TTE: iPhone hotel-booking app ‘is UK first’

Manchester-based travel software developer Inventive IT claims to have developed the first UK iPhone application for hotel bookings.

The iRooms app offers consumers access to the global inventory of existing customer via an XML feed.

Travel Technology EuropeInventive IT managing director John Charnock said the app had been as high as number 23 in the list of most downloaded apps in Apple’s App Store.

He said there were similar apps developed for US customers, but that these cannot be used in the UK because they require US zip codes to be entered.

Charnock said the service was developed after the firm identified the creation of such apps as a potential new business opportunity.

“The iPhones is number three in terms of sales of handsets but in terms of data usage Apple accounts for 50% on mobile,” Charnock said.

“Apple set out to dominate the data market which is what the App Store is all about.”

The app, a first version of which was launched last October, allows users to search hotels by location or find nearby ones using GPS.

Users can store previous reservations, and the app will also plot the route to a given hotel from the user’s current location.

Customers are asked to enter their credit card details for to secure the room, but no payment is taken until they check out.

Search results show pictures, user opinions, star ratings and other general hotel information, plus lead-in prices for the time of the search. Results can be ordered by price or distance.

The application is being advertised through a poster campaign on the Manchester tram system.

Newer versions are being worked on and the company also hopes to create versions that can be used on other handsets, such as Blackberrys.

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