Do you want to take into account the schedule and location of your business meetings when searching for flights and hotels? Hipmunk just provided a solution.
The travel metasearch site tapped into a Google Calendar API and now gives users the option to view flight search results with translucent vertical stripes highlighting where flight and meetings' schedules conflict.
Alternately, you can display just the flights where, based on your Google Calendar entries, there are no schedule conflicts.
Before conducting a flight search, users would need to sign into Hipmunk. On a one-time basis, they then can enable Google Calendar integration in their Hipmunk account preferences, and proceed to Google to grant Hipmunk access to their calendar information.
Then after conducting a flight search, users would see pink stripes on the search results page showing which flights conflict with meetings you have scheduled.
Thus, in the above example, for this Chicago O'Hare to New York LaGuardia flight search, there are a bunch of flights shown which conflict with a Google Calendar-set 7 a.m. breakfast at Tiffany's and a 12:30 p.m. plan to wait for Godot at 33rd and Third.
If you click on the Calendar button on upper right side of the Hipmunk flight search results page, it lists your scheduled meetings and you can filter flight results based on individual meetings or all of your meetings.
You can also optionally select a No Conflicts button on the top of the Hipmunk flight search results page to show only those flights which don't conflict with your scheduled meetings.
While the calendar integration works by schedule for flights, it leverages meetings' locations for Hipmunk hotel searches.
After conducting a Hipmunk hotel search, your scheduled meetings from Google Calendar are numbered chronologically, plotted on a map and depicted in pentagonal shapes. Your meeting or event details are displayed as text on the map, as well.
Hipmunk shows which hotels are closest to your meetings so you can figure out where you want to stay based on meeting locations.
For example, perhaps you want to choose a hotel close to your 7 a.m. meeting to avoid the rush hour and don't mind if the property is located further away from your later-in-the-day appointment.
If you have four meetings one day, a drop-down menu enables you to choose which meetings to show on the map and you can filter hotels by their proximity to individual meetings.
And, when you mouse over a scheduled meeting, Hipmunk displays details about area hotels, including their rates and TripAdvisor rankings.
Hotel results can be filtered according to their proximity to an individual meeting only.
Of course, if desired, just click on the hotel descriptions to find out more information and book a hotel stay on Orbitz, Airbnb, Hotels.com, InterContinental Hotels or Getaroom.com etc.
Hipmunk co-founder Adam Goldstein says the Google Calendar integration targets the problem of users having to toggle between their calendars and Hipmunk results pages in order to figure out optimum flight schedules and hotel locations.
So now, the contents of your calendar are visualized on search results pages, Goldstein says.
Hipmunk decided to integrate Google Calendar first because a majority of users have Google accounts, but will gauge demand and mull other calendar integrations, as well, Goldstein says.
The calendar integration may be a first for travel metasearch sites; Goldstein says he's not aware of any other sites doing it.
And, the service could be a way for Hipmunk to attract more business travelers, especially unmanaged business travelers who may not be tied to their company's corporate booking tool.
"We definitely have more leisure travelers than business travelers, but not overwhelmingly," Goldstein says.