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Hotels Reach Out Via iPhone

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has launched an application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that allows users to browse room availability and spa menus, then connects them via a one-touch phone call to bookings. The app also lets people tour Four Seasons hotels and resorts, too.

Sounds like a great idea for a company to garner brand loyalty by making access more convenient. But I'm not sure how much appeal the app would have for someone who isn't already a Four Seasons fan. An app for a hotel company such as Choice Hotels, which launched an iPhone app in April, would seem to attract more users -- and potential guests -- because of its focus on economy prices and road travelers. Or an all-encompassing app, such as the one from, would seem to have more appeal.

But Four Seasons and Choice Hotels aren't the only ones that have thought of doing something like this: Omni Hotels, Wyndham Hotels, and U.K. company Travelodge have iPhone apps, too. That's all well and good for the leisure traveler, but what about business travelers, who are probably more likely to carry a BlackBerry than an iPhone?

There are general hotel-booking applications for the BlackBerry, including CityScouter and HRS Hotel Organizer, but only European company Louvre Hotels offers a branded application. I would think that business travelers may find a BlackBerry program for U.S. hotels useful, especially if their company books hotel stays with a certain hotel brand or family of hotels.

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