Hotels.com has been a popular Internet resource for years, of course, even having a rather splendid mobile web site that's very accessible in Symbian Web. But what better improvement than a wrapper for the site, written in Qt and packaged as an 'app', managing your Hotels.com account and reservations, while integrating all the back end database of hundreds of thousands of hotels worldwide? Screenshots and link below.
The application is free, of course - unlike all the hotels it references!...
A simple managed front end and the application handles your Hotels.com logged in state to save you having to enter details every time you use the system
Simple Calendar dialogs and spinners make it very easy to change search query details. No frills, but quick
Although not screen captured (because its presence on the screen is short), there's geolocation via your phone's Positioning system - the 'Reading, UK' data in the screen above is sourced from the lat/long provided by Symbian and the hardware and is automatic. Though you can, of course, plug in the name of another town you want to look up hotels for. £1324 for two nights at 'The Reading Lake Hotel'? Wow. Not going there, an order of magnitude out of my league 8-)
Delving into the details of a hotel is easy and clear, but the fonts used are fairly small and there's no way to enlarge them. The fonts are inherited from the underlying web pages on hotels.com - see below for more on this
Always useful to have a selection of nice photos of each hotel, to give you a flavour for a) what to look for when tracking it down, and b) what to expect when you get there in terms of look and facilities
Thumbnail maps are included (again, from the underlying web page), but there's no interaction with it or customisability. Right, delve into a price and there's the option to book the room(s) directly
Part of the booking process for a room through the app - reservations are stored locally, for offline access (e.g. arriving in a new area and perhaps without data access)
Perhaps the best part of the hotels.com database is the huge number of reviews of each hotel - here showing two such texts for the same hotel - aggregate a few in your mind and you get a good picture of whether the hotel's worth considering or not
Visiting hotels.com in Web directly reveals a very different homescreen but fairly familiar underlying entry screens - tap one level further down and the screens become identical, though without the same flexibility of remembering your details from one Web session to the next
In short, a text book adaptation of a popular mobile web site for convenient use as a self-contained 'app', thanks in part to the strengths of Qt as a development system.