In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
The online travel agency will launch a hotel booking app and other apps this year.
Online travel agency Expedia.com acquired mobile travel app company Mobiata in November. Expedia is now starting to make use of its new mobile expertise.
Expedia has announced it will launch Expedia Hotels, an iPhone app designed to help travelers research and book hotel stays. Expedia says the app is the first of several mobile initiatives it has planned for this year.
The app will offer access to Expedia’s selection of hotel rooms worldwide, accept payment in 20 currencies and enable users to book a hotel in four taps, Expedia says. It also will leverage the iPhone’s GPS functionality to show mobile users nearby hotels.
Expedia expects the app to be available for download in the iTunes Store within the next two weeks.
“Expedia Hotels is the first of what will be many mobile apps developed for iPhone and Android,” says Scott Durchslag, president, Expedia Worldwide. “They will enable customers to easily book any of more than 130,000 hotel rooms worldwide, putting real-time availability at the tip of their fingers in moments.”
The app will show mobile users an interactive map of hotels in the area and enable consumers to sort hotels by price, rating, popularity or distance from a location. It also incorporates ratings and reviews from Expedia’s popular TripAdvisor web site and features an image slideshow for each hotel.
Once app users book a hotel via the app, they can access directions to it, share their booking confirmation via e-mail and add the reservation to their iPhone calendar.
Expedia launched its first application, an iPhone app called TripAssist, early last year. That app links to the company’s mobile site where consumers can book and offers tools to help travelers manage their trips.
Mobile is a top priority for Expedia as mobile sales and visits continue to climb. Expedia says mobile traffic accounts for 4% of all visitors to Expedia.com and that mobile bookings in 2010 were up nearly five times compared with a year earlier.
Mobiata has created mobile travel apps including FlightTrack, which shows the status of flights around the world and offers weather radar updates and other flight tools, and HotelPal, which lets users browse and search rooms and rates and book hotel stays through Expedia.