Friday, October 3, 2008

Bring on the Mashups - Merging Hospitality and Technology

Quick - define the term "mashup". No I am not talking about mashing up the potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner or what happens when you leave free pieces of paper floating around in your laptop bag for a couple of days. I am talking about mash-up in terms of the internet. Here is how mashup is defined in wikipedia:
a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool; an example is the use of cartographic data from Google Maps
to add location information to real-estate data, thereby creating a new
and distinct web service that was not originally provided by either
You've seen mashups before, like this one that shows YouTube videos on a map from the upload location as they happen or some hotel booking sights combine maps with hotel locations on them or this one where you input a domain name and it pulls information from various sources to give you a report about the domain. Most of the mashups, like those above, are based in a web browser.

Now, IHG is taking a step to move the mashup out of the browser and into Google Earth. The new IHG Trip Planner makes it easy for guests to plan and make their reservations for all IHG branded hotels, InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®. At the same time, they can see the weather, find out about the traffic, identify places that they would like to visit and see the hotel in 3-D. This truly is thinking ahead of the pack. By creating this mashup, IHG is giving travelers one place to go to make reservations, and since the icon can reside on their desktop, they don't have to go other places to comparison shop - this is there hope. Look for a review of this new offering here on Hotel Ecomm Insights next week.

I wonder how long it will be before other companies follow suit. Are you planning anything like this for your hotel? If you are please pass it along and I will review it here on the site.

Check out the link to download the IHG Google Earth Mashup here.

Lodging Interactive: TripAdvisor Launched a Hotel Mashup Tool in October, 2006
GoogleMapsMania: Other Hotel Mashups out there.
iGuide: Interactive Travel Guide

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