A sampling of e-retailer and vendor announcements from the NRF show floor this week.
The online travel giant adds an Android app and enhances mobile site navigation.
Expedia Inc. has been catering to consumers using the iPhone and iPod Touch with a mobile app specially designed for those Apple Inc. devices. Now it’s opening up its commerce-enabled app to the rapidly increasing number of users of devices running Google Inc.’s Android operating system.
From November 2010 to February 2011, Apple’s iPhone market share of smartphone users grew from 25.0% to 25.2% while Android jumped from 26.0% to 33.0%, according to comScore Inc. Growing demand for Android smartphones means growing demand for Android apps.
The app, dubbed Expedia Hotels, uses GPS to pinpoint hotels within close range of a consumer and enables the consumer to filter results by price, rating, distance or popularity. The application displays hotels on an interactive map. Individual hotel pages include ratings from travel company TripAdvisor, a list of amenities and other details, and a variety of hotel images. Expedia says just four taps are required for a consumer registered with Expedia to go from researching a hotel to booking a room. Once a room is booked, a traveler can request an e-mail confirmation and pull up a map to the hotel.
Expedia also continues to invest in its mobile web capabilities and has introduced significant upgrades to its m-commerce site. It redesigned the site to include what it calls “one finger navigation,” meaning simply that if a consumer is a registered Expedia customer, after signing in he can tap from button to button to find and book a hotel room. This style of navigation relies on GPS to do most of the data entry for the consumer since GPS can locate nearby hotels without the consumer entering any information. The app can then access customer information stored in an e-commerce site account. Expedia also has added more hotel details and images on the site, which can be accessed by any web-enabled mobile phone.
“Nothing is more intrinsically mobile than travel, which is why investing in mobile is a key part of our Expedia Everywhere business strategy,” says Scott Durchslag, president of Expedia Worldwide. “Whether it be from their mobile phone, their tablet or their PC, Expedia customers can book the perfect trip from nearly anywhere, at any time.”