Warwick International Hotels simplifies last-minute booking with iOS app
The free app is powered by Mobile Travel Technologies Ltd and offers same-day deals for travelers searching for last minute hotel bookings. The Warwick Tonight app features exclusive deals and rates that may not be available on its Web site.
“The reason why we launched the app was that we found that there was a big niche in last-minute mobile booking, like with other third parties out there that have had success with it,” said Alan Gonzalez, director of distribution and ecommerce at Warwick International Hotels, Paris, France.
“We have found that we also have a lot of our customers that have been booking in shorter windows,” he said. “So there is obviously a need to provide for our customers the ability to book in the last minute and the best prices that we could provide at that point.
“We have a booking engine for our Web site, but we felt another way to create loyalty for us is to have an app that provides this particular need to our loyal customers and to our loyal customers to be.”
Warwick International Hotels runs more than 50 hotels and resorts across five continents.
The Warwick Tonight app leverages MTT’s white label product, Eleventh Hour Hotels. The white label product lets hotels provide their own branded booking apps to compete with third-party booking apps such as hotels.com, Orbitz and Hotels Tonight.
Consumers can use GPS to locate nearby hotels, and a booking can be made straight from the search results. Alternatively, consumers can browse hotels’ features and reviews before booking.
Consumers can also filter the search by price, distance and star rating.
The app benefits travellers who may be in a bind and looking for a last-minute place to crash. It also benefits Warwick hotels by filling up rooms that otherwise would have gone vacant.
Warwick also hopes to build loyalty and consumer relationship via the app.
Warwick launched a mobile Web site last year, and according to Mr. Gonzales the company is seeing a lot of growth from the channel.
The hotel company decided to try out an app because they had seen it work for third-party versions and wanted to offer it to their own customers as well.
Warwick was wise to start with a mobile-optimized Web site before moving on to an application since that will most likely reach the most consumers. Brands in general are having a hard time getting consumers to download an app and return to it without deleting it soon afterwards.
An app will give Warwick’s more loyal customers a great way to make last-minute bookings, but most consumers will probably go to a mobile site before downloading the app for a specific hotel. However, Warwick is testing out different channels and allowing consumers to book however they prefer.
“Having a mobile presence that’s visible through search engines has given us a viable revenue stream, so we felt that by adding this app component not only would we increase our mobile visibility but we also would be able to close the loop with our loyal customers that have the need for this booking pattern,” Mr. Gonzalez said.
“We wanted to try this new medium out and we want to foster loyalty to those of our customers that desire or have a need to book at the last minute in a fast and efficient way.”
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York