Welcome to the lastminute.com social media press office. Here you'll find all of the latest news and deals alongside some cool photography, videos and a widget or two as well. Stick around, have a play and let us know what you think.

Friday, August 22, 2008

lastminute.com first to incorporate the new mobile Google Gears Geolocation service

Customers can now use Google Gears from the new lastminute.com fonefood restaurant search service on Windows Mobile phones to find nearby restaurants.

The new geolocation service announced today as part of Google Gears allows users to determine their location, enabling the fonefood service to display nearby restaurants and deals.

The Google Geolocation API determines location using either nearby cell towers (from a mobile device) or a computer's IP address. The service is provided for free to both developers and users.

fonefood is the latest beta service launched by lastminute.com labs, allowing mobile users to search and book restaurants across 12 European countries.

The fonefood service, with Google Gears, is ideal for holidaymakers as they don’t need to type in their location to find local restaurants.

lastminute.com Head of Innovation Marko Balabanovic said: “The user’s location is a key part of the context that will enable better mobile travel experiences.

“We are very excited that Google gave us the chance to integrate Gears for Windows Mobile. Determining locations on the mobile internet has been a difficult problem for a long time and this is a great solution that works very well for the user without leaving their browser.”

Google product manager Charles Wiles said, "Location is increasingly important to people using the web, especially on their mobiles. lastminute.com's fonefood is a great example of the innovative location-aware applications that Gears makes possible."

To access fonefood, go to m.lastminute.com/fonefood on your mobile or text fonefood to 85959 in the UK.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

lastminute.com launches fonefood

Finding the perfect place to eat and book need no longer be a problem. From today online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com launches fonefood, its new beta mobile restaurant booking service.

fonefood allows mobile users to search and book restaurants whilst on the go. It is available in 12 countries and gives users access to over 6,000 restaurants from cheap eats to fine dining. The restaurant bookings will be powered by leading online restaurant reservations provider, the Livebookings Network.

Users are given descriptions of nearby restaurants, with currently over a thousand available deals, discounts and promotions. Once they’ve chosen a restaurant there is no need to call, users can book directly on their mobile for free and receive an instant confirmation via sms text message—especially handy for users abroad who may not speak the local language.

fonefood is available on the internet at http://m.lastminute.com/ and will work on all modern handsets. Alternatively users can text fonefood to 85959 to get the link free of charge (only in the UK). The application uses Google Maps to show restaurants near the users’ location.

lastminute.com Head of Innovation, Marko Balabanovic said: “We are very excited to be launching fonefood as we see mobile becoming increasingly popular with people as a way to organise and make the most of their leisure time. This is just the start of many mobile capabilities that we are developing within the lastminute.com labs team this year.”

Livebookings COO David Norris added: “We recognise that increasingly people are taking the internet with them in their pockets and more of us expect to be able to get online anywhere at anytime. Savvy diners can now find a table to reserve on the move which is great if you are visiting a new city or if you happen to be out with friends and need to book there and then. We are proud to be able to power the technology that connects this great new cutting-edge multi-lingual service from lastminute.com to over 6,000 restaurants.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Calling home on holiday by mobile gets cheaper with lastminute.com

Leading online travel and leisure retailer lastminute.com has become the only online travel and leisure retailer to distribute SIM4travel’s popular ‘travel SIMs’, giving customers better value mobile calls while travelling abroad.

The mobile phone has long since joined the trio of ‘money, ticket, passport’ that people routinely check they have with them before leaving home.

SIM4travel is a low cost mobile roaming network that allows travellers to avoid the high costs of using their mobile phone overseas. The service is provided via a SIM card that the customer simply inserts into their mobile phone in place of their usual SIM card.

The customer can then travel to over 110 countries around the globe and save up to 80% on calls. In over 50 countries, the customer will not have to pay for inbound calls – a fear of which stops some people from turning their phone on while abroad. Credit is easy to top up while at home or travelling.

lastminute.com UK Managing Director John Bevan said: “lastminute.com is delighted to be the only online travel retailer to offer its customers SIM4travel’s service.

“lastminute.com aims to give its customers the greatest breath of product in the travel and leisure industries and SIM4travel offering helps us to achieve that.”

Suk Grewal, marketing director at SIM4travel, said: “Even moderate phone use within the European Union can see a traveller quickly rack up a bill of more than £80 per week*.

“By using SIM4travel instead, a traveller might be able to upgrade their flight or room, choose a more convenient time to travel, or just save money on their trip,” he added.


*Based on receiving, and making, four 5-minute calls per day and retrieving voicemail once (two minute call), for seven days. Outbound calls charged at £0.35 per minute, inbound calls charged at £0.19 per minute, voicemail retrieval charged at £0.35 per minute.