The Future of Travel Apps is About Connecting More Dots

Finally summer! Let’s go on holiday! Before you can dive in that amazing pool or explore a new city, let the exhausting part begin; looking for a destination to go, looking for a hotel, scanning all those online reviews, thinking about how to get there, looking on google maps where the hotel is and how far it is to the beach, scanning more reviews, scanning the hotel page and so on. When you finally decide where to go, it somehow starts again: What is there to do nearby, which is the best restaurant, how to meet people, how to get around and what about the weather. In times of the digital age with access to plenty of data through APIs this brings up the question:

Isn’t there a better way to find and get the most out of your holiday?

Imagine a website where you can find your ideal holiday destination based on your specific interests. Imagine an app that scans through all guest reviews out there and presents you the best holiday destination. Imagine an app that tells you who’s also spending their holiday at the same place as you, and wants to explore the area together. While some of these things already exist, it’s time to take it even further. Looking at what kind of data is already out there, we came up with some ideas and examples of APIs to get inspired about new ways to approach the travel market.

Discovering a location

Why not create a booking app that gives out all the information about a city in addition to the hotel information? How much money do you need for a weekend in Paris compared to London by incorporating for example, the average costs of meal and public transport. Why not enrich search results with interesting restaurants and activities nearby. Think about an app that provides a music playlist based on your current location. Especially when you’re on holiday and want to dive in to the foreign culture, why not start with some local music. Spotify just released a new version or their API to make things like this possible. There are also many things you probably want to avoid during a holiday, like air pollution or heavy traffic on the street in front of your hotel. Websites that monitor things like this already exist, it just has to be put in as a feature on a booking website.

Get some last minute sunshine

Nobody wants to go on a beach holiday when it’s raining. Of course, you can’t plan the weather, but you can plan your holiday destination according to weather patterns. Weather data is accessible, even predictive climate data. Combine this with a map on a booking website to find great places for last minute vacations with good weather.

Things to do

Sometimes you can feel overwhelmed on a city trip because there’s so much to do. How about matching Facebook likes of a traveler with upcoming events, and present them a list of activities to join nearby. You might not even know that one of your favorite artists is playing somewhere near you, or that a sporting event is happening in the neighborhood. You can also get access to city event calendars. A huge time saver is just seeing the things that are of interest to you, instead of looking through everything.

Let’s get social

Social Media

Everybody’s talking about social media, but it seems nobody has found the perfect recipe. One reason might be the endless amount of information on social networks, review sites and travel communities. Maybe natural language processing (NLP) is a technology that can help out with analysing the sentiment of text written on social media networks. Based on that, you can get aggregated information about hidden gems discovered by other travelers, what restaurant serves the best dessert or where the staff is most friendly. There could be an app to tell you what’s an up and coming spot without scanning all social channels. Or from another point of view, wouldn’t it be interesting for the tourism bureau of a destination to know how many people are thinking about visiting or what bloggers and travel magazines are writing about a destination.

What’s possible now?

These are all scenarios that pop up in our heads while thinking about the future of travel. But what can be done already? To find out what is possible with two great datasets, Olery is hosting a Travel Tech Hackathon on 30th of June in cooperation with the OpeNER project for natural language processing.

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We are providing exclusive access to our Olery Hotel Review Data API. It gives access to Olerys own Guest Experience Index scores of hotels calculated by a proprietary algorithm which takes into account different factors to determine trustworthiness of reviews. The Hotel Review API also provides aggregated review ratings in general and for a variety of subtopics. At the moment the API only available to selected partners. To get notified when it’s available for public use sign up here here. Be part of our hackathon and start changing the way we look at holidays!

 

Photo Credit: moonlightbulb via Compfight cc

Spencer E Holtaway via Compfight cc

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