Developer: User Fans
Price: free Download on the App Store
As the summer travel season is approaching, there are some serious benefits to being an iPhone user. If you haven’t already discovered the numerous ways to use your iPhone to find restaurants, buy tickets, book hotels, and perform other useful tasks while traveling, then it’s time to start living a little. There are dozens and dozens of useful apps geared towards traveling and many of them are free. ToucHotel is one such example. It's a free app designed to search and book hotels.
ToucHotel searches for hotels based on either your current location or a destination that you enter. The app populates a list of hotels available for the date(s) you input, as well as supplies user ratings when available, room types, rates, and basic hotel information. You can even pull up the location of the hotel on using Google maps to see how close (or far) you might be staying from your preferred location.
The options button allows users to sort hotels by popularity, rating, price, name and guest score. Users can optionally eliminate star categories by turning off or on specific star ratings, so eliminating one and two star establishments is simple. The interface is basic and doesn’t contain anything complicated, so it’s fairly user-friendly even if lacking in visual appeal.
Once you've found a hotel to your liking, making a reservation is just a few taps away. ToucHotel is powered by Booking.com, so simply provide your name, email, and credit card information. Your reservations are then confirmed by email.
ToucHotel isn’t the only app of its kind, there is quite a bit of choice available when it comes to travel apps. It’s difficult to complain about the app, since it's free and ToucHotel can actually book a room, so it serves its purpose.
The one downfall of ToucHotel is the absence of links and contact information for specific hotels. While it provides basic information, including children’s pricing and policies, amenities, pet policies, and the like, not having a touch-to-call button is inconvenient. It's also difficult to say how comprehensive ToucHotel is in terms of its database. The largest metro area near my location didn’t populate any hotels, but rather populated a list much further south than anyone visiting the area would care to go. However, the really large cities have plenty of available options.
Without investing a penny in an app, it’s hard to expect much and since ToucHotel provides a fairly simple way to locate and book hotels, it could certainly come in handy enough while traveling. There are still other free options, like Priceline’s hotel negotiator that includes touch to call features while providing a similar convenience. Whatever you choose to make travel easier, happy trails to you.