APP OF THE DAY: Hotels.com HD review (iPad)
It's Friday. Wo-hoo! Maybe you've got a mental weekend lined-up with your buddies where you plan to intoxicate your body with a plethora of mind-bending chemicals (we mean more than two shandy halfs, of course). Or perhaps you're planning a quiet one, sitting in with your better half and catching up with a boxset or two.
Or maybe, if you're really lucky, you've got a few quid in your pocket and you're getting ready for a cheeky weekend getaway. If so, today's App of The Day could come in handy....
There are a bagillion apps out there that will let you see hotel availability, reviews, prices and give you booking options but the pleasing thing about the Hotels.com iPad app is that it puts all these features together in a nicely wrapped package complete with a shiny UI.
And it's that UI that first hits you when you fire up the app. A scrolling skyline landscape is presented complete with a bright blue sky. But this is no skyline that you'd recognise, although many of the buildings will be familiar.
What's on show is a mock-up of some of the buildings and landmarks from the world's most popular tourist spots, giving you easy access to check out the hotels on offer. London is represented by the London Eye, Paris the Eiffel Tower, LA by the Hollywood hills, Rio de Janeiro by the Cristo Redentor, Sydney by the Opera House and so on.
So, by selecting one of these buildings, or by using the more traditional method of typing a city name, you get the usual array of options such as date of your stay, how many ights you need a room, number of people / beds and the like
Following the results (whether in grid or map form) you can then filter them down by selecting hotels of a certain star rating, price-band or guest ratings.
The results contain not only the usual data that you expect - such as amenities, maps, photos, price breakdowns and descriptions – but also reviews from the Hotels.com community on board as well.
And it is this community that helps to power the whole platform because, let's face it, who's going to believe the official description when it comes to selecting a hotel? Plus, if you sign up you can save hotels to a shortlist for viewing later and join the Welcome Rewards loyalty programme which gets you a free night for every 10 nights booked through the service.
This review was based on the iPad version of the app although there are also Android and iPhone ones, all giving access to more than 20,000 last-minute hotel deals, a full range of 140,000+ hotels worldwide, more than 2.5 million hotel reviews and offline access to any bookings that you make.
Happy travels, app fans...