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Best Western supports tablet to court consumers, drive bookings

Best Western International Inc. is letting travelers plan and book their trips at more than 4,000 locations worldwide via an iPad application.

Consumers can share their travel experiences and pictures with family and friends via email or Facebook. The application is available as a free download in Apple’s App Store.

“The strategy behind the Best Western to Go application was to provide travelers with an additional way of finding Best Western hotels while on the go,” said Tiffany Tchida, director of ecommerce at Best Western International, Phoenix, AZ.

“We have had a mobile booking site for some time, but the iPad app offers additional functionality, making guests’ lives easier and allowing them an opportunity to further interact with the Best Western brand,” she said. “Besides booking a room, they can mark places where they’ve been or want to go.

“We wanted to create a branded application that keeps Best Western top of mind when guests consider hotels for travel, but is also useful and fun for travelers.”

Book a trip
The Best Western application lets users create itineraries to help with travel planning by inputting addresses of attractions and restaurants nearby.

Additionally, the trip saver feature lets travelers save past or future trips, including favorite locations.

The application also features photos and description capabilities and lets users add pictures and additional information to help remember and share details about saved locations.

“We wanted to develop an application for a tablet because we clearly see its potential, and with the popularity of the iPad, we decided to develop for the device that holds major market share,” Ms. Tchida said. “The iPad has a larger screen, which allows our app to take advantage of higher screen resolution, as well as enhanced layouts for increased functionality.

“We are considering other platforms for future development,” she said. “Currently, we have a mobile Web site that is accessible by nearly all mobile devices in the market.

“We also offer Best Western to Go apps for iPhone and Android phones, which have the same functionality.”

Mobile location
Consumers can categorize and sort saved locations by city, trip name and location type to reference in the future.

The iPad application also provides more location icons to be displayed on the map.

“We are promoting Best Western to Go through our social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, real estate on and through email campaigns,” Ms. Tchida said. “Mostly we rely on the mobile community to help spread the word and let us know what they think.

“We even let consumers help design the latest iteration of our Best Western to Go for iPhone,” she said.