PRICE comparison websites are predicted to be the next area of the travel industry to adopt the mobile phone technology platform.


Cosmos and Lastminute.com have already launched online booking portals. Meanwhile, Google has introduced its search facility to the T-Mobile network to encourage consumers to search the Internet on the mobile in the same way they do on a laptop or PC.


Speakers at last week’s Toward Europe technology seminar claimed meta-search sites such as Cheapflights.com are ideally suited to mobiles.


Mobile Travel Technologies executive director Gerry Samuels said mobile technology has come on tremendously over the past year, with screen sizes increasing by 50%.


He added the ability to add the purchase to the mobile bill, negating the need to enter credit card details, would also help to fuel the mobile revolution.


“Search is being done online so meta-search is the next spin off of that,” he said.


“People are time poor and use mobile phones when they have those five minutes on the work commute. It’s another distribution tool.”


Dolphin Dynamics president Roberto Da Re said mobile phones are “well suited for the purchase of commodity products such as air”, which is the cornerstone of meta-search engines.


“Meta-search engines could be the next battleground on mobiles,” he said. “It’s something that the consumer wants so it’s here to stay.”


Price comparison site Travelsupermarket.com general manager Chris Nixon conceded mobile distribution “wouldn’t be a hard area to get into”.


However, he claimed it was a few years off, arguing mobile phone screens need to get even bigger before they are suitable for searching the web.


“I don’t see it happening at the moment,” he said.