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Travelocity aims to streamline mobile checkout via image recognition

The update affects Travelocity’s iPhone app. Mobile has played a big role for Travelocity in the past few years as consumers continue to take to their handsets to book their travels.

“Based on the positive user feedback we received on the credit card scanning technology we had received from the Hotel Deals by app, we wanted to add this feature to the Travelocity iPhone app as well,” said Joel Frey, spokesman at Travelocity, Southlake, TX.

“Plus, we always want to ensure that features which are valuable on the desktop – such as promo code redemption – are ported to the apps in a seamless manor,” he said.

Travel on mobile
The updates are part of the 4.9 version of the Travelocity iPhone app.

Consumers are promoted to use the auto-scan feature of the app at the top of the checkout form under the billing information section.

The feature triggers the mobile device’s camera to turn on and asks consumers to fit their credit card into the frame.

Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and Diners Club credit cards are accepted with the feature.

Once the card is recognized, the app takes a picture of the card and fills in the credit card number and expiration date.

Users can then save the credit card for future billing.

In addition to the company’s iPhone app, Travelocity also offers mobile apps for Apple’s iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7 and Kindle Fire devices.

To finish the transaction, consumers need to fill in the remaining pieces of billing information – their name, address, city, state and ZIP code.

Past initiatives
Travelocity has been in the mobile space for quite some time.

Most recently, the company’s iPad app was recently named one of the best apps with customer satisfaction in a study from Mobiquity (see story).

Additionally, last year the company rolled out an app that let consumers book hotel rooms through Travelocity’s

Travelocity claimed that the app was the first to lavage a built-in camera to let consumers save their credit card information (see story).

As online travel agencies continue to rely on mobile as a primary way of driving new forms of revenue, the challenge for brands similar to Travelocity is to streamline the checkout and browsing features to create a seamless experience.

“It all comes back to making sure our products are consistent across the platforms,” Mr. Frey said.

“That said, a feature like credit card scanning technology is not a feature desktop users are demanding – yet,” he said. “As consumer needs on the desktop shift that could change.”

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