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Meta Social Travel Reviews

— May 17, 2008 — Pop Culture
User-generated rating, reviews and testimonials have become essential for the modern traveler. Social travel networks let you check out hotel reviews before booking. After looking at the review, you either book or compare it to other hotels which could have better reviews, prices or are simply a better fit.

The purpose has been to make hotel searches easy. Last Wednesday, hotel searches became even easier. A new hotel search engine, (previously known as Kango) launches its beta version for the public. UpTake searches all the other social travel networks for listings and reviews. When you search for a hotel in UpTake, it searches over 1,000 travel sites for you, sorting through about 20 million reviews to bring you the most relevant results.

What makes UpTake even more brilliant is that you can now search by theme. You can choose themes such as “girls getaway”, “pet friendly” and “family vacation” to find the most fitting hotels for your kind of traveling. It's obvious that if you are traveling with your dog, you've got no use for reviews on hotels that don't allow pets. So why should those results turn up? On UpTake, they don't.

To be able to get the best, most relevant results, UpTake applies semantic techniques: but the user doesn't have to know that. The interface is very accessible and easy to use. You just type in the location, what you're looking for and your preferred theme. UpTake takes care of the rest. When you get your results, you're shown a list of hotels with pictures, ratings from various travel websites and relevant reviews. You can further refine your search to get the very best fit for your needs. On the right side of the search results, a map shows the location of the listed hotels.

“When you know where and when you want to travel, existing travel booking sites excel. But today's booking sites don't help you shop based on why you are traveling or who you are traveling with. UpTake is designed to give you better recommendations based on these fundamental questions of “who” and “why.” says Yen Lee, president of UpTake.

With a search engine this comprehensive and easy to use, UpTake seems likely to become the first choice for tourists searching for hotels. So far UpTake only covers the US. Later this year UpTake plans to expand its search engine to include activities and destinations and hopefully we will see the the rest of the world included too.