Priceline’s Booking.com is launching an Apple Watch app that will let Watch-equipped travelers book hotel accommodations directly from the wearable on their wrists, Mobile Commerce Daily reported on Tuesday (April 21).
The Booking Now app, which supports 15 languages, will be available for download on Friday (April 24), as soon as the Apple Watch actually ships.
While other travel-related apps for the Watch — the one from Starwood Hotels, for example — give travelers access to information about their travel bookings, the Booking Now app lets users actually make reservations at hotels from among more than 625,000 properties globally, and complete the transaction with a single touch on the Watch’s pressure sensitive screen.
Although there’s not enough space on the Watch’s small screen to conventionally search for hotels using the app, it’s designed to use Booking.com’s last-minute reservation service (also called Booking Now), which makes a reservation at the nearest property that fits users’ existing preferences up to 48 hours before their stay, according to Skift.
Travelers can also use the Apple Watch’s “glance” feature to see details with a single swipe, then save the location of their selected property and even get turn-by-turn navigation to get to the hotel. While the Booking Now app can’t turn the Watch into a hotel key like Starwood’s does, it can save the room number and allows the traveler to rate the check-in experience.
“At Booking.com, we’re dedicated to empowering travelers to simply search and book an accommodation that’s just right for them, no matter which screen or device,” Booking.com’s principal designer, Stuart Frisby, said in a prepared statement. He added that, according to his company’s research, “96 percent of global travelers agree that technology has made it easier to book travel, with 85 percent agreeing that because it makes booking on the go easier they can also be more spontaneous; however 67 percent would prefer to reduce their time spent online while traveling. Our innovative app delivers the best of both — users can really do less to get more.”