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Priceline eyes mid-trip market with mobile

August 18, 2009 Inc., once the poster child of the Internet, extended its brand into mobile, offering yet another way to shop for discount travel.

Customers can access Priceline’s mobile services either by directing their Web-enabled mobile device to or by visiting

“The strategy is to offer a specific set of our services and content to customers who are mid-trip and may not have access to a computer,” said Brian Ek, vice president of public relations at Priceline, Norwalk, CT.

Priceline’s mobile site allows users to search hotel inventories, pricing and availability in real-time, book rooms, check the status of their flights and see recommended restaurants and local attraction reviews from Zagat Survey LLC.

“Checking flight status is obvious,” Mr. Ek said.  “However, we also recognized that customers also have the need mid-trip to book a hotel — – their flights may have been delayed, etc.  And who wouldn’t want the ability to check quickly for restaurant ratings in a town they may not be that familiar with?”

Priceline’s mobile site also offers downloadable ringtones and wallpaper from the company’s current Negotiator TV commercials starring actor William Shatner.

Users can’t currently buy on the mobile site, but Priceline provides a phone number. The company is planning to add hotel booking capabilities in the future.

“The challenge for us was addressing the needs of a specific subset of our customer base — customers with wireless devices who are mid-trip and don’t have easy access to computers,” Mr. Ek said.

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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