In its bid to move its vacation-rental listings' business up a notch, TripAdvisor introduced a new mapping feature on its vacation-rental pages that depicts -- in some cases -- price ranges for a stay, as well as the top-rated area rentals, nearby restaurants, things to do, coffee shops and railroad stations.
Here is TripAdvisor's map for vacation rentals in the Phoenix, Ariz., area, for example.
When you zoom in a vacation-rental icon, TripAdvisor presents a link to the full TripAdvisor listing, a form to contact the property manager and pricing, like this:
Google caused a stir this week when it rolled out in beta hotel search and pricing on Google Maps.
There are certain parallels between the two initiatives, but Google's is much more far-reaching and sophisticated, and has more game-changing potential given the dominance of hotels relative to vacation rentals in the lodging industry.
While Google gets its hotel pricing from PPC ads, TripAdvisor gets its vacation-rental pricing from advertisers, too -- those paying to be listed in the TripAdvisor vacation-rental directory in partnership with FlipKey.
The pricing on the map is the same as the rates shown in the vacation rental search-results displays.
The new TripAdvisor mapping feature isn't available to all users yet, but is being introduced in phases.
Not all of those vacation-rental properties displayed on TripAdvisor are depicted in the maps yet, a TripAdvisor spokesman says.
There is an icon next to a vacation rental listing if it is already shown on the maps.