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Last Minute Travel Deals revamps app to benefit same-day bookings

As the summer season unfolds, the Last Minute Travel Deals mobile application is unrolling a revamp to offer users a customizable search results list, single-view map and home page that displays rooms available for day-of booking, suggesting that more consumers are searching for same-day accommodations on mobile.

The Last Minute Travel Deals app aims to compete with a slew of similar hospitality marketers by providing more personalized features for its customers and placing a spotlight on the amount of day-of travel bargains it offers. The travel sector’s growing popularity has given way to the rise of third-party booking apps, which now must leverage the most convenient tools for purchasing and searching to stay afloat.

“When facing the challenge of re-designing our app, we decided to backup each UI change with proper data,” said Omer Chehmer, head of mobile communications for Last Minute Travel, Israel. “We believe that we can argue about design taste but not with the numbers; we held user testings through each step on the way and were surprised to see how much we learned from them.

“We learned that users who actually book often ‘jump’ from list view to map view several times during a session,” he said. “In our new design you can now customize the map and list view according to your own needs.

“You prefer to see a smaller map? No problem, drag the list up. In less than a second you get your preferred view.”

Customizable results
The app’s new shopping features include a split view screen that displays a list and a map of search results to provide users with accommodations in their proximity. Users may drag and shrink the map to their desired size, leading to a more personalized app home page and searching experience.

Consumers will also be able to sort through options based on price, star rating or TripAdvisor reviews.

Mr. Chehmer believes these tools will help the app compete with other third-party marketers.

“The industry-leading travel deals users find on the LMT Deals app is what makes the app stand out in the travel booking sector, but we are also the first to offer customizable search results list and map in a single view,” Mr. Chehmer said. “Also, the app instantly displays nearby day-of hotel rooms that are available – decreasing the time it takes users to find a last second room.”

The redesigned home page will also steer customers toward statistically relevant content based on previous searches, streamlining the process for time-strapped consumers who are in need of a last-minute hotel room.

Last Minute Travel has also seen a significant rise in same-day bookings, which is a market that more third-party brands are aiming to tap, alongside day-only bookings.

“Among our users, 80 percent booked a single room for 2 adults, 60 percent booked a hotel for tonight, and 50 percent booked a hotel nearby,” Mr. Chehmer said. “The Last Minute Travel Deals app has two main features that help users on-the-go – and those looking for same-day bookings: instant results and unique view of the results – map and hotel list in one single view, which the user can customize according to his or her preference.

“The LMT Deals app predicts the needs of users to reduce searches and save time.”

Tight sector
Last Minute Travel Deals has seen success in marketing to consumers seeking immediate bookings for their business or leisure trips, despite the competitiveness of the travel market.

By January 2015, the Last Minute Travel Deals mobile app experienced more than half a million downloads since its launch in spring 2014, proving that travel apps with booking functions across all transportation and accommodation channels have appeal in an already crowded space (see story).

However, as the number of last-minute booking applications grows, travel marketers will need to adopt newer technologies such as Apple Pay and Touch ID to offer streamlined in-app payment options and remain competitive (see story).

Last Minute Travel Deals is also working on a plethora of other mobile enhancements for the near future to ensure that it keeps one foot ahead of its competition, including apps for the Apple Watch, Android smartwatches and Android tablets.

“Some upcoming features: quality meta data on the hotels with high res images, room type information, etc.,” Mr. Chehmer said. “Faster checkout: we aim to reduce the hassle of filling the billing information all the time and additionally add more payment methods.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York