewards loyalty program to make it easier to access accounts and earn benefits via the app. There is a larger call-to-action for the program within the app, and logged-in consumers will see their rewards balance directly on the homepage of the app.
Hotels.com has been investing in mobile for a while now.
Back in 2011, the company rolled out its first Apple and Android apps as well as a mobile-optimized site (see story).
Hotels.com has since added Windows Phone and tablet apps as well.
Mobile has become increasingly important for the hotel industry, especially when it comes to last-minute bookings. It makes sense for companies such as Hotels.com to continually improve the mobile experience to make it as easy as possible to book via mobile.
“Overall for us, mobile devices drive 25 percent of our transactions,” Mr. Craig said. “People just want to use mobile devices to make bookings now.
“It’s the device they have at hand most often,” he said. “People are becoming more comfortable making transactions, and obviously as we make the experience simpler that trend is growing one reason we push it is because that’s what customers want to do and we want to make sure our product allows that to keep our customers as they move to mobile.
“We also think mobile is a great way to acquire new mobile-first customers. Mobile marketing is a new area, and an area we’ve invested quite a lot in to make sure we are ahead of existing competition and the new mobile-only competitors in the space.”
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
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