Imagine your ideal vacation escape. For some this may entail hiking the Appalachian Trail in Asheville, for others standing atop Peak 9 in Breckenridge on a cold, sunny morning. Perhaps the perfect vacation for you is figuring out a way to see every sight in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, or making certain that you see nothing at all but the ocean and the sun. Those who find it easy to imagine the idyllic, but lack the desire to put their thoughts into words are now in luck. Hotels.com now provides a search process that appeals to the senses and allows vacationers to dream their way into vacationing with “The Visualiser“. >>Full Story
Thoughts// Hotels.com is beta testing a visual search tool, Hotel Visualizer, in the UK market which helps consumers find their “perfect hotel” based on: what you want to do on vacation (hiking, beach, clubbing etc.), who you’re traveling with (family, couple etc.), what kind of room style (luxury, bohemian etc.) and your age.
Designed much like Travelocity’s Experience Finder, it’s an “inspiration tool” for consumers in the research phase (appx. 30% of OTA consumers) that uses photography as a visual cue to discern the motivations and aspirations of the consumer, thereby enabling the system to suggest relevant content (destinations/hotels).
Based on my answers when using the visualizer today, it classifies me a Socialite which they defined as:
“You’re a real social animal and it seems like this trip is all about having a fun time with your partner. We’ve found some hotels that will be the perfect base for all your frolics! You’ll be right in the centre of the action and all set for feeling the buzz of the place. When it comes to evening entertainment, you’ll be sure to find what you’re after, whether its the perfect restaurant for a romantic dinner or a pumping bar where you can let your hair down.”
Amsterdam, Auckland, Barcelona, & Montreal were my recommended destinations (Interestingly…I’ve always dreamed of retiring in Barcelona!).
The visualizer seems like a really fun planning tool and much more engaging way to help consumers discover new places and things to do; more importantly, it represents a continuing evolution of the current commoditized travel booking market. My one disappointment with the experience however would be the photography; too many of the photos weren’t inspiring and looked most definitely like stock photos!