Mobile Devices Becoming More Popular For Booking Holidays

Many more people are using their mobile devices to book holidays online, according to a new study conducted by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), a UK-based travel agency association.

When travellers were asked to comment on how they booked their holidays, around one in four, or 24 percent, reported using a mobile phone or tablet device, such as an iPad, and around 89 percent reported using a computer, rather than a travel agent or a tour operator.

Around 14 percent used their mobile phone to book a foreign holiday on-line, while 10 percent claimed to have used a tablet device. For domestic bookings online, 8 percent used a tablet device and 12 percent used their mobile phone. These results appear to indicate the importance to travel agents and tour operators of offering mobile apps compatible with such devices.

Victoria Bacon, the head of communications at ABTA, said, ‘When it comes to booking a holiday it’s clear that consumers want choice. Whether it’s booking face-to-face on the high street or booking on the go on a mobile phone. Travel agents and tour operators need to ensure that they have the right tools and technologies to market their products and offer consumers the option to book and browse, through a range of different methods.’

Around 47 percent of the younger generation, aged from 15 to 24 years, used mobile devices to book a holiday online in the last 12 months. By comparison, only 11 percent of travellers in the age group of 45 years and above used their mobile devices to book online.

The report also suggests that men are more likely to book using mobile devices, with 30 percent of them having done so in the last 12 months, compared to 17 percent of women.

Voyager to give social-app fan a free holiday

UK-based online travel agency, Voyager Travel Direct, has announced a plan to use social media to offer a free holiday to Egypt.

The company said that it was giving away a free Red Sea holiday through its page at Facebook. The prize-winner can look forward to a seven-night, all-inclusive holiday for two people. Also included are return flights, transfers, 20kg luggage allowance and all meals and drinks.

The Siva Grand Beach Hotel has a private beach with a panoramic view of the Red Sea, and is just eight kilometres from Hurghada Old Town. The hotel has facilities that include a range of restaurants and bars, live day and evening entertainment, a large outdoor swimming pool, and sports activities. A daily shuttle bus-service takes tourists to experience the charms of the old town centre.

In addition to activities above the water, holidays at the Red Sea offer scuba divers ample opportunities to sample the abundant underwater life. Popular dive sites include Giftun Island, the wreck of the Thistlegorm, Abu Nunas and Safaga. The Siva Grand Beach Hotel also offers scuba diving lessons in its swimming pool for new divers. Visitors may also try aqua aerobics, water polo and beach volleyball. There is a dedicated aqua centre in the hotel where guests can hire pedalos, or try windsurfing or water-skiing.

To win the competition entrants need to ‘Like’ the Voyager Travel Direct Facebook page and have access to the ‘Win a Holiday’ app. Answer a question about the holiday and submit details to enter the competition.

Verity Eyre, general manager of Voyager Travel Direct said, ‘We took the decision to run the competition through our Facebook page as we thought this medium would work well with our client base and we wanted to try and increase social interaction with our brand. Our development team built an app within Facebook to host the competition and we took great care to ensure we were within Facebook’s guidelines. We’re really pleased with the level of interest that the competition has generated and as a result we are considering giving away another holiday in the future. We selected this particular prize as the Siva Grand is one of our top selling hotels and we have never had any complaints about it so we are confident that the winner will have a fantastic holiday.’

Hotels.com launches a Facebook app

Hotels.com, a company that offers advice on destination travel for customers, has announced that it has introduced a travel application on Facebook.

The firm said that the new ‘Deals’ application would provide customers with regular alerts depending on their travel and notification choices. The firm, which offers advice on hotel deals, amenities and hotel availability, expects to keep its customers better informed with the new application that will offer alerts periodically. It is also expected that the application will augment the company’s services, which include an accommodation booking service for more than 150,000 properties around the world.

The app from Hotels.com allows users to interact with other travellers, acquire first hand information on the most travelled-to places and to also acquire first-hand information and reviews of hotel services from members in their network. The app also allows users to create a wish list to identify destinations they would like to travel to, and integrates Welcome Rewards, a Hotels.com loyalty programme.

