Orbitz Worldwide Inc. is a company that owns a flexible online reservation system that connects its users “to hundreds of airlines, over 80, 000 hotels, 15 rental car agencies, as well as cruises and vacation packages” (Case Study, n.d., p. 1). The company was created as a result of a unified effort of the following airlines: United, Delta, Continental, American, and Northwest (Case Study, n.d.). Sixteen years after its launch, the platform provides its services to more than 9 million customers each month (Case Study, n.d.).
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The services include, but are not limited to, the provision of search tools allowing to quickly and easily retrieve information related to air travel and hotel-booking. By using the platforms, travelers can book a flight, check flight statuses, wait times, delays, traffic conditions, weather, reviews from other travelers, and parking information among others.
The aim of this paper is to analyze why the company opted for launching native apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire instead of using a single mobile website.
Orbitz discovered that securing flight and making lodging and car rental reservations though its mobile website are time-consuming tasks. Therefore, the company decided to eliminate its web app and provide its users with seamless reservation experience through native apps for different devices. The decision was taken at a time when the popularity of native apps increased enormously due to numerous advantages associated with them. Furthermore, the number of customers almost doubled with the introduction of mobile transactions; therefore, Orbitz redesigned its native iPhone app and intended on developing native apps for other operating systems.
By eliminating its cross-platform solution and locating its search and reservation process entirely within walls of native apps, the company provided its customers with a superb user experience. Orbitz dispensed with time-consuming redirects to third parties’ websites, thereby achieving speed and ease of use (Case Study, n.d.). The company compared the performance of its iPhone app with that of their competitors such as Kayak, Priceline, Travelocity, and Expedia (Case Study, n.d). Managers of the organization discovered that its customers were able to make flight and hotel reservations twice as fast as individuals using applications of Orbitz’s rivals.
It can be argued that the company’s decision to eliminate its web app was highly beneficial for mobile device users. Native apps are completely compatible with the hardware of mobile devices; therefore, Orbitz customers can use GPS functions of their devices to tag their locations on maps. Furthermore, “customers’ search history, personal information, frequent flyer program data, and travel preferences” (Case Study, n.d., p. 3) that can be stored within a native app provided the company with a competitive edge over its rivals. Another benefit of using a mobile is the ability to access itinerary data even while offline.
Undoubtedly, speed, touch responsiveness, and compatibility with cameras, microphones, and accelerometers among others were noticeable advantages for the company’s management. However, compatibility with core devices capabilities is not the main advantage of native apps. Each platform has hundreds of design intricacies that are appreciated by their users; therefore, by switching to native platforms, Orbitz was able to preserve unique design patterns that are considered a key component of a platform’s ecosystem.
The company’s decision to launch native apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire instead of using a single mobile website was dictated by the desire to provide its customers with a superb reservation experience.
Case Study. (n.d.).