Best Ways Hotels Can Use Apps, Part 2: Push Notifications & Segmentation

One of the best ways hotels can use a mobile app is to effectively utilize push segmentation. We’ve all received push notifications on our smartphones; they are the alerts or updates sent from one of your downloaded apps that appear on your smartphone. For instance, you could send your guests a reminder on the day of check-in, informing them of their reservation. It’s really all about making life easier.
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The Evolution of Mobile Apps

It was July 10, 2008 when the way we thought about the Internet, mobile phones and technology in general changed forever. On that date, Apple introduced the App Store via an iTunes update. The iPhone 3G was launched the next day and was one of the first mobile devices from Apple to take advantage of the new store and its apps. Google quickly followed with its Android Market (now called Google Play) on October 22 that same year.
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Expedia Introduces Combined Hotel and Flight Search on Tablets

Tablets provide a different type of experience than smartphones and thus apps should be tailored to it, but that’s not always the case. Enter Expedia! Expedia has created an experience specifically for tablets, and given the fact that 40% of people use tablets when searching for a travel destination, it’s easy to see why.

But what also drove their new tablet solution was frustrated customers; specifically they were frustrated about having to pick flights and hotels separately, which also happened to be one of the most time consuming aspects of the booking process.

Expedia’s new app addresses frustrations in the following ways:

 

  • One box: there’s simply one search box customers interact with to start. Based on the location entered in that field, relevant flights and hotels show up. They can then set their travel dates and filter the results further.
  • Simultaneous search results: instead of having to choose a flight then a hotel or a hotel then a flight, Expedia’s tablet app shows both at the same time.

All this relates to something the OTAs like Expedia do great: customer experience. There’s a reason why OTAs are so popular, and it’s not because they hire William Shatner or garden gnomes for their ads. It’s because they understand that users value organization of information. There are a lot of accommodations and travel destinations that a guest can choose, but making sense of all those options was always the difficult part; remember, people used to make a living off this (travel agents).

It wasn’t until the likes of Expedia that travelers could truly grasp travel options on their time and on their terms. Expedia’s new tablet app is simply an extension of that.

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