Expedia is taking hotel search and user experience extremely seriously it appears with the launch of a new system that combines search, maps and Google Streetview.
The ExpediaHotelView project was developed in the UK and will probably be rolled out to other Expedia country sites after a testing period.
Run within a microsite, HotelView allows the user to search for a location or individual hotel. Relevant properties from the Expedia system around the world are plotted on a Google Map and the user can browse information about each hotel.
Nothing much exciting about this?
Once a hotel is selected room prices are also displayed and a user can search for availability within the map. Understanding that users may want to check other hotels, a box appears showing five other hotels nearby.
Expedia says potential buyers are always curious as to what kind of an area a hotel might be in; how close it is to attractions or landmarks; and does the hotel look old or new?
So clearly this is where Google Streetview comes in handy. Users can head straight to the location on Streetview and perform all the usual functions but within the microsite, keeping the hotel details and availability on the screen while moving around a location.
Here is the view from a hotel on the edge of Times Square in New York.
Or La Rambla in Barcelona.
Not so picturesque, but users would be able to check how close they are to an airport.
The project was spearheaded by Expedia UK's director of online partner marketing, Alex Gisbert.