Nigel Pocklington, CMO, for Hotels.com worldwide, said, ‘We at Hotels.com are pioneering a new approach to social recommendation and discovery on the Facebook Platform. This application and the algorithm behind it, surfaces friends’ popular destinations and matches that with great hotel deals. This creates a powerful social context that will drive travel recommendations and enable users to find their ideal destination.’

The application will also make it easier for customers to book a hotel by researching all Hotels.com deals that are currently available.

 

TripAdvisor Announces City Guides For 50 Travel Destinations

TripAdvisor City Guides are now available for 50 travel destinations worldwide.

TripAdvisor, a company that provides an online travel community for collating user-generated travel information, has doubled its existing mobile apps offering information on destinations around the world. The company is adding 30 new cities to its mobile application portfolio.

The apps will also be including new features for the Android platform. These will allow travellers to view local transit stations, generate customisable maps, and see itinerary proposals from travel experts. The apps also include user-generated reviews and opinions taken from the TripAdvisor community.

Adam Medros, the company vice president of global product, said, ‘Users have already raved about the ease of use and helpfulness of TripAdvisor City Guides, with more than a million app downloads to date. We are excited to bring more cities and enhanced functionality to travellers, and ultimately help them enjoy their trips even more.’

The 30 New City Guides that are now available in English include Athens, Austin, Bangkok, Madrid, Manchester, Marrakech, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Miami, Milan, Montreal, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Dublin, Edinburgh, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, New Orleans, Taipei, Philadelphia, Toronto, Prague, Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro, and Vienna.

The apps are available free of charge, both from Google’s Android Market or Apple’s App Store, for use in smart phones and similar devices.

Earlier, the company acquired US-based EveryTrail to provide mobile applications. EveryTrail offers a GPS-enabled publishing platform to construct outdoor tours and city guide applications for mobile devices.

 

One Look and You’re Hooked, Four Taps and You’re Booked: Expedia Unveils ‘Expedia Hotels’ iPhone Booking App

Expedia.com, the world’s leading online travel agency, today announced the upcoming launch of Expedia Hotels, a free iPhone and iPod touch app developed to give travelers an intuitive, quick way to research, filter and book hotel rooms from their mobile device. This is the first app introduced by Expedia since the company acquired Mobiata, the mobile travel apps powerhouse, in November 2010. Expedia Hotels is the first in a series of mobile initiatives that the company will roll out in 2011.

“‘Expedia Everywhere’ is our new strategy with the world’s most wickedly compelling mobile experiences designed to delight the earth’s travelers with their ease of use, speed to book and rich features,” said Scott Durchslag, president, Expedia Worldwide. “Expedia Hotels is the first of what will be many mobile apps developed for iPhone and Android. They will enable customers of the world’s largest online travel agency to easily book any our inventory of more than 130,000 hotel rooms worldwide, putting real time best prices and availability at the tip of their finger in moments.”

Expedia Hotels is simple, streamlined and graphically slick. Expedia Hotels automatically uses GPS to find available hotels within walking distance of the traveler. In addition the traveler can easily research and book hotels anywhere in the world.

Key features include:

An interactive map view shows all hotels in the area. Hotel choices can be narrowed by price, rating, popularity or distance.

The hotel ratings are provided by TripAdvisor; the highest rated hotels are clearly marked.

For each hotel, amenities and details have been beautifully summarized, complete with a gorgeous hotel slideshow.

Just four taps are required for a traveler move from research to purchase.

Once booked, travelers can tap for directions to the hotel, share their confirmation via email, and add the reservation directly to their iPhone calendar.

The app is being released worldwide, with 20 local currencies supported.

In recent months, Expedia has expanded its full mobile website to users globally. Mobile booking of hotels, flights, cars, and activities is now possible through the Expedia website from five countries around the world. Expedia partners with more than 130,000 hotel properties globally. Those properties can now all be reached with a simple series of taps.

Expedia Hotels will be available for free from the App Store at www.itunes.com/appstore.