Travelocity has taken its ExperienceFinder feature and used it as the basis of several new deal-search tools that it has quietly rolled out over the last several weeks.
Within a new Deals Toolkit are Travelocity's first desktop application, map-based shopping and a customizable deals engine, which has filters to enable consumers to search for flight and package deals by inputting theme choices such as romance, beach or family destinations.
Troy Whitsett, who headed up the design for the project, says with these tools full of graphics and filters in one display "above the fold," little scrolling is necessary. Travelocity basically is giving consumers focused on bargains a concise, customizable and visual way to sort and search for their next getaways.
The tools appear to be geared toward a set of consumers who may not have a destination in mind when they start looking for a vacation.
And, the visual nature of these deals tools gives consumers an alternative to wading through endless pages of search results.
You can expect Travelocity to go public with an announcement about the new tools soon.
The desktop application, built on Adobe AIR, enables travelers to stipulate their preferences for flights and vacation packages, search for deals and receive notifications, all without opening a browser. The desktop app is good for both Windows and Mac operating systems.
Abhi Jadhav, Travelocity's product manager for the deals engine and map-based shopping, says flight/hotel packages are considered deals and displayed when the package price is at least 40% cheaper than the price of the two standalone components.
In soft-launch mode since mid-December, the desktop app has been downloaded some 3,000 times.
The desktop app incorporates social media tools, such as Facebook Connect, to enable consumers to post and share deals they find with friends.
With the deals engine, customers can tweak their preferences with several filters, access traveler reviews and peruse up to five deals simultaneously.
With the map-based shopping, users can select their departure airport and search -- via street, aerial or hybrid views -- deals that Travelocity has located within the past 24 hours.
In sum, if 2009 was the year of the travel deal, 2010 is shaping up as a time when Travelocity and other companies will endeavor to further refine deal-searching and make it easier -- and hopefully a bit more fun.