Expedia.com who has upset Australian travel retailers because they don’t charge fees like Australian operators, is launching a free app allowing travelers to book hotel rooms from their Phone and iPod touch mobile devices.
Expedia Hotels uses GPS to find available hotels, within walking distance of the traveler. Expedia Hotels is the first app introduced by Expedia since the company acquired mobile travel apps company Mobiata in November.
The phone initative, is the first in a series of mobile services that the company will roll out in 2011. Bellevue-based Expedia already offers mobile booking of flights, cars, and activities.
The Expedia Hotels app should be available in a few weeks from the Apple App Store.
Local operators got upset earlier this month by launching a multi-million-dollar advertising campaign attacking them for “extortionate” fees it says are annoying consumers.
Expedia axed online booking fees about 18 months ago and is using the campaign, including 30-second television spots, to highlight charges levied by its online and “bricks and mortar” competitors.
It says research commissioned last year found that website fees angered consumers and that three-quarters of 1100 Australian and New Zealanders surveyed said they should not be charged.