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Orbitz launches revamped mobile site, daily deals to capitalize on last-minute travel

Online travel booking site Orbitz has rolled out a mobile-exclusive daily deals program and an optimized mobile site that target travelers looking for last-minute bargains.

According to Orbitz, 65 percent of mobile bookings are made for same-day reservations, which shows the prominent role that mobile plays with quick, location-based deals. The mobile deals are available on all of the company’s mobile properties, including iPad, iPhone and Android applications and the mobile Web site.

“The online travel industry is an indicator of where technology is going,” said Chris Brown, vice president of product at Orbitz, Chicago.

“Online took off ten years ago, and it is the same with mobile with all the companies pushing forward for it right now,” he said.

Mobile stays
The revamped Orbitz mobile site, which was launched in July 2010, has made two major adjustments to target mobile consumers.

In addition to adding the deals feature, the site also now lets consumers book vacation packages.

Users can access the Orbitz mobile site at

Consumers can create an online profile, which is tied to a credit card number, for faster check-out.

The site also uses GPS to find the nearest hotels.

Users can filter search results by price, value, distance and star rating.

In addition to hotels, users can also search for car rentals and flights.

All of Orbitz’s mobile properties have been updated to give users exclusive deals.

Once a user searches on either Orbitz’s app or site for something, the search results feature prices at some hotels that are not available on the company’s Web site.

Mobile-only deals
According to Mr. Brown, the new mobile services are being made after learning about how their users book on both smartphones and tablets.

Orbitz’s new mobile tools target users who are looking for cheap, instant deals, which is a good strategy to put in place for the holiday season.

From Orbitz’s mobile traffic, more than 30 percent of tablet users use either the company’s iPad app or mobile site to book same-day travel plans.

To compare, 14 percent of desktop visitors are looking for last-minute travel plans.

Tablet shopping is on the rise and recently many online travel sites have been stepping up their commerce efforts to target tablet users specifically.

For example, Orbitz competitor Expedia rolled out a tablet-specific app for both iPad and Android devices (see story).

“People are making traveling changes on the fly, all of which can be done via a mobile device and opens up a whole new set of opportunities for Orbitz,” Mr. Brown said.

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