How I like to travel and a Booking Now app review
In this post I’m reviewing a new app from Booking.com that is designed to help you book accommodation at the last-minute – because when I’m travelling, that’s exactly what I like to do.
Depending how you like to travel, you’ll either love or hate the idea behind this… This app is designed purely for the spontaneous traveller – anyone who might need a room for today or tomorrow night at the drop of a hat!
Maybe you decided last-minute that actually it would be good to make that birthday party in Amsterdam, maybe work surprised you with an urgent presentation in a different office, or maybe like me in Albania last month you just weren’t sure which place you’d reach by the end of the day!
Whatever your reason for jumping on a plane, train or bus without having anywhere to stay, there’s plenty to love about a little spontaneity in life, but it’s always nice to know you will have a bed to sleep in at the end of the day.
The Booking Now app review
The guys at booking.com decided to make a new app called Booking Now specifically for finding places to stay in the next 48 hours – because they found that 50% of people booking last-minute accommodation did it via a mobile device. That makes sense. So the app is a clean user-friendly interface that uses very simple preferences to suggest the best accommodation for you straight off the bat. And it helps that there are very few places where you won’t find some free WiFi to be able to book your accommodation last-minute these days, especially around transport hubs.
The Booking Now app doesn’t have tonnes of options and pages of preferences, or even any filters. Instead you get these simple choices;
Choose what kind of accommodation you want, from Premium to Budget.
Choose which of 6 items are on your Must-Have list. I usually hit up these 3.
That’s pretty much it. You can tell the app if you are looking for tonight or tomorrow, for 1 or 2 guests, and for how many nights. Then it shows you your best available match to suit your needs, and you just swipe through them until you find ‘the one’ – exactly like Tinder. ;)
You scroll down for more information about that particular property and, less like Tinder, sealing the deal is just one click away. As you can see, the Ready To Book button is very prominent, so once you’ve seen enough information to confirm you want to stay somewhere, it’s easy to book, and the app can save your payment details to make things even easier.
Could Hotel Kastoria be ‘the one’ on your visit to this lakeside holiday town in the north of Greece? It was for me, and a very pleasant stay, albeit with a few Fawlty Towers style moments.
So just arrive in a new location and swipe right a few times. (But watch out people, because some players religiously do this in the other app I keep mentioning… haha)
The rooms that come up are in order of how well they match your needs, and the price range can be a touch too wide, but this is a useful app if you want a quick booking without any fuss. The app will remember your preferences for when you next need to use it, and if you want to look for a different type of room you can change your preferences easily in a couple of taps.
‘But I Want ALL The Options’
If you love to plan your travel meticulously and have everything sorted weeks in advance, then just stick with the existing booking.com app – which has all the extra cogs and wheels you might want. A few times I’ve used the original app on arriving to a new location too, and although it’s not as quick a booking process, sometimes the extra features are exactly what I wanted.
You can set as many filters as you like, like finding places by price and star-rating, or you can browse places by location on a map, which is perfect if you know the area you want to stay in.
Could Hotel Vola be ‘the one’ when you visit Sarandë, on the Albanian Riviera? Cheap but very cheerful, this was a great find using the old Booking.com app.
Personally, I don’t tend to mind where I stay too much, as long as the price is Ok and my stuff will be safe when I go out exploring. If I am planning to see as much as the city has to offer but haven’t done any research, I might be tempted to go for a hostel (a shared dorm or private room, depending on price), because the staff are usually so full of local information that it’s like having your own 24-hour tourist info office.
Sarandë in Albania – totally worth the impulse travel!
But on the other hand, if I need a hotel for me and my girlfriend to stay in, you can rest assured that I’m probably not looking for a hostel. Unless there is a hostel that has really nice private rooms – which could be the best of both worlds – I’ll happily stump for a room in a nice hotel or location that adds a bit of panache to our stay.
A nice room I booked in London recently, with a view over Camden Lock. Never underestimate brownie points!
What kind of place do you like to stay in for last-minute trips – are you all about budget, or all about style? Would you use an app to book a room as you arrive to a new place, or does the idea of that make you uneasy?
I’d love to hear in the comments, and make sure you are following me on Instagram for live updates like the one below from my spontaneous travels.
You can get the Booking Now app for Android here (which is the one I’m using) and the iPhone version is here. Think of it as the ‘Uber’ for hotels. A smart bit of technology that encourages spontaneity in your travels. :)