Web Travel Tools Focus on Consumer Discovery and Deals

wanderfly user interface
Golda Criddle
Golda Criddle
March 9, 2012
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The travel industry is rapidly changing with new websites, tools and mobile apps popping up every year. Each has their own unique way of tackling the issue, but I have definitely started to notice a push towards giving consumers more power through discovery and hotel deals. Below are three examples of the trend.

Wanderfly

One such site is Wanderfly, a travel recommendation search engine that recently reinvented itself with a whole new site. Instead of focusing on details such as prices, Wanderfly has opted to provide visual, user-created travel guides with an emphasis on pictures. You can explore restaurants, hotels and other places of interest

Recommendations are tagged with large pictures and categories such as “off the beaten path”, “budget” and “culture.” Users can use the site like a search engine to find exactly what they are looking for in a travel destination with these categories. Each city’s site lists the places to visit recommended by a user’s community. The site looks and feels a lot like popular bookmarking site Pinterest with its emphasis on visuals.

TripSay

Web tool TripSay takes a different approach on travel discovery by displaying recommendations on a world map. Users can rate locations they have previously visited in simple categories like “Best,” “Loved,” “Hated,” and “Wish to Go.” Then TripSay will generate travel destinations based on your input and ratings of other site users.

TripSay’s hotel booking engine is also unique in that it uses its map interface to display hotels by location, budget and ratings. This is useful for booking hotels close to attractions guests may be attending, which can be critical in sprawling citys such as Los Angeles and Austin.

HotelTonight

Users wield even more power with hotel deals startup HotelTonight. The startup is built for the spontaneous decision-makers: with the mobile app, people can find last-minute same-night deals on hotel rooms. Starting at 12pm on any given day, HotelTonight will list three hotel options per city, per day in three simple categories: “hip,” “elegant” or “basic.” Users of the app have until 2am that night to book a same-day stay.

HotelTonight works with more than 300 hotels in 18 different cities to generate these offers. The service is only available via mobile phone, which makes it very easy to book last-minute. The app’s strategy pits local hotels against each other, much like hotel auction site BackBid.

Web and mobile tools such as these three give consumers the power to choose their destinations according to their interests and find great hotel deals in the moment.  With so many tools available to technology-savvy travelers, hoteliers would be wise to use to take advantage of the opportunities to bring in new customers.

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