Ted Valentin, Swedish serial web entrepreneur, has lately been buy building a map mashup empire. Ted disclosed his maps gather 100’000 to 150’000 unique visitors per week at the moment, and growing. That is a great accomplishment considering all services are still mainly targeted for Swedish users.
Ted’s latest service is a hotel map, hotellkartan.se. It essentially aggregates the global hotel infromation from (currently) three services, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Expedia.com. It shows the hotels geographically on top of Google Maps, so that one is able to visually browse the hotels.
The great thing about the service is that you can search for the hotels in a variety of different ways. You can search alphabetically, by rating, by distance from a certain map point, by price – or the cheapest hotel within 1000 m from London Paddington station, for example. In my opinion, this makes it one of the most useful mashups I have ever run across. Having spent much too long a time lately looking for the perfect hotel trying to optimize location and distance along with price and hotel selections from different services, I just love this elegant solution to the problem.
As with Ted’s other maps, also with the hotel map users can post reviews of hotels to the service. Currently these are in Swedish similarly to the rest of the UI, but nothing prevents from localizing these as well.
As the service aggregates data from different hotel sites, you can also compare prices on the spot and go with the lowest one. The prices are updated automatically weekly. After you have identified the hotel you want, just click the booking link and you are connected to the. This is the way the service is also monetized – Ted has linked the service to the affiliate programs of the hotel booking sites, and gets a commission on each reservation.
I can’t think of too many improvements to the service at this point. My wishlist would include being able to select room type in the price listing, and having a larger map screen. And of course localization.
Ted told localizing the service to other languages should only be a few days’ job, he just has to find a bit of time among his other (map) projects. Ted already solved the most important problems related to the technical backend for a multilingual service, as he writes (in Swedish; Google translated) in his blog. I strongly recommend doing the English localization right away, I think it has a great potential. If you like hotellkartan.se and would like to see it in your own language, give Ted a bit of extra incentive of doing so below in the comments!