Wyndham Hotels Group, the worlds largest hotelier, has launched ten mobile sites, one for each of Wyndham’s brands that operate in the U.S. I have my doubts about the multiple site strategy. After a hard day on the road I just want to find the nearest available room at a price I can afford. I could care less whether it’s a Days Inn, Super 8 or Microtel. I certainly don’t want to visit ten sites. Instead I would probably use a third party site like Keytoss or Lodging.mobi that lets me search across many hotel brands. Interestingly, some of Wyndham’s sites like Microtel’s do return hotels from multiple brands but others like the Days Inn one show only results from that brand.
The ten sites are identical in design and features, differing only in background colors and logos. Each lets you search for and book rooms in the US and Canada and also manage existing reservations.
It’ s easy to find available rooms using the Wyndham sites and there is considerable information about the amenities of each property and of individual rooms.
Booking using a phone keypad is quite difficult because Wyndham requires completing a form with 12 required fields. I didn’t actually book a room but there doesn’t seem to a way to store credit card details for future use. Fortunately there is a click to call number for each hotel so you can always book with a phone call.
The biggest problem I have with these sites is page size. I did a search for a room for tonight in San Francisco on the Days Inn site using the Firefox User Agent Switcher to simulate a RAZR V3, which has a 20 KB page buffer. The results page was a whopping 250 KB. You will need a smartphone or Opera Mini to even open a page that big. Most feature phones can only handle pages under 20 KB, or at most 100 KB. The large size is due to a combination of the number of results per page (20), lots of images (44 totaling 120 KB) and the huge number of hidden form fields. There are 23 fields which are each repeated 20 times, once for each listed hotel, making the page markup total 127 KB. The markup is compressed so it doesn’t take long to download but most feature phone browsers will run out of memory decompressing the page.
The individual sites, which are filed in the Wap Review Directory’s Travel-Transit/Hotels/Hotel Chains, category are:
Days Inn daysinn.com, Super8 super8.com, Baymont Inns baymontinns.com, Howard Johnson hojo.com, Knights Inn knightsinn.com, Ramada ramada.com, Travelodge travelodge.com, Wingate wingateinns.com, Microtel microtelinn.com and Hawthorn Suites hawthorn.com.
Ratings: Content Usability
Ready.mobi Score: 4 “Good” (front page)