David Ambrose, the founder of New York local deals specialist Scoop St who was brought in to head up Travelzoo’s mobile division two months ago, said latest Google data has underlined mobile’s growing influence.
He said Travelzoo itself is currently seeing 10% of traffic coming from mobile devices a, figures that is higher in the UK, estimated at 13%, where smartphone adoption is particularly high.
Ambrose said the latest version of the app (1.3) will not significantly change the customer experience but Travelzoo has added more back office functionality to track purchase behaviour.
Data will be used to feedback to suppliers of deals to ensure that they are working on optimising their sites for customers passed on to them from mobile devices.
Currently Travelzoo inserts an interstitial page explaining to customers using its Top 20 weekly deals that they are being sent to a site that is not optimised for mobile.
Ambrose said Travelzoo wants to develop a mobile offering that is quick and ensures the shortest possible distance between the consumer and the product.
“We are learning about where people click, what types of offers they are purchasing. The consumer experience on the desk top is going to be different to mobile. Simplicity and convenience are key,” he said.
Travelzoo is focused on making sure its mobile offering presents users with geographically relevant content and will look to make its maps functionality more prominent in future versions.
The mobile site will be released in the US first next week offering as stripped down version of Travelzoo’s desk top site but retaining the key elements that mobile users are looking for.
Ambrose expects the mobile site will help Travelzoo engage with new subscribers but the app will offer existing subscribers a more immersive experience.
Local Deals and Getaways sections on mobile, for which Travelzoo acts as the retailer, will be optimised to make the payment procedure as quick and easy as possible.
And for Top 20 partners, Travelzoo will work with them to achieve the same, Ambrose said. “We do talk to advertisers about what they can do with their sites to fit within a mobile screen.
“What we really want is to have as many advertisers as possible have a mobile optimised site.”
The Travelzoo app, which is currently only available on iPhone, went live in the App Store three months ago. It is already approaching 200,000 downloads.
Ambrose said versions for other mobile operating systems would be developed, probably Android first due to its rapid uptake.
He said in the future Google’s more open operating platform might become the leading mobile operating system due to the greater freedom it offers developers to test and update.
“I’m not a believer in just developing an app for an app’s sake, it has to be for a purpose. Google is trying to educate the world about this and there is so much engagement now.
“The data is showing that you can now start doing some of the things with mobile you want to.”