Yahoo! Travel launches trip recommendations module
05/11/2007|5:43:00 PM|Hotelmarketing
May 09, 2007:With millions of travelers starting to gear up for summer vacations, Yahoo! Travel today announced a new personalized Trip Recommendations module – the first of its kind for the travel industry – as well as a number of additional product and site enhancements. All of these new features are designed to make Yahoo! Travel the best online resource for people to research and plan great trips. In addition, the Yahoo! Travel Summer Survey revealed that about four in five travelers (79 percent) have not finalized their summer travel plans, even as Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer travel season, quickly approaches.

“We want to fundamentally transform the way people plan and research their trips and our Trip Recommendations are designed to inspire people with new ideas of where to go, and the best price for getting there,” said Jasper Malcolmson, director of Yahoo! Travel. “By tapping into the collective intelligence of other like-minded travelers, there is a greater ability to plan and take truly memorable trips – no matter how near or far you want to go.”

The new version of Yahoo! Travel integrates the following features:

- Personalized Trip Recommendations – “Today’s Picks” highlight ten destinations that are highly-relevant to individual users, based on recent online activity and preferences. The module offers a source of new travel ideas for the vast majority of adults (87 percent) who agreed they “would like to go on vacation to a place I have never been before.” The module also links to related air/hotel deals, weather, travel tips from Yahoo! users and a destination Travel Guide. An additional “Show Me” drop-down box provides users with more theme-driven suggestions in categories such as, Beach, Nearby, Art/Architecture and Nightlife. These recommendations are fueled by a new tagging feature in Trip Planner, also announced today.

- Personalized Travel Deals – Highly-relevant travel deals will be exposed throughout the 45,000 Yahoo! Travel Guides, showing the best hotel and flight options based on your home airport and the most popular prices found by other Yahoo! users. Finding the best deal is as important as ever, according to the 78 percent of adults who plan to take summer vacation this year, about two-thirds (65 percent) say “budget” has the greatest influence on determining their summer vacation destination.

- New Mapping Functionality – Using Yahoo! Maps, Yahoo! Travel is demonstrating a new mapping prototype that allows other maps to be layered over a Yahoo! Map to show greater detail of a particular location and more customized mapping options.

- Yahoo! Messenger Flight Planner – Using the patent-pending, collaborative Flight Planner plug-in on Yahoo! Messenger, users can research and book flights in real-time with friends and family. Yahoo! Messenger’s Flight Planner plug-in searches for the best fares on Yahoo! FareChase and allows users to view and select their favorite flight choices together.

- Yahoo! Trip Planner Tagging – Travelers can now insert tags within the popular Yahoo! Travel Trip Planner (i.e. tag their weekend getaway Trip Plan to Paris as “romantic”) to better organize their Trip Plans and give other users a great way to discover interesting travel information.

The Yahoo! Travel Summer Survey also found the following trends and opinions related to the upcoming summer travel season:

- The Right Budget is Essential – When compared to last year, 48 percent of adults said they plan to spend the “same amount” of money on summer vacation this year; 25 percent said they plan to spend more and 27 percent said they planned to spend less.

- Sources of Destination Inspiration? – Three in five adults agreed they are turning to the Internet for vacation recommendations (61 percent) on where to go, compared with only 40 percent who said they rely on family and friends for help.

- In Search of Something New – One third of those traveling this summer (33 percent) said the desire for a “new experience” was the greatest influence in determining their vacation destination.

- Who’s Doing the Planning? – Almost half of summer travelers (43 percent) have not even decided where to go yet and only 21 percent said they had completely finished making all of their summer travel arrangements. Additionally, 39 percent of travelers agree that they tend to plan their vacation day-by-day before they depart.