lastminute.com WAP-Enables Restaurant Booking Service

[May 5] Bouncing back from post-IPO blues,
lastminute.com has
launched the U.K’s first WAP restaurant booking service
while also establishing an advertising and e-commerce
relationship with Web portal
Excite UK.


Both moves indicate that lastminute.com is looking
increasingly like a company well-placed to capitalize
on what is certain to be a boom in WAP-enabled mobile
devices. Restaurant booking is potentially a “killer app”
for this technology, at least in major cities.


Initially, lastminute.com will offer the service listing
200 specially selected restaurants in the U.K. They
include such exclusive venues as the Aubergine, Asia
de Cuba and the Conran restaurants.


Users will be able to access the service via BT Cellnet
and Orange WAP portals, or directly at
mobile.lastminute.com/wap.


Brent Hoberman, chief executive officer and co-founder of
lastminute.com, said the new service was a perfect example
of how his company’s content could be easily tailored to new
platforms.


“This is the first time a WAP user can complete an end-to-end,”
added Hoberman.


lastminute.com’s deal with Excite UK will make its services
available to both computer and mobile phone users of
Excite.co.uk and Excite Mobile. The portals will now carry
lastminute.com’s full range of late flights, hotels, holidays,
tickets, gifts and restaurant bookings.


To complete the deal, lastminute.com has had to promise
a substantial amount of advertising on Excite UK, although
it did not reveal any actual sums.


“It’s great to have lastminute.com on board as an important
new advertiser and e-commerce provider supplying a compelling
new feature for our users,” said Evan Rudowski, managing
director of Excite Europe.


Describing his company’s ideas for late bookings as
“inspirational,” Brent Hoberman said the deal with
Excite was especially important because of Excite’s
WAP capabilities.


“We understand that entering a URL on a phone can be
difficult and time-consuming. This is why we value the
opportunity to partner with a WAP-enabled portal site
like Excite UK,” said Hoberman.

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