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Priceline rethinks tablet experience via revamped iPad app

Priceline is aligning its new iPad application with more research and map-based features to tap into a growing base of tablet users who want a richer experience when making a last-minute booking.

The online travel agent has updated its iPad app to create an experience that is consistent with Priceline’s iPhone app so that consumers can switch back and forth between the two apps seamlessly. The app is available for free download in Apple’s App Store.

“The app now has a consistent look and feel with the iPhone app, which was redesigned last year, making the suite of products fit together,” said Brian Ek, spokesman for Priceline, Norwalk, CT.

“The iPad app was designed and geared for customers who tend to spend more time researching their destination and hotel choices, compared to smartphone users who often need a last-minute hotel near me now,” he said.

“The iPad app takes advantage of the larger screen size and offers interactive features to keep our mobile customers engaged during the trip research and planning stages. We know that travelers might start to research on their phone in the morning and continue with the iPad at night.”

New enhancements
Priceline’s app targets travelers who are looking for a nearby hotel stay but have more time to spend researching than a consumer who is using a smartphone on the road.

After consumers pick a destination, they can search for results via a map that plots hotels geographically. There is also a sidebar that lists the hotels along the right-hand side of the page.

Additionally, consumers can draw a circle around a set of pins to segment their hotel searches.

Results can be filtered to show hotels in specific areas of a city or by price and rating. Amenity information can also be filtered down in the search results.

A Priceline executive at Mobile Commerce Daily’s Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2013 conference earlier this year said that 60 percent of the company’s mobile users book a hotel within 20 miles, meaning that playing up location is a natural fit for the new Priceline iPad app (see story).

Priceline’s Express Deals and Name Your Own Price deals are also accessible via the app. These hotel bookings are up to 60 percent off of published rates.

Similarly, the new iPad app marks the first time that Priceline users can book all four types of hotel rooms from one place. The four types of rooms are Tonight-Only Deals, Express Deals, Name Your Own Price Deals and published price deals.

The checkout process has also been streamlined to let consumers pay via PayPal.

Hotels plotted on the Priceline iPad app

Book on mobile
Similar to other online travel agencies, Priceline has been in the mobile space for quite some time.

Most recently, the company debuted a new TV spot with spokeswoman Kaley Cuoco that highlighted mobile booking (see story).

Additionally, Priceline revamped its iPhone app last year to focus more on offering a full suite of services (see story).

“Our smartphone users tend to be more last minute compared to tablet users, who are inclined to spend more time researching before they buy,” Mr. Ek said. “As you can see, the enhancements to the iPad app play to this trend.”

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