There seems to be no slowing down in the desire for travel companies to launch (or reboot) applications for a population that’s increasingly tuned into mobile devices. Here’s a look a three new free travel apps—beyond the new JetBlue app we wrote about a few weeks ago—that recently have hit the market.
The media company with the gorgeous glossy travel magazine that launched in late 2009 recently released an iPhone app with a focus around Highlights. These bits of travel inspiration include a photo, title, description and location of a recommended travel experience. The app launched with 4,000 Highlights, with more being added daily. There’s also a contest running through the end of March for users to upload their highlights for a chance to win a trip to India. AFAR says that a version for Android phones will be released soon. Now how about some wildlife photos to inspire me to go on an adventurous safari in Africa?
One of the earliest travel deal sites on the Internet, TravelZoo has launched a mobile website and added an Android app to join its existing iPhone app offering (introduced in August 2011). Mobile users can quickly access TravelZoo’s traditional Top 20 weekly deals listing, Local Deals, Entertainment Deals, Travel Deals and Last Minute discounts, which is not a category found on the company’s main website. The Android app features local deals based on users’ detected location. According to Tnooz, 17.5 percent of traffic to TravelZoo.com was already coming from mobile devices.
Last-minute deals for travel bookings on mobile devices—especially for hotel rooms—are gaining in popularity. Travelocity already went after this market last year when it enhanced its iPhone app for same-day hotel deals and some local information. The company has now launched an iPad app that offers additional discounts for flights, hotels and rental cars at rates through the app that are better than what’s available on the Travelocity website. In addition, app users get daily mobile-only deals. They also can access their Travelocity accounts through the app, which can auto-fill in purchase information to speed the close of the transaction.
JetBlue Debuts iPhone App, New Web and Mobile Sites
Travelocity Upgrades iPhone App Based on Same-Day Hotel Bookings
There’s an App for What?
Travelocity app upgrade offers insight on user trends.
It seems that the travel industry is constantly looking for ways to cash in on the mobile revolution. On any given day you can read about established travel companies releasing new apps or start-ups announcing new ways to incorporate the cell phone into travel. While the quantity of mobile travel applications is consistently rising, the quality (and usefulness) of all of these apps is still up for debate.
Are people really interested, for example, in checking out the view from their hotel room before checking in?
Only time will tell how consumers respond to new technology, but a new iPhone app update from Travelocity offers some insight into how travelers are adapting old purchasing behaviors.
Travelocity’s iPhone application was one of the first introduced by an online travel company, but it hasn’t been well reviewed by users in the iTunes store. A new update based on user trends may change that.
In a recent announcement, Travelocity revealed that more than 60 percent of hotels booked on the Travelocity iPhone application happen on the same day of the hotel stay. “Whether on a road trip or going on a spontaneous getaway, lots of travelers are regularly making last-minute bookings on a mobile device,” said Beth Murphy, Travelocity’s vice president of product marketing.
As a result, Travelocity added the option of booking “Top Secret Hotels” to its iPhone application. This feature allows customers to book heavily discounted hotels at the last minute without knowing the name of the hotel until after booking.
Working in a fairly new industry like mobile applications calls for a lot of guesswork and innovation from developers, but that can also lead to a lot of misses. It will be interesting to see if updates based on user data will produce better results.
The options for travelers to purchase airline tickets from online travel agents (OTAs) may be diminishing, but it just got easier to snag a great online hotel deal, thanks to Kayak’s announcement today that it is adding hotel bookings to its website and mobile application.
Users will have the added ability to book deals directly on Kayak, or they can continue to book directly with hotel providers or other OTAs. The new service is currently available in limited beta release, but will be fully released on the company’s website and iPhone application in the coming weeks.
“Our users value that we give them choices on where to book, though some people would prefer to complete their purchases without leaving KAYAK,” said Steve Hafner, CEO and co-founder of the Norwalk, Conn.–based company. “We’re excited to offer a simple booking process on our sites and mobile applications in addition to the same choices we currently offer. For people who use Kayak’s mobile app in particular, this will make booking much easier.”
Kayak is using Travelocity’s white-label product to process the transactions and provide customer service, and will use reservation-booking partners to provide direct-booking functionality.
The service will be integrated with Kayak’s travel-planning management tool, My Trips.
The news comes on the heels of Kayak’s travel-search deal with Microsoft Bing and as its sales are growing, which will help the company’s upcoming public offering.
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US Airways has signed a new multi-year agreement with Sabre Travel Network. At a time when some airlines are pulling away from major global distribution systems (GDSs) and online travel agencies (OTAs), this agreement looks to extend the services that can be sold by Sabre Connected agents, which include Travelocity and Expedia.
A statement from Travelocity on Tuesday said that the booking site would have access to US Airways’ full range of content, including its Choice Seats product. Choice Seats can currently be purchased for all US Airways and US Airways Express flights when booking directly with the airline or as an upgrade at the airport. They’re described as “window or aisle seats toward the front of the Coach class cabin.” Pricing for Choice Seats varies by flight and can range from $5 to $30.
Last month, Virgin America announced an extension of its agreement with Sabre that would include making all of its ancillaries available through Sabre’s GDS. Other airlines currently marketing ancillary services through the network include United Airlines, Air New Zealand, Qantas, WestJet, Porter Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.
According the Sabre website, more than 55,000 travel agencies and booking sites use Sabre’s GDS and will now have access to Choice Seats and other ancillary services.
Photo courtesy of US Airways
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