Last week, Hotwire launched its first mobile booking app for iPhone and iPod Touch. It gets you what you need (and just what you'd think it would get you)—low prices on hotels around you, or around the world, in the flash of an eye.
Launching the app on your phone brings up a (disconcertingly) simple interface. While Hotwire announced that the app was optimized for the large iPhone 5 display and iOS 6, we philistines on older models should be just fine. The display proportions are large, which makes the look and feel a little "baby's first mobile booking app," but the simplicity has its advantages on a booking app. Who wants to be wandering jet-lagged around an airport terminal squinting at tiny text and complicated workflows, anyway?
Once you've launched the app, use your current location (detected by the phone) or choose another location (city or airport) around the world. Choose your check-in and check-out dates on the calendar, and add or subtract rooms and guests. That's it. On to the bargains.
The next page displays results in map or list form. The map will display regions with starting price. Tap on the region and the list of available room prices appears beneath.
Hate maps? Use list view, which, yeah, lists the choices, along with their customer rating percentage. The list can also be filtered by stars, and can be sorted by price, rating, distance, and value (the sort is not available in map view which is "sort" of annoying—see what I did there?).
Pick your hotel, and in the details section you'll find information on possible hotel choices (if you're not familiar with the third-party booking model—you don't find out which particular hotel you've booked until after you book it); hotel amenities; a map; subtotal, taxes and fees; and confirmation of your check-in and check-out days.
Like what you see? Tap the continue button and, provided you have your credit card handy, you can book your room right in the app, or, if you're a real speed demon, sign in to your Hotwire account for faster service.
The app lets you store saved trips in a folder, though you need to sign in to your Hotwire account to access it.
Just a reminder, and this is listed in the disclaimer when you book, but Hotwire Hot Sale bookings are final. So no meandering around Manhattan booking rooms willy-nilly, but once you've found your price, this app makes it easy to book it, and fast.
The Hotwire Hotels App is available for free in the App Store and iTunes for iPhone and iPod Touch.
Photo credits: Screen shot courtesy of Hotwire; Hotel room via Shutterstock