Finding a place to stay used to be a roll of the dice. The internet lets us share our success stories (and horror stories) when searching for a great place to stay. ToucHotel by developer UserFans takes hotel searching and booking and makes it social, letting you view your Facebook friends’ reviews and share yours with others, all from within an app that lets you search and book hotels in over 30,000 worldwide destinations. You can view pictures of the hotel, read user reviews, and book from right within the app using a safe encrypted booking system.
How It Works
I found ToucHotel has everything I would expect in an app that specializes in booking hotels: it has photos of the hotel, including the rooms and the amenities. It has the ability to search over any given set of dates and specify how many people are staying in the room (though it doesn’t seem to allow you to specify ages of children, or even that you have children in your party). Once you find a hotel and tap on it for more information, it shows you the rates for all of the different types of rooms available for those chosen dates. You can also book from right within the app, and there are no booking fees. You can view all of your past bookings on one screen.
The best part of the app is that, if you’ve included your Facebook information, you can view all of your friends’ reviews on the hotels listed. The app also makes it easy to post a request for recommendations onto your Facebook profile, so that others can suggest places to stay. The Friends screen in the app shows how many friends currently use the app and lets you view their favorite hotels.
Pros and Cons
The interface and experience for ToucHotel is smooth and easy to navigate, which is the most important thing for a hotel booking app. Going from the need for a booking to a completed reservation takes only minutes, since the app lets you filter search results by star rating, or amenities offered (i.e. do you only want to see 4-star places that offer WiFi?). Once you’ve booked a reservation within the app, you are all set. If you’re nervous about sharing financial info through a strange app from the iTunes App Store, just be sure you use a major credit card for piece of mind: they will back you up if anything goes wrong with the reservation, just like if you were to book through Expedia or Travelocity.
ToucHotel is a full-featured hotel search and booking app that has thousands of hotels to choose from, and adds the social element by letting you view your Facebook friends’ hotel reviews. It’s free to download and free to use the service to book hotel rooms, and is available now for iPhone and iPad.