Update 5:17pm: Hipmunk reports that its neighborhood descriptions features and Hipmunk booking feature are experiencing hiccups and will be unavailable for the next 48 hours or more.
Hipmunk completely revamped its hotels product today, adding in new ways to understand the neighborhoods you’re staying in, so you don’t get stuck in the family zone, when you really want a fun nightlife.
Prior to this Hipmunk Hotels was fairly slow and a little hard to scroll through and find the hotel you want. It was also really difficult to find specific hotels. Hipmunk saw the problems and decided to scrap its old hotels product and build a new one from scratch.
“Hipmunk started out as just flights and we were fairly naive about the industry and we used to joke that when we were big like Kayak, we would sell out and do hotels as well. Then we found ourselves working on hotels a couple weeks later,” said co-founder Steve Huffman in an interview with VentureBeat. “We built this from an impure motivation, ‘We should have a hotels products so lets just build one.’ But at the time, I don’t think we really grasped what the challenge was. So we’re rethinking things now.”
Prior to this Hipmunk used Walkscore which showed you if it was near a “foodie” area, tourist attractions, shopping, nightlife, and more, but it didn’t differentiate between interests. Hipmunk hired local writers to write different neighborhood guides for the majority of the United States’ big cities, that also give recommendations based on your needs. It also lets you filter by “Traveler Type” so you can find areas focused on business, families, outdoors activities, gay culture, romance, and more.
Based on your preferences and Hipmunk’s “ecstasy” algorithm, a search will only turn up the top three hotels that match you. Ecstacy is based on online reviews, ratings, amenities, price and more. Huffman found that customers were only clicking on the first few results any way, but if you really want the full list, there’s a button to view more options.
You’re also finally going to be able to search for a specific hotel. If your friend recommends The Huntington Hotel on Nob Hill, you can find it and see the neighborhood type and if its near activities you’re interested in.
My favorite change is that you’re now able to purchase some of your flights and hotels right on Hipmunk. Hipmunk acts as an affiliate, bringing lots of different flights and hotel options from around the web into one place. When you go to purchase, you are taken to that company’s website. But now, the company is using application programming interfaces from some of its partners to build its own check-out process right on the site.
With all these add-ons providing you neighborhood information, specific hotels for you interests, and pop ups of things to do in the area, you’d think Hipmunk wanted to be a travel agent. Chief executive Adam Goldstein promises that’s not the case. The company has no intention of dealing with the big salesforces that come with being a travel agent. He doesn’t want to deal with airlines or concierge desks, doing the booking for clients. Instead, he’d rather put the information in the hands of the consumer and let them do their own dirty work.
A very Silicon Valley way of thinking.
Categorised as: Feedster
Comments are disabled on this post