The huge project I’ve been fighting for months and months is live now, and you can see it here on one of my favorite hotels’ page, the Hotel De Anza:
Here’s the use case. Someone goes to google, types in “Hotels in San Jose” and goes to our handy Travel Guide page (my co-worker and friend Dirk Zoller, who I whole-heartedly endorse, was the Program Manager for a host of sweet features on that page) you click through to the De Anza.
I was the program manager for two new pieces: the breadcrumbs
and the cross-linking modules
There are potentially five on any point of sale. You only see four on the De Anza there because it’s not a chain hotel (otherwise you’d see a fifth one for, say, other Hilton hotels in the area).
Here’s what I want to talk about, though.
Though this doesn’t look like it, this is the coolest thing on the Expedia points of sale that carry it. It’s not as smart as some of the rocket science back-end stuff that handles flight search, or booking hotels, and all of that good stuff. But it’s the only feature I know of that can potentially surprise and delight a user.
Here’s what’s going on. When you come to a hotel’s page, we do a couple of hotel searches to find stuff in the neighborhood, the same (or better) class, the neighborhood, and then we look at whether you were already searching for hotels near a landmark. If you weren’t, we take a guess from the landmarks the hotel is near. It’s potentially random. For some small percentage of people who work in similar jobs like mine, that’s already enough awesome.
The result is that sometimes if you’re looking at a hotel in Seattle, you might be presented with other hotels near Seattle Center, which you’d expect. But you might get hotels near the Lake Union Sea Plane Base (airport code LKE). Or Dick’s burgers. Or Chief Seattle’s grave.
I don’t know how long it’ll take before someone out there finds something they didn’t know was out there based on this, but it’s inevitable. I have this image in my head of a user shopping for a hotel, and maybe they’re a little bored as they go through the results, or they’re tired, and out of nowhere they see hotels near the Bellevue Doll Museum.
“Doll Museum?” they think. “I didn’t know there was a doll museum in Bellevue. Let me go check that out…”
Or “Doll Museum? There’s a Doll Museum in Bellevue? Why?”
Or whatever their reaction might be. Something causes them to pay attention. Expedia’s suddenly gone from being to a pretty staid online travel agent to a place where every once in a while we’ll do something interesting and unexpected. Willing to throw the Doll Museum out there on a lark if we don’t know what you might be interested in.
It makes me happy.