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Expedia’s app speeds access to last-minute travel information

Expedia’s latest update to its mobile application focuses on better meeting the needs of last-minute travelers – an important and growing group on mobile – by enabling them to book a car rental and find a nearby hotel deal for that day on the launch screen.

Travel is one of the more popular categories on mobile because travelers are, by their nature, on-the-go and in need of information such as where to rent a car, what nearby hotels have rooms available and where to find something to eat – information that can be easily accessed from a smartphone. Expedia, a leader in online travel, has been aggressively building its presence on mobile to meet its customers changing needs.

“We know travelers are becoming more accustomed to booking last-minute from their mobile devices, and cars is a similar use case,” said Tarran Street, senior publications manager at Expedia. “It’s a rather frequent scenario where people will get off a plane and walk up to a nearby car rental desk to book a car for their trip.

“Now travelers can book from their phone and hasten the process,” she said.

New launch screen
Now, as soon as a plane lands, travelers can use the Expedia app to book a car rental, thereby promising to reduce the needed required to get them on the road to their final destination.

The app update also features a new launch screen where users will find deals for nearby hotels that night, making last-minute bookings easier the ever. The selection includes mobile-only deals.

The updated app is available on both iPhone and Android devices.

Quick access
The app update follows Expedia’s recent acquisition of both Travelocity and Orbitz. Those moves were taken to help Expedia better address an increasingly competitive space where consumers are looking for mobile innovations (see story).

In a recent interview with Mobile Marketer, an Expedia executive discussed how the company is focused on creating mobile experiences that address customers’ mobile moments and its growing focus on a push-based strategy (see story).

Putting last-minute deals on the launch screen of the Expedia app is another way the company is pushing out relevant to information to customers when they need it.

“Expedia conducts hundreds of tests every year to better understand what travelers want and need from our experience – I’m sure it’s no surprise that we also test our mobile content,” Ms. Street said. “Through our testing, as well as our analysis of customer searching and booking trends, we’ve noticed that customers visiting our app are frequently searching for and booking hotels that are last-minute: for that night, or the next day.

“When that’s the case, travelers are often already in the destination where they want a hotel,” she said. “We’ve discovered that it’s most relevant to display great deals that exist around you right now.

“Putting that content on the launch screen allows travelers to access the information they want as quickly as possible.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York