Priceline integrated last-minute car-rental bidding and booking capability into its rebranded Hotel & Rental Car Negotiator app for the iPhone and iPod touch.
In September 2009, Priceline President and CEO Jeffery Boyd speculated that over time mobile offerings will change consumer behavior so that travelers will feel comfortable booking a hotel after they arrive at a destination.
In announcing the app's new rental-car capabilities, Priceline is going down that road, saying consumers can use it to rent a car after they arrive at an airport -- and the car would be ready as soon as 30 minutes after the booking is made.
With the mobile app, consumers already can bid for a room up until 11 p.m. on the day of booking, and Priceline says more than half the hotel bookings made through the app are for same-day check-in.
And, Fridays and Saturdays are the app's busiest hotel-booking days.
So, as Priceline has seen an uptick in the app's last-minute bookings, it trimmed its advance notice for car-rental pickup from two hours to 30 minutes through the app.
"We believe there is a market for mobile-equipped travelers who, at the last minute, decide that they need a rental car after all," says Priceline spokesman Brian Ek.
"You can book your rental from your iPhone, as opposed to lugging a laptop to a free Wi-Fi zone (or paying the fee to hook up), the 30-minute pickup window means you don’t need to sit around in the airport waiting for your car to be ready, and you’re getting those Name Your Own Price savings," Ek says.
Priceline works with Hertz, Avis, Alamo, National and Budget exclusively in its Hotel & Rental Car Negotiator app, and last-minute Name Your Own Price bids and bookings can be made from within the app.
Among the app's features, Priceline says it displays previous winning bids made by other customers at the desired airport by car type, and users can manipulate the iPhone slide feature to increase or decrease their offer.
Priceline also announced that the app would continue to be offered for free download from the App Store.
Priceline offers its bidding service for rental cars in the U.S. only.