Vienna-based Pixmeaway is developing a white label version of its Picture-based travel search engine for partner OTAs and other travel firms.
The technology, developed on the back of bespoke academic research into customer types and images that fit particularly holiday requirements, is currently available in beta version.
The white label offering will be made available as a simple out-of-the-box widget solution or as a more customisable enterprise solution.
Rainer Schuster, founder of parent company Pixtri, told an International Federation for Information Technologies in Travel session at this week’s WTM that a fully-fledged API service was in development.
The white label product will allow partners to direct customers to their own product.
Schuster revealed another future development will be image recognition, allowing users to take an image on their mobile or upload one found on a social network and use this as inspiration for a search.
Pixmeaway, which was founded two years ago, also allows groups to collaborate on a search with the algorithm able to determine the overlaps in multiple image selections.
Schuster said Pixmeaway was only interested in getting to people in the inspiration stage of the travel buying process.
He said of the 2.3 billion internet users in the world 62% use it for travel and of those two thirds already know where they want to go.
“We want to get to the other third. They cannot express explicitly their needs so we want to catch them in the early stage of the decision process.”
Schuster claimed a recent study by the Vienna University economic and business school using a small base of test customers rated the site more inspiring than both Expedia and Tripbase.
“We want to catch customers in the pre-trip phase. We would like to get away from keywords search. An image is worth a thousand words,” said Schuster.
An example Schuster quoted was skiing in Turkey, which is a growth destination, but not one that people are likely to tap into Google as a specific search criteria.
However, people who have not decided where they want to go may be inspired by a picture of a ski scene to consider Turkey.
Pixmeaway is backed by research that concluded that between 60 and 70 generic images was optimal for it to focus on and there are seven main travel types.
Customers are a mixture of these types and Pixmeaway has commissioned a cartoonist to depict a number of characters that depict the most common attributes.