App won't eclipse mobile sites: Wotif

App won't eclipse mobile sites: Wotif
By admin

Wotif has predicted the bulk of its mobile bookings will continue to come through its mobile-designed sites rather than its new app despite it becoming the most downloaded free travel app in Australia.

The uptake had been “fantastic”, Wotif chief executive Robbie Cooke told Travel Today, which also saw it soar into the top four downloaded apps across all sectors.

But it is unlikely to generate new business or replace bookings made through sites designed specifically for mobile devises and tablets, he predicted.

“I think the majority of our mobile bookings will come through the mobile sites rather than the app, that’s my gut feel,” he said. “But I am happy to be proved wrong.”

Figures produced at Wotif’s first half financial results showed one million visits to its mobile sites were made in December which generated around 23,000 bookings, around 10% of the total. Cooke declined to reveal the extent of mobile growth since then but conceded any increase would be attributable to a shift in trends rather than a result of new business.

“It’s people tapping into us through different devices. I don’t think it’s new business, it’s migration,” he said. “I think the growth game for us is more in Asia where mobile penetration is much higher. People don’t use desktops or laptop. Everything is done on mobile devices.”

Cooke said its technology team was developing mobile sites for Asia Web Direct, while an iPad app was also in the planning stage for Wotif.

“Our strategy was to get our mobile sites up first so you have an optimised skin for iPhones and iPads,” he said. “We have seen a 300% rise in mobile traffic over the past 12 months and it’s not really a surprise. We’ve seen traffic migrate from the more traditional desktops to iPhones and iPads.”

Cooke said it was important for Wotif to develop its mobile sites and apps in-house rather than outsource the work.

“We’ve got multiple brands that require apps and we need the skill sets in house,” he said. “We need to be nimble and adapt. We’ve always tackled our software developments by owning our IP (intellectual property) and our own technology and by building it in house.”

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