Hotel discount site Hotwire launched its first iPad app, which it says reduces the time needed to book a hotel by half compared with users laboring away on their desktops/laptops.

The Hotwire iPad app makes bargain hunting for hotels, without having to bid, very easy, although you might find some better deals bidding through Priceline’s Name Your Own Price.

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With the Hotwire iPad app, you enter the destination you are looking for, and then you neatly view the areas where hotels are available on a map and the rate, although you don’t know the hotel’s identity up-front.

The thing that is most appealing about the map view is that is so uncluttered and therefore simple to comprehend.

You can tap on an area that earns your interest in a column at left, view details about the neighborhood, see the amenities such as pool and business center at the hotels under consideration, and then select “continue” to enter your payment information and complete the booking.

The simplicity of the Hotwire iPad app’s map view is so appealing because it isn’t a crowded, confusing mess on par with this Priceline map view from its iPhone/iPad app and others you typically see when browsing for hotels on a standard, retail basis.

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In addition, when bidding for a hotel through Priceline, you can view the neighborhood where the hotel is located on a map, but you don’t see the price in advance, as you do with Hotwire, because with Priceline’s Name Your Own Price you, well, name your own price in an attempt to secure a room reservation.

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The free Hotwire iPad app, which is available in the U.S. and Canada, further streamlines the booking process by enabling users to store their credit card and other personal information, and have it used to speed the booking process.

Tags: apps, hotwire, ipad
Photo Credit: The map view in Hotwire's iPad app depictis available hotels by neighborhood in Chicago, for example. Hotwire