HotelsCombined overhauls website, adds third-party reviews, emphasizes mapsNewsBy Dennis Schaal | August 12, 2010Share This article was originally published on Australia metasearch site HotelsCombined overhauled its website and added a mobile site, as well.Among the changes, the website added links to guest reviews from the customers of Priceline, Booking.com, hotels.com and Travelocity, and added a popularity ranking.Like many players, ranging from Google to Orbitz and ebookers, HotelsCombined reworked the website to give much more prominence to maps with hotel information.Here's how the prior website looked:And, here's a look at the redesign:User-generated content -- from online travel agency customers who stayed at the properties -- was a key focus of the changes."The reviews product got more than just a cosmetic change," says business development director Vicki Byrne, adding that the company sought to resolve the issues of trust and the sheer volume of reviews."Our product solves these two issues by analyzing reviews only from trusted sources, where users' stays at the hotel has been verified, and summarizing most-discussed points about the hotel into an easy digest form."Among other changes in the redesign, HotelsCombined dropped some hotels' phone numbers while retaining the phone numbers of others.Byrne says HotelsCombined is experimenting with phone number listings."The phone reservation option is an experimental development," Byrne says. "It's currently still running on selected hotels for a limited set of geographies. We definitely see value to the user and commercial potential in markets like China, for example."However, even within specific markets, some hotels have their phone numbers listed and some don't.HotelsCombined also has been adding links to hotels' homepages based on commercial relationships with the properties or chains."Our aim is to offer comparison of all important sources of hotel pricing and information and that is why we continue to expand our relationship with hotel chains and individual hotels," Byrne says.In addition to these changes, HotelsCombined quietly rolled out a mobile website, which follows its release of an iPhone app, iFind Hotels, in early July.