Selected Tech/Travel Articles for May 9 2012



In a move sure to displease some of its constituents, Roomkey, the booking referral system started by six hotel chains, has added TripAdvisor reviews. Some hoteliers criticize TripAdvisor, claiming that reviews can be entered by people who haven’t actually stayed at a property or who are biased (e.g., competitors, disgruntled employees). Roomkey also announced partnerships with Sabre Hospitality and TravelClick to provide additional inventory. But until Roomkey is willing and able to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars that competitors like Expedia and Priceline pay for search engine advertising, I don’t see a way for it to match even a fraction of their volume.


Orbitz Customer Research and Targeting

A blog entry from Orbitz CEO Barney Harford reports research on the factors that customers weigh in making hotel choices. The factors are ranked here according to the percentage of people who listed each factor as most important:

  • Location, 21%
  • Positive reviews, 17%
  • Amenities, 14%
  • Hotel rewards programs: next to last with little influence on consumer choice
    • Roomkey uh oh: one of the factors the Roomkey consortium hoped would drive people to use its service over OTAs like Orbitz and Expedia was hotel loyalty programs. Guess that might not be working out too well for them.

USA Today Travel

Another blog entry from Orbitz CEO Harford has some interesting comments and insights from their datamining and personalization systems.

  • “We’re trying to capture more information about travel planning behavior than any other company in the world”
  • 90 percent of customers book a hotel from the results they see on the first page of results
  • 50 percent of customers book one of the top five properties shown
  • 25% book the top sorted property
  • “Getting a highly relevant set of options into those first five slots is really critical for us, and we think there is huge opportunity here for us to use personalization…”

Finally I’m not sure what it says about Mac and iPad users, but they’re 40% more likely to book a 4-5 star hotel than are PC users.

USA Today Travel

SimpleHoney Hotel Search

Speaking of personalization, the creator of Icanhascheezburger has cofounded a new hotel search startup, SimpleHoney, that aims to serve up hotels you’ll really like in return for your entering information about your travel preferences. Do we all get to add our own mangled-English captions to the hotel pictures?


comScore: mobile users overwhelmingly (4:1) prefer native apps to mobile web apps. Another stat: Mobile users spent an average of 440 minutes (7+ hours) on Facebook during March 2012.


Egencia mobile apps now available for Android.


“One in five business trips will be booked from smartphones or tablet PCs by 2014”


Kayak turns last year’s loss into a $4.1M profit for 2012 Q1. Mobile app downloads are up 43%.


For the first time in a decade, Disney’s Club 33 is inviting 100 people from its 800 name waiting list to join. Even the waiting list has been closed for a decade. The club, which costs $25,000 to join and $10,000 per year thereafter, is so secretive and exclusive that I’m waiting for Dan Brown to incorporate it into a thriller Da Vinci Code sequel  🙂

Los Angeles Times



The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the preeminent computing society, has awarded the Eclipse software development environment the Software System Award. Past winners include Java, Apache, Mosaic, the World Wide Web, Smalltalk, and UNIX. (Thanks to Anuraag Godika for submitting this story.)

Life at Eclipse Blog

Facebook introducing personalized App Center for iOS, Android, web, mobile web, and desktop, aims to mitigate app discovery problem.


Design: HP’s new line of Ultrabooks has drawn a lot of attention the last few days. This interview with HP’s design VP is interesting. When asked if HP was worried that some aspects of the new designs might invite Apple legal attention, he essentially said that form follows function.


New ‘Sources’ section with semantic data appearing for some Google users as it A/B tests a new feature. For example, if you search about a movie or TV show, Sources displays IMDB-like info to the side of the organic search results.

Search Engine Land

Feds wasting our time and adding more annoyance to our DVD viewing pleasure. As if the old FBI warnings weren’t bad enough, the U.S. government  is now mandating an unskippable 10 second joint FBI/Homeland Security notice followed by another 10 second unskippable piracy information notice. Honest people are already aware that piracy is wrong and the small percentage of people who actually pirate DVDs (I’d wager significantly less than 1%) could care less about the warnings.

ars technica

Google argues that search results are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in a pre-emptive move against possible government action against it.

Search Engine Land

Really? A Billion Angry Birds Downloads? Really? I fear for the future of humanity.

All Things D

Smartphones and tablets are on track to achieve the fastest adoption of any technologies in history.

Technology Review

Just One More: WiFi RC car with camera and force feedback. Coincidentally, a group of us at lunch today was talking about how cool Arduino open source microcontrollers are for enabling hardware hacking and then I came across this story tonight.

Make Magazine




One thought on “Selected Tech/Travel Articles for May 9 2012

  1. Pingback: Users Google Hotels More Than Flights • Orbitz Integrated App • Kayak Same Day • Priceline Blind Booking • Orbitz Brouhaha • Top Budget Destinations « TechTravel Review

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