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HotelTonight rethinks tablets with Android booking app

The app is available for free download from Google Play. The mobile-only company has been active in the space for a while, with apps available for iOS and Android devices.

“The core of the experience across all four of our apps is the same simple booking experience – we do see that users engage with tablets in slightly different ways,” said Jamie Davidson, vice president of product at HotelTonight, San Francisco.

“Users typically spend a longer session time interacting with the tablet app than the smartphone app, browsing and exploring the high-resolution, mobile-optimized hotel pictures,” he said. “We’ve also found that tablet users come back to the app more frequently and also view more hotels.”

HotelTonight is a mobile app that lets travelers find last-minute deals in more than 80 destinations.

Bigger bookings
The app is built for tablets that run on the Android 4.0 operating system and newer. Specifically, the app targets the seven and ten-inch Google Nexus tablets.

HotelTonight cites research from Gartner, which forecasts that there will be 665 million tablets being used by 2016. Of those devices, 37 percent will be Android-operated.

To tap into the tablet-specific features, the HotelTonight Android app can be used in either landscape or portrait mode and plays up images.

Compared to HotelTonight’s iPad version, the Android tablet app includes more flexible layouts and auto-updated grids.

HotelTonight claims that booking a hotel via the app takes eight seconds with three taps and one swipe. Again, the quick checkout is meant to take advantage of the spontaneous purchases of mobile users.

The Android tablet app follows the same business model as HotelTonight’s other apps. Every day at noon, select deals in 80 different cities are unlocked that consumers can book up until 2 a.m.

Book on mobile
HotelTonight has continued to build out its mobile-only service in the past year.

In particular, expanding the company’s international focus is a big goal.

For example, the company updated its app late last year to include currency conversions and translations (see story).

Additionally, HotelTonight has expanded its presence to Germany and Switzerland in 2013.

As tablet penetration continues to grow, other devices besides the iPad are growing in importance for marketers.

Although Google has had success with its Android smartphones, some marketers are hesitant to develop for the operating systems’ tablets. Not only are the tablets new, but they also vary in screen size.

By developing an Android-specific tablet app, HotelTonight is expanding on its mission to make mobile bookings as seamless as possible.

“We focus on an incredibly simple booking experience with great content for our partners,” Mr. Davidson said.

“It’s the work that goes into making it such a simple experience on the plethora of mobile devices that is the tough part,” he said. “We’re continuing to embrace the forefront of mobile platform innovation.”

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