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Choice Hotels seals mobile bookings via iPad app

The Choice Hotels iPad app

Choice Hotels has rolled out an iPad application after seeing its mobile revenue increase more than 250 percent year-over-year in 2011.

The Choice Hotels iPad app integrates location and the company’s loyalty program to let consumers quickly book hotel reservations while on the go. In addition to the iPad app release, Choice Hotels has also updated its iPhone and Android apps.

“The iPad was a natural extension of our distribution strategy – creating apps for our customers based on what they are using and giving them interface design and functionality that allow them to engage with our hotels and brands in a meaningful way,” said Chris Brya, director of mobile and emerging channels at Choice Hotels, Silver Spring, MD.

“The growth of the tablet segment was predominantly via iPads with respect to our customer composition,” he said.

“It just made sense to provide an application for iPad customers that empowered them via leveraging the native and unique functionality that tablets can bring.”

Choice Hotels includes more than 6,000 hotels in the United States and properties in 30 countries.

Seamless booking
Via the app, users can book rooms with any of Hotel Choice’s brands. The app uses the device’s built-in GPS to find hotels that are nearest to them.

Once a user has selected a location, the app splits the screen in two with a list of hotels on one side and a map on the other.

Each hotel listing includes a swipeable photo gallery and contact information. Once a reservation has been made, consumers can track their booking via the app.

Additionally, users can also sign-up for the Choice Privileges program.

Choice Hotels has also updated its Android and iPhone apps to include faster navigation and search.

Users can sign-up for Choice Hotels’ loyalty program via the app

Express hotel
Recently, Mr. Brya revealed at the Mobile Shopping Spring Summit that mobile makes up seven percent of the company’s revenue, showing that although the medium is new it is slowly contributing to digital revenue (see story).

Part of the challenge for Choice Hotels is figuring out which mobile channels consumers are using. Fragmentation also makes it difficult for the company to know where to place its bets.

To help figure out what is working, Choice Hotels has an in-house lab where it tests ideas and prototypes from the company’s competitors to see what consumers respond strongest to.

“We obviously want our customers to find and book hotel rooms, but we want them to be able to do so in any environment and at any stage of the buying cycle – desktop Web, mobile Web or mobile apps,” Mr. Brya said.

“While we see ad investments moving towards mobile, and engagement growing, it is still fragmented,” he said.

“But overall, Choice will move its marketing in accordance to where the customers are and that is increasingly becoming more of a mobile proposition.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York