Online travel giant Expedia is trying to catch up fast with rivals such as Ebookers in Europe, launching the first mobile version of its website last week.
Unveiled in the UK and expected to spread around the other European country sites over the course of the next six months, Expedia has pretty much followed the model adopted in the US by consolidating the homepage into four main functions: search for hotels, flights, car hire and activities.
Users can then carry out more detailed queries within the system and then modify requirements from the results. Bookings are taken as normal, via a secure page.
The move comes two months after Ebookers claimed a European first by throwing similar levels of functionality into a modified, mobile-friendly version of its website.
More importantly the launch follows the Expedia mothership's acquisition of Mobiata in November 2010, promising a range of mobile-led services to come.
Expedia EMEA director of ecommerce Charlotte Gogstad says the investment in mobile is part of a strategy to "accelerate efforts in providing a multi-platform based approach to mobile travel shopping and booking".
Interesting, Gogstad continues:
"In addition to adapting our core site for use on mobile platforms, we will be launching ancillary services specifically designed for mobile through Mobiata over the next year."
Meanwhile, Expedia corporate travel division Egencia says it will launch its first mobile application in the second quarter of 2011.
The application will include services such as itinerary tools, flight schedules and online check-in, interactive maps, travel security information, click-to-call customer service with an Egencia rep, weather and multi-language support.