September 11, 2008
Hotels.com has launched a new feature called Visualiser that will generate hotel suggestions based on a range of images travelers have selected on topics such as the type of trip they want, how they want to feel, what a fun evening is, etc.
The system was quick, easy to use, and intuitive. My first attempt had some unsual recommendations: I searched for a beach holiday and was surprised to have San Francisco listed as an option. The neighborhood of North Beach was recommended (perhaps this is the logic that put San Francisco on a beach list). The hotel I was recommended was surprisingly not in located in San Francisco but instead in Redwood City.
Subsequent searches garnered much more relevant searches. It is an inexplicable programming truth that an analyst or journalist will always unearth the last glitch.
Overall, I like the idea of using photographs to filter. People have some emotional aspiration with their leisure travel, and it is an interesting way to use photographs to identify those aspirations.