I invite all of you to join me for a Google Hangout this afternoon at 4:30 PM Pacific Time (7:30 PM Eastern Time) including me and several other, more famous bloggers like Gary Leff, Chris McGinnis and Johnny Jet. We’ll be discussing National Car Rental’s new app for the iPhone and Android (with Windows Phone coming soon…)
After downloading the app myself, the first thing I noticed was how easy it was to use. And actually useful. Most hotel apps, for example, I find difficult to use for actually booking a hotel. I use Hyatt’s app only to keep track of reservations and hotel contact info. Airline apps are not much better. I can book a flight with United’s app if pressed, but I generally use it only for tracking flights, checking in, and boarding.
National Car Rental’s app was not only a fully functional and useful app, it was even more useful than their usual website! I don’t have much against NationalCar.com — a basic design means fewer things to go wrong — but it also does annoying things like list three pick up locations when I search for BOS.
When I tested the National app on my iPhone, it had an option to save my credentials so I can book as soon as the app loads. It also figured I was in a rush and on the go, like most travelers, and only wanted to see the official Boston Logan airport location. Picking dates was also easier than I’m used to, without distracting pop-up windows.
The small form factor was also a boon. I liked being able to scroll through the car options, and pricing details were easy to parse with less text, fewer links, and more attractive presentation overall. I could spot and understand relevant details, booking a car with just a couple clicks, followed by a confirmation page with detailed pickup instructions.
I’m told that this app will also be adding the option to reserve a specific car at smaller locations that don’t have secure lots. I’m looking forward to trying this because about half of my rental experiences are at such cities. I almost never like the car I’m assigned and sorely miss the chance to pick my own from the Emerald Aisle with the keys already inside.
You can learn more about the new app from the video below, by reading the press release, or by checking in on this afternoon’s chat. Remember, I’ll be there for a half hour starting at 4:30 PM Pacific Time talking about things I like — and hate — in travel apps and other favorite tech.
Disclosure: I may be compensated by National Car Rental for promoting this new app and the Google Hangout. However, given that I book with them eight times out of ten, I’d probably have written about it anyway.