HotelClub.com recently released a mobile booking application which allows customers to make hotel reservations from their Android or iOS phones/tablets. The biggest incentive given for using the app is to gain access to their mobile-only booking discounts, which are special lower rates only visible through the app itself. As highlighted in the recent blog post made on Buckscoop by MissSparrow, what the app does is essentially provide you with access to a mobile, scaled-down version of HotelClub's website. Due to the app being web based rather than natively written for the Android platform I was testing on, the user experience is somewhat cumbersome due to the slower performance (in our opinions).
So I decided to try and find a way to access their mobile website directly from my computer instead and that's where things got very interesting!
The solution as it turned out came in the form of a web browser add-on ("add-ons" being mini applications that provide your web browser with additional functionality). What it did was to make websites believe that I was visiting them on a mobile or tablet device while actually using my computer. Being able to quickly scan through all the mobile-only deals on a larger screen and navigating using a mouse was a far more convenient and efficient method. The add-on I discovered is called Go Mobile, which in a few simple clicks was installed and ready to use. Note, this add-on is for Firefox browsers only. The steps to download and install it are as follows:
- Go to the Tools menu in Firefox and click on "Add-ons".
- In the search field (top right of browser window) type in "Go Mobile" and hit enter.
- After it appears click on the Install button.
That's it, you're done!
At the bottom right corner of your browser you will see a little phone icon which looks like this . To active Go Mobile, simply left mouse click the icon once and you'll see the icon change to . You're now ready to browse any website as if you were doing so on your mobile device. To start looking for mobile-only discounts from HotelClub.com's website you will need to log in (it's free to register by the way) and click on the "Book a hotel" menu.
I did a search for hotels in Sydney, which were 4 stars or above, for a period of two nights on the 29th and 30th of August. From the results it was easy enough to pick out the mobile-only discounts due to the little red and white banner which appeared on the relevant hotel images that said "Mobile Deals". The Rydges World Square Hotel Sydney was the first mobile deal in the list so I price compared this with the regular web price and it was indeed slightly cheaper. What I found rather revealing though was that instead of the 12% mobile-only discount being advertised, in reality it was only about 2% lower than what I was being asked to pay via their normal website. Intriguing. However, when I checked the mobile deal discount shown for The York by Swiss-Belhotel of 10% off, this turned out to be a true reflection of the saving being made when compared with booking via their regular website. It does leave me wondering though how many other mobile deals aren't actually delivering on their promised discounts?
That said, I hope that all you travel-booking-bargain-hunters out there will find this little tip to be useful in helping you get the best price when booking on the HotelClub website. It's also worth mentioning that it looks like you're able to combine general HotelClub promotion codes with these mobile deals to increase your discount. Visit the Buckscoop Vouchers page to get the latest promo codes for this merchant. HotelClub also offer other advantages for signing up through their members rewards programme. You can find more information about their rewards in this blog post.
I'm yet to come across an add-on for Chrome (or any of the other web browser types) which is as easy to install and works as well as the Go Mobile one for Firefox. But if I do, I'll be sure to edit this post and include instructions on how to set it up. Otherwise, if any one else knows of an add-on or alternate method to achieve the same mobile web browsing experience, please leave your comments below!
[Another Buckscoop deals tip for HotelClub.com: Remember to use your Visa card when making your booking to enjoy up to an additional 15% off]