With enhancements to its mobile website using HTML5, GetThere will increasingly be downplaying downloadable mobile apps from Sabre sibling TripCase.
GetThere, Sabre's corporate travel unit, enhanced GetThere Mobile, tapping HTML5 technology to enable the shopping and booking of hotels in accordance with corporations' travel policies and preferences.
In addition, the mobile-website solution enables road warriors to view hotels on a map or via a listing, and they also can use one-click call functionality to phone a travel agency for assistance.
Paul Wiley, GetThere's vice president of product partnerships and strategies, explains that some corporations and goverment agencies prohibit the use of downloadable apps, such as those available through TripCase, on company- or agency-issued phones.
Until now, GetThere has offered itinerary management services from Sabre's TripCase to corporate clients, but GetThere plans to develop its own itinerary management solution -- without requiring downloads for initial use and upgrades -- and integrate it into GetThere mobile as a single solution, Wiley says.
However, GetThere will continue to offer TripCase to clients who want it.
Wiley says GetThere decided to use HTML5 for its mobile website to address clients' compliance needs and because HTML5 is evolving and beginning to have the "look and feel" of downloadable apps.
Another advantage of HTML5, Wiley says, it that if offers single sign-on.
The GetThere Mobile service has just launched hotel booking features and plans to introduce air and rail later in 2011. There is no firm date for the launch of car-rental booking through GetThere Mobile, Wiley says.
Previously, the GetThere Mobile service was an informational solution without booking capabilities.
Wiley says many mobile solutions providers are beginning to use HTML5 and are moving away from reliance on downloadable apps.
Norm Rose, who owns Travel Tech Consulting, characterizes HTML5 as "the next-generation Web-authoring software," adding that in 3-4 years it will "provide functionality equivalent to downloadable apps."
"The bottom line is that any travel company developing mobile web apps should develop in HTML5, so GetThere is not unique but on the right path," Rose says.