Booking.com has launched its answer to the growing trend for last minute hotel bookings in the UK, with its new mobile app ‘Booking Now.’
The UK roll out comes just a few months after Booking Now was released in north America where the OTA said the app has been well received.
Jason Grist, UK area manager, said the site has seen moves towards further spontaneity among customers when booking hotels and this was what the app has been developed to address.
“We realised to try to match that we needed to raise the bar on the customer experience. Now is really the answer to that. The key feature is it puts the customer right in the middle of the search.
“”After the customer has made bookings it will recognise trends about your bookings and take that into account so that the properties that come up will be more relevant for you.”
Booking.com’s Now app is centred around GPS geolocation, this narrows the search rather than opting for a curated approach taken by rival apps.
Grist said all 600,000 Booking.com properties will be bookable through the app, and while not focussed on discounts it does offer the OTA’s best price guarantee. Hotels will control their pricing so will discount through the app when required for particular nights.
Customers using the app are asked to upload their payment details and a small number of preferences like Wi-Fi or breakfast and an indication of star rating. Once done the app offers relevant hotels in the vicinity, which can be booked in as little as two taps.
Functionality is centred on a map that show where the highlighted hotel is in relation to the customer, hotel options can be scrolled through by swiping horizontally and the map instantly recalibrates. A vertical swipe brings up details of the particular hotel currently being viewed. Bookings are restricted to the same or following day.
The Booking Now app will be available in 42 languages as it launches in countries around the world over coming days.
According to Booking.com data, almost half of worldwide reservations made within 48 hours are booked on mobile devices, rising to more than 50% in some markets.
“With the launch of Booking Now, we’re increasing our investment in mobile by leveraging our global scale, assets and partnerships to accommodate the growing number of customers who are booking reservations within two days or less of their stay,” said Darren Huston, chief executive of Booking.com.
“The new App puts users at the centre of the booking experience, drawing from our vast database of properties to meet their specific preferences at the very moment they need to book. Booking Now is designed to deliver a seamless mobile experience for spontaneous consumers, fitting perfectly into their multi-device, on-demand lifestyle.”
Grist added: “Booking Now is the perfect solution and travel ‘buddy’ for our more impulsive and on-the-move travellers. They are able to land in a destination and instantaneously book accommodation that fits their every need and desire, in as little as two taps of their finger.”
Booking Now can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.