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Orbitz: Mobile site sells same-day hotel deals

When Orbitz launches its speedier mobile website today, customers will find new features such as “tonight only” hotel deals and a new vacation package shopping tool, Orbitz tells Hotel Check-In.

The last-minute hotel feature will offer discounts of up to 50% off rooms in about 50 potentially pricey cities such as New York, Chicago and London, says Orbitz vice president Chris Brown.

“In some cases, we’ll have a discount on the phone that you’re not getting on your laptop,” he says.

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Among the hotels you’ll find in the “Mobile Steals” listing: the Saguaro, a Joie de Vivre boutique hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the trendy, 4-star Gansevoort South hotel in Miami Beach.

Going after on-the-go, last-minute hotel shoppers who use iPhone, Android and Blackberry smartphones makes sense, Brown says, because 65% of Orbitz’s mobile bookings are for the same day.

“More consumers are moving to mobile devices to do their shopping,” he said, noting the projected doubling of mobile shopping this year in the USA.

Orbitz has been able to cut deals with hotels because they see the value in marketing to the growing number of smartphone users who like to multitask and aren’t already loyal users of hotel brand websites such as or

DIGITAL TRAVELER:  Priceline app adds last-minute hotel deals

In taking this approach, Orbitz joins Priceline and start-up Tonight Only, which have already begun marketing to the same audience.

On-the-go bookings: A growing field of players

A year ago, the app-only start-up Tonight Only first began targeting the last-minute crowd with its iPhone app.

Then, in October, Priceline rolled out tonight only deals on its Hotel Negotiator app for iPhones, noting that 70% of its bookings are for the same night.

Orbitz’s “Mobile Steals” are available on all of its mobile channels, including its new mobile site and the latest versions of the Orbitz iPad, iPhone and Android apps.

Would you plan vacations on the go?

Given the overall trends in the mobile world, Orbitz also suspects that more people will increasingly be interested in researching and buying vacation packages while on a train, at the airport, in a car or elsewhere.

“It’s going to be the next wave over of ‘move over’ to the mobile space,” Brown says.

So, Orbitz designed its new mobile site to let customers shop for vacation packages with hotel, airline and rental car components.

The site has the ability to recognize searches that you did for a vacation package on your laptop the night before, giving you the ability to pick up where you left off.

Many people won’t be interested in shopping for complex packages on tiny smartphone screens, but he expects that will change in the future, Brown says.

“We know from our data that we’ll have thousands of customers per day. It’s not a big number, but still, there are people who are interested,” he says. “At night, they might talk to their spouse and search. When they are on a train the next day (going to work), they can pull up their search that they did the night before and book it.”

Readers: How often do you book hotels through a mobile website or app?

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