A new booking app for travellers who need a hotel in a hurry and want to be guided straight there is being introduced to New Zealand.
Booking Now uses traveller behaviour data as well as GPS technology to point users to the most suitable hotel or motel in the vicinity for same-night or two-night stays.
The Uber-style app developed by Booking.com covers up to 600,000 properties around the world. It is the latest in a surging number and variety of apps for travellers.
Booking Now users type in their preferences for price and facilities when they download the app and then are shown the range of accommodation that best suits them. The app can pinpoint the traveller's location and shows the distance in metres to places to stay. If they nominate another destination it gives a range of accommodation.
The app was developed by English-born Stuart Frisby, who spent time in New Zealand and whose family live in Whakatane.
"One of the most compelling trends in travel is the rise of last-minute bookings, and technology enabling this spontaneous behaviour inspired us to develop Booking Now," he said.
It was "singularly focused" on the spontaneous traveller who was booking accommodation within 48 hours of his or her stay, he said.
Booking Now is available in the United States and Canada and will be launched in New Zealand todayand in other countries during the coming days. It will be available in 42 languages.
Frisby said that by creating a profile to indicate certain preferences - such as price point and options like breakfast, parking and Wi-Fi - users would immediately be served with the hotel that fitted their specifications.
"The spontaneous element of it makes it a fun app to play around with, in a 'where shall we go this weekend' sort of way."
A study last year by Criteo, an advertising technology company, showed mobile bookings were growing 20 per cent versus 2 per cent over the first six months of 2014.
The survey of more than 1000 travel websites worldwide showed smartphones and tablets accounted for 21 per cent of hotel bookings.
The Asia Pacific region led the way with more than 20 per cent of travel bookings made on a mobile device, with Brazil and Germany less than 10 per cent.
Travel Agents Association chief executive Andrew Olsen said his members were also developing apps.
"The customer can book travel with an agent online and now 'on the go' so agents are quite aware of, and increasingly getting into the mobile space. It won't replace but will supplement the more traditional agency visit when it comes to complicated multi-stop reservations and the personal touch which still suits many New Zealand travellers."