Skift Take

Although bookings are quickly moving to mobile, it’s too early to tell if a clean design and a seamless UI will be the ultimate gateways to success.

Dwellable is the one of the rising travel startups tackling the vacation rental space; one that differentiated itself early on with an impressive mobile app. One month after the launch of its iPad app last year, Dwellable was named in a list of top ten travel apps by CNN.

Now the Seattle startup has completely overhauled its iOS applications, which went live in the App Store Tuesday afternoon, and expanded coverage to the entire country.

Dwellable offered direct listings vacation rentals in just 18 areas at the end of January, but has since partnered with vacation rental startup FlipKey to expand national coverage to more than 80,000 rentals. FlipKey does not have its own mobile app.

The revamp aims to make the maps better, photos clearer, and calendars searchable.

“The home screen has changed dramatically from thumbnails of about the 15-20 destinations we covered to (now) a search box and full national coverage,” says Dwellable CEO and co-founder Brenda Spoonemore. “The browse view is also much more visually oriented.”

The one minor bug we saw while on the iPhone app was the inability to filter properties by date.

The only vacation rental competitor with a mobile app is Homeaway; whose most recent app update sparked a stream of negative feedback in the App Store. Users say the new app won’t open and has “serious bug issues” when it does.

Airbnb’s still on a different playing field

Neither Dwellable or FlipKey see Airbnb as a primary competitor right now.

“At the moment we have a different supply base including traditional vacation properties and second homes,” says Flipkey COO and co-founder Jeremy Gall.

Although Airbnb spokesperson Emily Joffrion told Skift that traditional vacation rentals represent a huge opportunity for the startup, she was unwilling to share any specifics citing international expansion as the company’s primary focus.

“There is still a great deal to do on that front – and this is where we see our highest demand from guests,” says Joffrion.

A comparison of Dwellable’s old and new iOS app shown below:

Dwellable App

Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 4.02.26 PM

And the redesigned iPad app:

Dwellable iPad app


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Tags: airbnb, apps, dwellable, flipkey, ios

Photo credit: Dwellable's app revamp aims to make the maps better, photos clearer, and calendars searchable. Dwellable

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