Priceline Targets iPhone for Hotel Bids

Priceline’s Shatner-infused TV commercials gave the brand recognition in the online budget-travel space, but the company is looking to inspire more sales via mobile. This week, the company launched an iPhone app featuring their “hotel negotiator” bidding and booking technology (I can barely write that without hearing their jingle. Good job, marketers.)

The free iPhone app lets travel shoppers do the same thing they would on their computers when visiting Name your own price on the go might be the new slogan for Priceline. iPhone and iTouch users search for hotels by typing a city name, then choosing from a drop-down list of 50 U.S. destinations, or shaking the device to set it to their current location.

In March 2008, Priceline went mobile for the first time with the launch of but the iPhone app is the first to speak to mobile’s interactive and on-the-go booking abilities. The free iPhone app, however, may gain traction since A, it’s free, and B, budget-concious travelers may want to book a hotel room right away if there are last-minute airfare deals. As long as these budget-concious travelers can afford an ongoing iPhone data plan, Priceline is on to something.

Travel apps on the iPhone are all the rage, especially in the paid utility space. Last week, Zagat’s iPhone app hit number one for paid apps, which includes a recommendation engine for where you should eat or go depending on variables like who you’re with and what they want to eat. Meanwhile, TripIt yesterday announced the launch of TripIt Pro for global travelers. TripIt helps travelers organize and share their travel itineraries beyond flight plans and down to meal reservations and other activities.