Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Priceline updates its universal iOS app to add Passbook support and new hotel search by location or hotel name

There is probably no good reason to talk about a Priceline app update, it's not really media per se. But how can you resist that app icon? Come on, when is the next chance to have William Shatner on this website?

As of that app update, Hotels, Flights & Rental Cars, the official name for the universal iOS app, now has support for Passbook. Book a hotel reservation and the app will add the reservation to the new Apple Passbook feature. I have a feeling most hotels won't know what to do with it on their end, but at least the user will know exactly where to find their reservation number and other information.
The app already supports the iPhone 5's longer screen, as you can see at left. But the update also fixes some bugs, and adds a new search mechanism. Users can now search for hotels by an address, point of interest, attraction or hotel name. Search results will then be sorted by the distance from that location. This is extremely useful when searching for a hotel at the last minute – say after making that sales call and finding out you will be forced to stay an extra day.

Reviewers inside the App Store are of two minds about this app: most seem to like the app, a lot; while others really, really hate it, either because of the company's customer service or else because of bugs and confusion as to how the app works. Priceline was always a bit different as you really won't get better deals at the site unless you use the bid feature, and some find that hard to figure out and master.