Travel review site TripAdvisor launched the full version of its mobile website recently, having already tested the concept with a beta version.
I've been trying the new mobile site out...
The app helps users to find hotels, restaurants and things to do, either near their current location, or for any location they type in. It's a well-designed site too; with a clean and simple interface that has been stripped down for mobile users:
Rather than replicating the full TripAdvisor website, which includes flight searches, holiday rentals and more, the mobile site is restricted to searches for something to do, eat, or somewhere to stay.
Using the site on an iPhone, you can either search from your current location, or else enter a place or postcode. Search results are useful, and provide enough detail (price, rating, brief testimonials etc) to help you decide whether to click and find out more.
There are also some useful filters, which are especially handy if you are searching for a hotel in London:
On results pages, for both restaurants and hotels, a phone number is provided for bookings, while you can also get directions via Google Maps.
The wide range of reviews is what makes TripAdvisor a useful resource, as you are likely to find a range of detailed reviews to help you decide whether to use a hotel or visit a particular restaurant:
In the case of hotels, you can also check for available rooms and make a booking, though completing the booking does mean visiting an external website, most of which have not been optimised for mobile phones, which makes the booking process a little tricky.
The TripAdvisor mobile site is very impressive, it's simple and usable and provides an excellent resource for travellers.
I also like the fact that TripAdvisor has decided to broaden its reach and appeal by creating a mobile site rather than an app. This is something that retailers should think about before simply opting for an iPhone app.
The beta version of the mobile site has been getting around 1m monthly unique users, so there is clearly a demand for this kind of service. It's an impressive mobile site, and the only thing which really lets it down is the booking feature, since it has to send users to external sites that are hard to use on a mobile.