DUBLIN, July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Hostelworld, the leading budget travel site, today announced the launch of a brand new native app for iPad. The app is available to download for free from Apple's App Store and marks the first in a series of new products the company will be releasing over the coming months.
Hostelworld recognises the importance that mobile plays for its customers. "Our customers are young, tech savvy and inherently mobile," said Feargal Mooney, CEO of Hostelworld.
"And they are increasingly choosing to book with us on tablet and mobile devices. It makes perfect sense for us to focus our attention on mobile and create the best possible experiences on these platforms. Mobile is experiencing triple digit year-on-year growth for us and iPad represents an increasingly large proportion of this."
Version 2.0 of the Hostelworld iPad app is the first native app launched by Hostelworld. It takes complete advantage of iOS7 design and the unique user experience iOS offers.
"When we started out designing for iPad, we felt that we could create something really special," says Breffni Horgan, Head of Mobile at Hostelworld. "Designing for iPad gives us the opportunity to truly immerse our customers in a destination because it provides us with the freedom to present our hostels in an engaging way. With large scale imagery, intuitive maps and easy access to filter results, we think finding the perfect hostel on iPad will be a breeze."
Q&A with Breffni Horgan, Head of Mobile at Hostelworld
So what's so special about this new app?
For starters we took a customer centric approach to design. We focused on creating an intuitive and seamless user experience.
We looked at previous user behaviour, read customer reviews and took an honest look at what people wanted from our app. Value and choice play a pivotal role for customers when it comes to making the decision to book with Hostelworld so we've made these filtering options accessible right throughout the app. And with 30,000 properties to choose from, customers will be spoilt for choice. We want people to find their perfect hostel in an instant, whether they are familiar with a city or not, so you will find maps, filters and sort central to the design.
We know reviews play an important part for customers in the decision-making process, and we have verified over 3.5 million of these, all available in the app.
And why choose to go native?
There were so many benefits when we looked at the technology of developing a native app. It wasn't just about getting something to market quickly, it was about creating a unique experience that would bring customers back for more. And the native experience really lets us do that. We've added subtle elements to the app which contribute to this. One such feature is parallax on the imagery so that when the user scrolls the photos glide transparently in the background. Pull to refresh animations and neat sliding of menus and dialogs all serve to enhance the customer journey.
Any new features to rave about?
Of course! We have added tons of new features previously unavailable in our mobile apps.
Customers can now review from within the app, save cards for faster checkout and we've added persistent login. We've also added some features that are unique to mobile.
These include a current location search that will map the customer from where they are right to their chosen hostel. And any booking made on iPad can be added to the native calendar, populating the check-in date and time for a handy reminder while on the move.
What about booking fees?
These are gone, banished...forever
Is there flexible cancellation?
This is another new feature we have added to iPad because it's such a popular booking choice for our customers. Simply and easily selected at checkout, if plans change the deposit can be used against another booking.
What about your international customers?
The app will be made available in 10 languages over the coming weeks - the first 2.0 release is English, but we will follow up very soon with French, German, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Swedish, Chinese, Korean and Japanese.
And future plans for iPad?
We have loads of new features in the pipeline, iOS8 is around the corner and that is the next step in the evolution of iOS. But we want to get this version into our customers' hands. Customer feedback plays a central role in our product development process and is important to us.
And what about other mobile platforms?
We spotted the opportunity for mobile many years ago, releasing our first iPhone app in January 2010. We followed that soon after with an Android app and to date we have accumulated over 1.5 million app downloads. But we don't intend to stop there, so watch this space - we are planning some big updates over the coming months which we are pretty excited about.
Find our new iPad app on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/hostelworld/id720087908?mt=8
Find our iPhone app here:
Find our Android app here:
Or visit our website: http://www.hostelworld.com