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Travelocity rethinks smartphone bookings with revamped iPhone app

Travelocity has rebuilt its iPhone application from the ground up to accommodate for the more gesture-based features in Apple’s new iOS 7.

The online travel agency’s new app is aimed at moving users through the booking process quicker with more visuals. Travelocity has been streamlining all parts of the trip-planning experience with its mobile apps continuously in the past few years.

“The design was a huge shift from what we’ve seen in past versions of iOS,” said Blake Clark, director of mobile for Travelocity, Southlake, TX. “Luckily, we have a great, agile team and some top-notch mobile designers, so we were able to dive into the new design as soon as the beta was released.

“We also decided early on to rebuild this version from scratch and really work on making it fast and reliable,” he said. “We find mobile travelers demand speed and sometimes they’re in less-than stellar connection areas, so that was a big one.”

Streamlined design
Travelocity has updated its iPhone app with a design that highly plays up images and visuals.

For example, the app’s home screen shows photos of world cities to inspire consumers to take a last-minute trip.

The app also leverages the new AirDrop feature of iOS 7 to let consumers securely share their travel information with friends and family members after they book a hotel.

Travelocity’s new app includes a feature that lets consumers scan their credit cards with a built-in camera feature to cut down on the number of steps that it takes consumers to check out.

The technology detects the number on a credit card and automatically fills in portions of the checkout page.

The app also highlights Travelocity’s mobile-exclusive offers that take into account a user’s location to serve up relevant offers and deals.

A screenshot of the new app

Travel on mobile
Travelocity has been building up its mobile strategy for quite some time with different mobile products and ad campaigns.

Most recently, the brand designed its Web site around responsive design, which led to a 6 percent increase in iOS bookings and an 8 percent jump for Android reservations after two months (see story).

Travelocity’s tablet booking experience was also named the best this spring in a study from Mobivity (see story).

Travelocity is the latest example of how iOS 7 has shifted the way that marketers develop mobile apps with more gesture- and touch-based features.

“It’s a shift of how Apple customers interact with their devices, and as a leader in the travel space, we wanted to make sure we’re reducing the amount of friction travelers have when booking a trip,” Mr. Clark said.

“With the iOS 7 launch, now our app and the device look, work and feel the same; it’s seamless,” he said.

“Travelers can easily access the deep selection and great value Travelocity is known for. That’s Travelocity’s goal – to be a traveler’s trusted companion before, during and after the travel experience.”

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