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New: Property Reviews, Ratings, "Social Bookings" and more.

Travel Forums System Talk New: Property Reviews, Ratings, "Social Bookings" and more.

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1. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5453 posts) 11 May '08 03:47

After months of work, today we are launching a very much improved budget accommodation interface, including some cool new features. There's a lot that has been done to improve the interface, flow and speed of the system, but here's a few features that I'm sure will be welcome.

  • You can now rate and review places you have stayed. A lot of people have requested this, so I'm sure it will be a welcome addition. We have pulled in ratings from elsewhere to get things started, so you can already sort results by popularity with relative accuracy.
  • You can choose how properties are sorted. Sort by popularity, price or name of the property. Makes life easy if you want to see the cheapest ones first, or perhaps the most popular ones.
  • See if other Travellerspoint members are staying there!. If another Travellerspoint member has booked the same property for the dates you are searching, you will see a note saying that "another Travellerspoint member is staying here on these dates". If you are the social type and are interested in hooking up with other Travellerspoint members while travelling, this might sway you to choose a different place to stay. I'm calling this "Social Booking". Once you have made the booking, you will be able to see what members are staying at the same place and be able to get in touch with them via Travellerspoint. Of course, if you prefer some privacy and don't want people knowing that you are staying here, then you can easily opt-out of the feature.
  • See properties on a map. We've geo-located several thousand properties and are mapping them. In one easy view, you can see where most properties are located in a city and get a feeling for how far away things are.
  • Review your bookings on Travellerspoint. Once you have made a booking, you will be able to review it from within Travellerspoint. You will need to have validated your email, but once you have done that, you can see all the previous bookings made with that email address.
  • An integrated experience. Ok, this might not feel like much to most people, but this is in fact probably the biggest change of all; the bookings are now processed entirely on Travellerspoint.com. In the past you would have been handed off to bookhostels.com to take care of the final payment - now, that all happens directly on Travellerspoint! One benefit of this is that if you have filled in some details about yourself in your profile, those will be used when you end up on the booking form, saving some time filling that out.

I think that covers the main new features. I could go on forever about the smaller changes, but that would probably just bore you all :) We're launching the system in beta. It is entirely ready to use and already heavily tested, but we still have a few more things to add before we will actually replace the previous interface entirely. One of the main ones being the multilingual versions.

So go ahead and try out the new budget accommodation booking system.

[ Edit: Added link to Social Booking explanation. ]

2. Posted by mojorob (Moderator, 1044 posts) 11 May '08 04:55

Looks good, couple of observations though.

Does the "social booking" opt-out only happen once you've made the booking, or during the booking process? If it's after the booking has been made then I'd suggest this should be opt-in rather than opt-out for privacy reasons.

Second thing, on first glance when you've got onto the page listing all the hostels in the city of choice, it's not necessarily clear what the 90% etc are referring to in the green speech balloons. Without a key at the top of that page, and with it being directly under the word Available, it can look a little vague as to whether it is referring to the level of availability (which is how I read it on first glance).

It might be an idea to put a small key at the top of that page, or put a title value within the <a> tag for that image.

3. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5453 posts) 11 May '08 04:59

Mojorob, thanks for the feedback. :)

Does the "social booking" opt-out only happen once you've made the booking, or during the booking process? If it's after the booking has been made then I'd suggest this should be opt-in rather than opt-out for privacy reasons.

Sorry, I should have said "opt-in" . It happens right at the booking stage and the box is un-ticked until you tick it.

Second thing, on first glance when you've got onto the page listing all the hostels in the city of choice, it's not necessarily clear what the 90% etc are referring to in the green speech balloons. Without a key at the top of that page, and with it being directly under the word Available, it can look a little vague as to whether it is referring to the level of availability (which is how I read it on first glance).

Interesting. Just the kind of thing we'd never know until putting it out there in front of a wider audience. I'm not sure a "key" will work, because most people just plain don't read those, but I'll have a think about it. Is possibly part of the issue that maybe the availability is not clear enough in comparison?

4. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru, 1167 posts) 11 May '08 10:44

Very good ,love it,made my first comments.
also a good idea to show when another TP member has booked the same place.

Dont get it clear with the payment.
Till now I got charged from my credit card 10% plus $2.00 and payed the rest amount by arrival at the hostal/hotel.
If I book next time will my card be charged of the full amount ?

Marlis

now i'm a little bit confused.
gave one hostal the highest points so it shows 100%
gave another one the same valuation and it shows afterwards only 82% and I can't see that somebody else has given any comment for the same accommodation.
what means Ajax call failed?

[ Edit: Edited on May 11, 2008, at 11:18 AM by marlis ]

5. Posted by Hien (Moderator, 3906 posts) 11 May '08 11:42

Quoting marlis

Dont get it clear with the payment.
Till now I got charged from my credit card 10% plus $2.00 and payed the rest amount by arrival at the hostal/hotel.
If I book next time will my card be charged of the full amount ?


This is found at the bottom of the payment form where you enter your information and credit card details:

IMPORTANT: The deposit and service charge are required now to confirm and guarantee your reservation. The remainder is payment on arrival. The 10% deposit is per nights accommodation. If you cancel any night, then the deposit for that night will be lost. Please note that any cancellations must be notified directly to the hostel at least 24 hours in advance, otherwise the first night will be charged onto your credit card.

So, the answer is no. TP will never charge you the full amount. Payment is always 10% of the total plus USD2.00 service charge.

6. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru, 1167 posts) 11 May '08 11:54

Thanks Hien,
:)

7. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator, 5550 posts) 11 May '08 12:00

Great feature!
I just tried it and entered Manaus to search for budget accommodation. Came up with 4 choices, two of which had a percentage behind it. But I couldn't find any reviews about it?

EDIT: never mind, I noticed the external rating notification. Too bad I couldn't find the reviews though.

Cheers!
Michael

[ Edit: Edited on May 11, 2008, at 12:09 PM by Utrecht ]

8. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator, 5550 posts) 11 May '08 12:10

Quoting marlis

now i'm a little bit confused.
gave one hostal the highest points so it shows 100%
gave another one the same valuation and it shows afterwards only 82% and I can't see that somebody else has given any comment for the same accommodation.
what means Ajax call failed?

My question and edit probably answers your question. There are external reviews but they are not shown on TP I guess

9. Posted by tway (Travel Guru, 7274 posts) 12 May '08 05:39

Hooray! Just when you thought TP couldn't get any better...

I'm off to rate that great B&B in Interlaken. Lovely, lovely place!

10. Posted by mojorob (Moderator, 1044 posts) 20 May '08 06:36

Quoting Peter

Second thing, on first glance when you've got onto the page listing all the hostels in the city of choice, it's not necessarily clear what the 90% etc are referring to in the green speech balloons. Without a key at the top of that page, and with it being directly under the word Available, it can look a little vague as to whether it is referring to the level of availability (which is how I read it on first glance).

Interesting. Just the kind of thing we'd never know until putting it out there in front of a wider audience. I'm not sure a "key" will work, because most people just plain don't read those, but I'll have a think about it. Is possibly part of the issue that maybe the availability is not clear enough in comparison?

I notice the page listing the hostels has changed since then, and I think it makes the % figures a little less vague now on first glance!

Something else I forgot to mention before though. Is there any particular reason why US Dollar is the default currency? Not only that, but why is it the US Dollar way down in the list, rather than the US Dollar in the first 5 currencies?

Would it be possible to have the default currency linked to the user's citizenship or country where they live (as these can differ) found in their profile - and then if the user has chosen not to select that field to have a particular currency as the default?