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Budget hotel chain Travelodge has just released a handy iPhone app that locates nearby hotels, allowing users to make a reservation.
The iBooker app can be downloaded free of charge from the app store, and makes good use of the phone's GPS functions.
I've been trying it out...
Simply open the iBooker app and it will automatically open up a browser window for you and show you the five hotels nearest to your current location, complete with a photo of the hotels. All good, but perhaps linking to Google Maps to provide directions would be useful here:
It assumes that you are looking for a hotel for that night, and returns results for available rooms, but search parameters such as date and location can be changed.
Prices and other information is provided on available rooms, and options can be changed using the iPhone's scroll down menus. All simple enough so far:
The Travelodge mobile site has been well optimised for the iPhone, and the menu options are all simple to use; it only becomes complicated when adding address and other details, and though the process has been made as simple as possible there are a couple of areas for improvement.
For example, though no payment is taken, users are required to enter credit card details to confirm the booking, which seems an unnecessary step, and one that makes the whole process a little bit longer.
Also, on the address entry page, users need to type in the address, when it would be better to take a postcode and house number first and avoid unnecessary data entry:
Apart from these relatively minor usability issues, iBooker is a useful app, and booking hotels is something well suited to a mobile app, and though Travelodge is the first UK hotel firm to come up with an app, other chains could easily follow, either through a downloadable app, or an iPhone optimised website. A good effort though.