Deals site Travelzoo made its Android app available to UK subscribers last week following its launch in the US earlier this year.
The company has seen mobile traffic double from 10% to 20% in the past six months, and has achieved 650,000 app downloads worldwide.
The new app offers access to travel, entertainment and local deals, as well as enabling users to redeem vouchers through their smartphone.
It has already achieved more than 10,000 downloads in the Play Store, but is it any good?
When you open the app you are shown Travelzoo’s top 20 daily deals. This is presumably given prominence as it is the most popular part of their site, and it lends itself well to a mobile app.
Mobile users don’t necessarily want to trawl through hundreds of different deals, so offering them a curated list makes for a more enjoyable experience.
The product pages are very simple, but contain most of the information you need when booking a holiday. Price and travel information is all easy to find, and buttons at the bottom of the pages allow users to easily access the booking website or phone number.
However, there are a couple of major flaws with the deal pages. Firstly, they do not include images of the accommodation; instead there is just one generic image of the destination.
But more annoyingly, most of the booking sites that the app links out to are not mobile optimised. This is something which will hit the conversion rates hard.
Trying to enter all the necessary travel information and discount codes on a mobile is quite frustrating, and I think a lot of users will use their desktop to actually make a booking, or perhaps won’t book at all.
This tab essentially offers the same features as the corresponding dropdown list on the desktop site.
The deals offered within each category are the same as on the site – while you would assume this to be the case, it does at least show that Travelzoo is aware that it needs to give users a consistent experience across each platform.
It is very easy to navigate between the categories and scroll through the travel deals, but the same issue exists with linking to external sites that aren’t mobile optimised.
As the name suggests, this tab supplies deals in the user’s local area. It’s a useful tool but personally I wouldn’t consider the South East of England to be my local area.
The app could easily use GPS to offer deals with a few miles radius of the user, which would offer a more personalised experience.
You can access deals within a more localised region by using the app’s map feature, but I think this should be the standard setting rather than an additional function.
The final tab allows signed in users to access any daily deal vouchers they have purchased. As I’ve never bought any daily deals from Travelzoo I can’t comment on how the redemption process works, but it makes sense to offer users access to their deals within the app.
While the app is very easy to use, it is let down by the fact that most of the external sites it links to are not mobile optimised. Making a travel booking involves a lot of form-filling and dropdown menus, which is difficult to do on a mobile.
However, these are still probably the exception rather than the norm, so a vast majority of the third-party sites that Travelzoo links to will be desktop sites.
Consequently, this app will probably be used more to research deals than to actually make bookings, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable tool for Travelzoo.
By offering customers a mobile experience it is boosting its visibility among consumers and bookings through its desktop site should benefit as a result.