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Travelocity caters to last-minute travelers with new iPhone app

September 18, 2012

Online travel agent Travelocity’s is continuing to push mobile sales through a new iPhone application that lets users book hotel rooms.

The Hotel Deals app is available for free download in Apple’s App Store. In addition to booking a room, the app uses a smartphone’s built-in camera to fill in billing information.

“We wanted this app to have a clear call-to-action. Aligning the brand with a product like this plays directly to its name and will resonate with on-the-go travelers,” said Jason Fulmines, director of mobile at Travelocity Global, Southlake, TX.

Book on mobile
When users open the app, they are can choose from three days to book a hotel room. The app then uses the device’s built-in GPS to find the nearest hotels that can be viewed as either a list or map.

From there, consumers can filter results by price, stars and ratings. Each hotel lets users swipe through photos and view a map that plots a user’s current location to the hotel.

Consumers can select their check-in and check-out dates and view a list of all available prices to book a room.

To use the auto-fill feature, consumers align their credit card inside a frame that uses the phone camera. The app then scans the card and asks consumers to enter the credit card’s expiration date and card verification value. To finish the transaction, consumers must type in their contact and billing information.

The feature cuts down on the amount of time spent entering information into the app, which is helpful for consumers who are pressed for time. Travelocity claims that it is the only travel app to use this feature.

The credit card scanning feature

The company claims that the hotel deals offered are up to 55 percent off of the regular prices and includes listings from hotels ranked with three stars or more.

The app also stores a user’s trips to let users access information in the future.

The technology is powered by Jumio.

Mobile future
As consumers increasingly rely on their mobile devices to make travel plans, more online travel agents are stepping up their mobile initiatives to help users access information.

In particular, the online travel industry has honed in on consumers looking for last-minute travel plans since mobile contributes to many same-day bookings, especially with hotels.

For example, Mr. Fulmines spoke at Mobile Commerce Daily’s Mcommerce Summit earlier this year and said that 60 – 70 percent of mobile bookings are made for same-day bookings (see story).

Most recently, Travelocity Canada rolled out an iOS app to let consumers book hotel rooms while on the go (see story).

“We still consistently see a trend of people booking hotels on mobile phones for a same night stay. This app and the brand address that market in a new way for us,” Mr. Fulmines said.

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

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