Natural language search for travel

This may have promise – Expedia starts testing natural language travel search Big Data-style at tnooz (Jan 3).

Expedia is experimenting with  natural language in queries for travel – such as hotel in downtown Palm Springs with wifi. at its sandbox site  ( yourvisit.com ) (Though I can’t say this query works out very well.)  Results will be delivered  by mining large databases of information about the place, accommodations, attractions etc. This may include “… around 1,300 data sources to ensure the results are not only accurate to the original search (often an issue with natural language search tools) but provide product ideas tuned specifically to the original request.”

Screenshot - Dialog with YourVisit

Dialog with YourVisit on a search

It’s too early to know if this will make search any easier.  Personally, I favour faceted search for travel queries – and especially hotel queries – neighbourhood, size or type of accommodation, amenities.  Success may depends on how much Expedia will be able to enrich results with other information that wasn’t asked for but would be helpful.