As a major player in the online hotel and flight booking arena, it makes sense for Expedia to move into the app space. Its website has a host of valuable hotel information that’s ripe for mobile picking and there’s a rich vein of user reviews to tap into as well, so we were understandably delighted to hear about the launch of Expedia Hotels this week.
Expedia’s app has clearly had some thought put into it UI-wise. Enter your location in the search bar – or hit ‘current location’ and let GPS do the work for you – and the app will search for hotels closest to you, displaying them with a price per night, star rating and distance from you. Drop in the dates you require and the list is whittled down to hotels with availability on your desired dates. All very neat, very simple and very useable.
See something that takes your fancy? Tap the screen and read a full description of the hotel and see its exact location on a map. If you want to book, you just hit the ‘book now’ button and you’re taken to the booking screen with full details of check-in/out dates, taxes and fees and room type. Then it’s just a case of entering your card details and confirming your booking. It’s a breeze.
There are two very major omissions, however. Those of us who’ve used Expedia.co.uk before will already have an Expedia account, but the app doesn’t let you log in, so you effectively have two different locations where your card info is stored by the same company. With the recent hacking of PlayStation Network front of mind, that doesn’t feel like the most secure way to handle customer’s billing info.
Secondly, you can’t read any of the thousands of hotel reviews available on Expedia.co.uk. Sure, some of the hotels featured have a Trip Advisor rating in addition to the Expedia score, but you can’t access the Trip Advisor reviews either. That’s a major issue when one of the most useful elements of Expedia is the ability to weigh up reviews from other travellers and make a buying decision based on user reviews.
It’s worth remembering that this is the first iteration of Expedia’s app and these are two eminently fixable issues. Whether Expedia does fix them, however, remains to be seen.
The Bottom Line
Well thought out app with slick UI and an exhaustive hotel list, but no Expedia login option and no user reviews?
Version reviewed 1.0.1
Requires Android 2.0 or higher