Hotels.com unveils dramatic new search tool

Hotels.com has added a new search tool Visualiser on its UK site which it claims is a travel industry first as it recommends hotels based upon users’ responses to a sequence of images.


Visualiser goes live on hotels.co.uk today (Tuesday 9 September).


Nigel Pocklington, MD for hotels.com EMEA, told Travolution that the tool would appeal to users who were looking for inspiration about where to stay.


“We also think our existing customers will have a look at it and maybe consider other destinations,” he added.


Hotels.co.uk has linked up with London-based Imagini to use its trademarked Visual DNA technology.


Imagini ‘s software “collects the feelings and motivations of consumers using image-based quizzes that identify and map preferences across a series of behavioural axes.”


Hotels.com has worked with the business to adapt the technology for hotels – Imagini’s other clients include PepsiCo, MSN, The British army and MyDeco.


It runs a social network, youniverse.com, based around the VisualDNA concept.


However, the tool is not a marketing or PR gimmick.


“We wouldn’t be introducing this if we didn’t think it would attract new customers,” Pocklington insisted. “We think it will improve conversion rates upon traditional text searches. This is a commercial arrangement.”


There are no specific marketing campaigns for the product in the UK, with Pocklington hoping that it will work virally. It will be visible on the hotels.co.uk home page and throughout the site. There is also a link from the youniverse.com home page.


Around 10,000 of the 80,000 hotels on the UK site are featured as part of Visualiser.

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