Until now, the company relied on a mobile-optimized version of its website to appeal to smartphone users.
The free app takes advantage of a smartphone’s ability to geo-locate a person’s location and find hotels nearby, along with their pricing, star ratings, and customer feedback. Users can also use the mobile site to search for hotels in a different destination.
Consumers need to prepare for a lot of scrolling. TheÂ app covers 3,145 cities and 61 countries.
It’s also not the most cutting edge of apps. It lacksÂ exclusive mobile deals, like Expedia’s main free app offers. It lacks an ability to take a photo of your credit card instead of typing in all of its numbers to book, like LastMinute.com’s app offers.Â It doesn’t have curated lists of promoted hotels for people looking for a quick, edited selection, such as is standard on the HotelTonight and BlinkBooking apps.
Yet the development of this app is consistent with Expedia Inc.’s approach to mobile development. It lets other companies take risks and instead focuses on providing an error-free, brand-consistent experience for its users.
The first Expedia app didn’t break any great design ground. Yet it nevertheless rocketed to the top of Apple’s lists of most-downloaded — and best rated — travel apps.
This is partly a lesson in how mass-marketÂ mobile apps can succeed by being consistent with users’ expectations of the brand. Just as consumers expect Hotwire’s browser-based websites to function smoothly, so the apps are meticiculously designed to avoid errors and to maintain the basic booking-path concept Hotwire users have grown accustomed to.
Sometimes satisfying your customers instead of tech bloggers is the smartest thing.