The technologies out there are great for providing a fairly good idea of where a hotel lies, but they are far from consistent
Bethesda, MD (Vocus) November 11, 2010
When it comes to ski travel, SnowTrax (http://www.SnowTrax.com) knows what’s at the heart of high value lodging: location, location, location. That is why the newly launched ski travel engine has vowed to go a step above the industry norm of relying on Google Maps’ geographical data by actually verifying the accuracy of its maps and hotels’ location data to precise longitudes/latitudes. For SnowTrax, the ultimate aim is 100% precise lodging location information to help travelers select the best ski package available.
SnowTrax President Joe Bous says that while the Google Maps API has been leveraged by travel sites for many clever purposes, when it comes to the precision of hotel location, it’s not totally reliable.
“The technologies out there are great for providing a fairly good idea of where a hotel lies, but they are far from consistent,” says Bous. “Ski and snow travelers pay for their location; knowing whether their lodge is on the slopes or two blocks across the highway – this makes a huge difference in terms of value.”
SnowTrax launched this ambitious undertaking after finding reoccurring inaccuracies throughout the incoming hotel data. Since many websites and companies rely on Google Map API, these inaccuracies are often widespread across the web. For SnowTrax, a site that allows users to compare ski packages at more than 5 ski resorts simultaneously on factors such as hotel star rating and location, this unreliable location data was unacceptable.
“SnowTrax was built for comparison shoppers, the traveler who wants a clear view of their options so they can decide if it is worth it to spend $100 more for ski-in/ski-out lodging,” says Bous. “This functionality would be useless if we relied on the patchy geographic data widespread on the web today.”
Studies show that many online travel planners interact frequently with hotel maps, relying on this data as a primary geographical reference. With sporadic hotel location inaccuracies of 10 miles of greater, many travelers may be in for an unwelcome surprise upon arrival.
The causes of these inaccuracies, according to SnowTrax’s findings, are multifaceted. With no central organization verifying the addresses of hotels, many hotels – especially smaller, boutique properties – only list partial address data, such as city & state. When travel distributors map this data using Google API, this hotel will be “geotagged” in the exact center of the city, possibly miles from the correct location.
What’s more, any hotels located on small or unofficial streets, as is common in vacation rentals, chateaus, and ski resort village properties, are not properly registered within the Google API, and frequently wind up misplaced.
“When all is said and done, you may have a five star, luxury property located slopeside on a private road inaccurately logged at the center of the city of Aspen,” says Bous. “This is a disservice to both travelers, who are seeing incorrect information, and our travel suppliers.”
SnowTrax is an innovative online ski travel search and booking engine that points travelers to the best travel dates and destinations this ski season. SnowTrax partners with ski resorts, hotels, and airfare providers across North America to offer travelers competitive ski packages. SnowTrax empowers travelers by giving them detailed mountain and ski area information, real-time pricing, and intuitive tools that help users compare packages across 5+ resorts simultaneously. SnowTrax is based out of Bethesda, MD.
SnowTrax has pioneered the application of advanced search technology in the online ski sphere. Key features include:
- Multi-Destination Searches: compare packages at 5+ ski resorts simultaneously
- Vacation Optimization: view cheapest flight vs. flight that gives you the most on-mountain time
- Precise Location of Lodging: Organize hotel results by the exact distance from lifts and shuttle stops
- Insider Insight: find your ski resort match using our extensive filter system, based on up-to-date statistics and expert opinion
- Real-time pricing: SnowTrax displays to-the-minute rates; no price quotes required
To become an affiliate or partner with SnowTrax, please see http://www.SnowTrax.com for more information.